Bill derides the crushed Barbara. When he discovers Price has stolen his money, Barbara promises to refund him. A melancholic Barbara counts her pennies and asks Shirley to join her for the afternoon to discuss Tom Paine and Charles Bradlaugh. She also promises to get him a job.


What shapes the remainder of the act is the demonstration of Undershaft's power over the Salvation Army, a demonstration that converts Cusins over to his cause and leaves Barbara disillusioned. As Barbara remarks in the subsequent act, the purchase of the Army reveals that men like Undershaft and Bodger—and not God—hold her in their power. Her Holy Father has forsaken her and her earthly one has replaced him. Only men such as Undershaft bear the means of salvation. It is not only that, as Undershaft remarks in Act I, such men could take the Army's motto. The Army proceeds according to their will, domesticating the masses at their behest.

Recognizing her father's power, Barbara surrenders the pin marking her as savior and Army uniform. The Army's sale culminates in a march proclaiming "immense jubililation." For Cusins, "Dionysus Undershaft has descended" and possessed him. The marchers exit with a terrifying litany of cheers, one that brings the Army under the Undershaft banner.

Bill Walker's return serves as an ironic counterpoint to the Army's sale. Though Barbara forbids Jenny from allowing Bill to elude Christian forgiveness, pay for his crime, and thus buy his salvation, the Army hands itself over to its enemies, Bodger and Undershaft, to continue the work of salvation. Price's squalid theft and Rummy's gloating only underscore the Army's failures further.

Thus Barbara loses Bill's soul. As we will see in the next act, she will begrudge her father until she comes to understand the salvation he himself promises, the "truth," as she puts it, "behind all this frightful irony" that her father has brought. Note Barbara's almost nostalgic attempt to seek solace with Shirley, the honest poor man. Barbara carefully counts her coins and asks Shirley to speak to her of the great liberal democrats.

In demonstrating power here, Undershaft not only exacts his will through his wealth but through his carefully calculated irony as well. Undershaft will, for example, coolly proclaim the benefits of alcoholism for the poor or violently conjure the horrors of war under the cover of explaining his own disinterestedness.