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◈ A DOLL'S HOUSE ◈

◇ ACT I ◇

해설목차  서문  1권 2권  3권  Henrik Ibsen (입센)
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 1. ACT I

1. ACT I

 
0
[SCENE.--A room furnished comfortably and tastefully, but not extravagantly. At the back, a door to the right leads to the entrance-hall, another to the left leads to Helmer's study. Between the doors stands a piano. In the middle of the left-hand wall is a door, and beyond it a window. Near the window are a round table, arm-chairs and a small sofa. In the right-hand wall, at the farther end, another door; and on the same side, nearer the footlights, a stove, two easy chairs and a rocking-chair; between the stove and the door, a small table. Engravings on the walls; a cabinet with china and other small objects; a small book-case with well-bound books. The floors are carpeted, and a fire burns in the stove.
 
1
It is winter. A bell rings in the hall; shortly afterwards the door is heard to open. Enter NORA, humming a tune and in high spirits. She is in outdoor dress and carries a number of parcels; these she lays on the table to the right. She leaves the outer door open after her, and through it is seen a PORTER who is carrying a Christmas Tree and a basket, which he gives to the MAID who has opened the door.]
 
2
Nora.Hide the Christmas Tree carefully, Helen. Be sure the children do not see it until this evening, when it is dressed.[To the PORTER, taking out her purse.]How much?
 
3
Porter.Sixpence.
 
4
Nora.There is a shilling. No, keep the change.[The PORTER thanks her, and goes out. NORA shuts the door. She is laughing to herself, as she takes off her hat and coat. She takes a packet of macaroons from her pocket and eats one or two; then goes cautiously to her husband's door and listens.]Yes, he is in.[Still humming, she goes to the table on the right.]
 
5
Helmer[calls out from his room].Is that my little lark twittering out there?
 
6
Nora[busy opening some of the parcels].Yes, it is!
 
7
Helmer.Is it my little squirrel bustling about?
 
8
Nora.Yes!
 
9
Helmer.When did my squirrel come home?
 
10
Nora.Just now.[Puts the bag of macaroons into her pocket and wipes her mouth.]Come in here, Torvald, and see what I have bought.
 
11
Helmer.Don't disturb me.[A little later, he opens the door and looks into the room, pen in hand.]Bought, did you say? All these things? Has my little spendthrift been wasting money again?
 
12
Nora.Yes but, Torvald, this year we really can let ourselves go a little. This is the first Christmas that we have not needed to economise.
 
13
Helmer.Still, you know, we can't spend money recklessly.
 
14
Nora.Yes, Torvald, we may be a wee bit more reckless now, mayn't we? Just a tiny wee bit! You are going to have a big salary and earn lots and lots of money.
 
15
Helmer.Yes, after the New Year; but then it will be a whole quarter before the salary is due.
 
16
Nora.Pooh! we can borrow until then.
 
17
Helmer.Nora![Goes up to her and takes her playfully by the ear.]The same little featherhead! Suppose, now, that I borrowed fifty pounds today, and you spent it all in the Christmas week, and then on New Year's Eve a slate fell on my head and killed me, and--
 
18
Nora[putting her hands over his mouth]. Oh! don't say such horrid things.
 
19
Helmer.Still, suppose that happened,--what then?
 
20
Nora.If that were to happen, I don't suppose I should care whether I owed money or not.
 
21
Helmer.Yes, but what about the people who had lent it?
 
22
Nora.They? Who would bother about them? I should not know who they were.
 
23
Helmer.That is like a woman! But seriously, Nora, you know what I think about that. No debt, no borrowing. There can be no freedom or beauty about a home life that depends on borrowing and debt. We two have kept bravely on the straight road so far, and we will go on the same way for the short time longer that there need be any struggle.
 
24
Nora[moving towards the stove]. As you please, Torvald.
 
25
Helmer[following her]. Come, come, my little skylark must not droop her wings. What is this! Is my little squirrel out of temper?[Taking out his purse.]Nora, what do you think I have got here?
 
26
Nora[turning round quickly]. Money!
 
27
Helmer.There you are.[Gives her some money.]Do you think I don't know what a lot is wanted for housekeeping at Christmas-time?
 
28
Nora[counting]. Ten shillings--a pound--two pounds! Thank you, thank you, Torvald; that will keep me going for a long time.
 
29
Helmer.Indeed it must.
 
30
Nora.Yes, yes, it will. But come here and let me show you what I have bought. And all so cheap! Look, here is a new suit for Ivar, and a sword; and a horse and a trumpet for Bob; and a doll and dolly's bedstead for Emmy,--they are very plain, but anyway she will soon break them in pieces. And here are dress-lengths and handkerchiefs for the maids; old Anne ought really to have something better.
 
31
Helmer.And what is in this parcel?
 
32
Nora[crying out]. No, no! you mustn't see that until this evening.
 
33
Helmer.Very well. But now tell me, you extravagant little person, what would you like for yourself?
 
34
Nora.For myself? Oh, I am sure I don't want anything.
 
35
Helmer.Yes, but you must. Tell me something reasonable that you would particularly like to have.
 
36
Nora.No, I really can't think of anything--unless, Torvald--
 
37
Helmer.Well?
 
38
Nora[playing with his coat buttons, and without raising her eyes to his]. If you really want to give me something, you might--you might--
 
39
Helmer.Well, out with it!
 
40
Nora[speaking quickly]. You might give me money, Torvald. Only just as much as you can afford; and then one of these days I will buy something with it.
 
41
Helmer.But, Nora--
 
42
Nora.Oh, do! dear Torvald; please, please do! Then I will wrap it up in beautiful gilt paper and hang it on the Christmas Tree. Wouldn't that be fun?
 
43
Helmer.What are little people called that are always wasting money?
 
44
Nora.Spendthrifts--I know. Let us do as you suggest, Torvald, and then I shall have time to think what I am most in want of. That is a very sensible plan, isn't it?
 
45
Helmer[smiling]. Indeed it is--that is to say, if you were really to save out of the money I give you, and then really buy something for yourself. But if you spend it all on the housekeeping and any number of unnecessary things, then I merely have to pay up again.
 
46
Nora.Oh but, Torvald--
 
47
Helmer.You can't deny it, my dear little Nora.[Puts his arm round her waist.]It's a sweet little spendthrift, but she uses up a deal of money. One would hardly believe how expensive such little persons are!
 
48
Nora.It's a shame to say that. I do really save all I can.
 
49
Helmer[laughing]. That's very true,--all you can. But you can't save anything!
 
50
Nora[smiling quietly and happily]. You haven't any idea how many expenses we skylarks and squirrels have, Torvald.
 
51
Helmer.You are an odd little soul. Very like your father. You always find some new way of wheedling money out of me, and, as soon as you have got it, it seems to melt in your hands. You never know where it has gone. Still, one must take you as you are. It is in the blood; for indeed it is true that you can inherit these things, Nora.
 
52
Nora.Ah, I wish I had inherited many of papa's qualities.
 
53
Helmer.And I would not wish you to be anything but just what you are, my sweet little skylark. But, do you know, it strikes me that you are looking rather--what shall I say--rather uneasy today?
 
54
Nora.Do I?
 
55
Helmer.You do, really. Look straight at me.
 
56
Nora[looks at him]. Well?
 
57
Helmer[wagging his finger at her]. Hasn't Miss Sweet Tooth been breaking rules in town today?
 
58
Nora.No; what makes you think that?
 
59
Helmer.Hasn't she paid a visit to the confectioner's?
 
60
Nora.No, I assure you, Torvald--
 
61
Helmer.Not been nibbling sweets?
 
62
Nora.No, certainly not.
 
63
Helmer.Not even taken a bite at a macaroon or two?
 
64
Nora.No, Torvald, I assure you really--
 
65
Helmer.There, there, of course I was only joking.
 
66
Nora[going to the table on the right]. I should not think of going against your wishes.
 
67
Helmer.No, I am sure of that; besides, you gave me your word--[Going up to her.]Keep your little Christmas secrets to yourself, my darling. They will all be revealed tonight when the Christmas Tree is lit, no doubt.
 
68
Nora.Did you remember to invite Doctor Rank?
 
69
Helmer.No. But there is no need; as a matter of course he will come to dinner with us. However, I will ask him when he comes in this morning. I have ordered some good wine. Nora, you can't think how I am looking forward to this evening.
 
70
Nora.So am I! And how the children will enjoy themselves, Torvald!
 
71
Helmer.It is splendid to feel that one has a perfectly safe appointment, and a big enough income. It's delightful to think of, isn't it?
 
72
Nora.It's wonderful!
 
73
Helmer.Do you remember last Christmas? For a full three weeks beforehand you shut yourself up every evening until long after midnight, making ornaments for the Christmas Tree, and all the other fine things that were to be a surprise to us. It was the dullest three weeks I ever spent!
 
74
Nora.I didn't find it dull.
 
75
Helmer[smiling]. But there was precious little result, Nora.
 
76
Nora.Oh, you shouldn't tease me about that again. How could I help the cat's going in and tearing everything to pieces?
 
77
Helmer.Of course you couldn't, poor little girl. You had the best of intentions to please us all, and that's the main thing. But it is a good thing that our hard times are over.
 
78
Nora.Yes, it is really wonderful.
 
79
Helmer.This time I needn't sit here and be dull all alone, and you needn't ruin your dear eyes and your pretty little hands--
 
80
Nora[clapping her hands]. No, Torvald, I needn't any longer, need I! It's wonderfully lovely to hear you say so![Taking his arm.]Now I will tell you how I have been thinking we ought to arrange things, Torvald. As soon as Christmas is over--[A bell rings in the hall.]There's the bell.[She tidies the room a little.]There's some one at the door. What a nuisance!
 
81
Helmer.If it is a caller, remember I am not at home.
 
82
Maid[in the doorway]. A lady to see you, ma'am,--a stranger.
 
83
Nora.Ask her to come in.
 
84
Maid[to HELMER]. The doctor came at the same time, sir.
 
85
Helmer.Did he go straight into my room?
 
86
Maid.Yes, sir.
 
87 [HELMER goes into his room. The MAID ushers in Mrs Linde, who is in travelling dress, and shuts the door.]
 
88
Mrs Linde[in a dejected and timid voice]. How do you do, Nora?
 
89
Nora[doubtfully]. How do you do--
 
90
Mrs Linde.You don't recognise me, I suppose.
 
91
Nora.No, I don't know--yes, to be sure, I seem to--[Suddenly.]Yes! Christine! Is it really you?
 
92
Mrs Linde.Yes, it is I.
 
93
Nora.Christine! To think of my not recognising you! And yet how could I--[In a gentle voice.]How you have altered, Christine!
 
94
Mrs Linde.Yes, I have indeed. In nine, ten long years--
 
95
Nora.Is it so long since we met? I suppose it is. The last eight years have been a happy time for me, I can tell you. And so now you have come into the town, and have taken this long journey in winter--that was plucky of you.
 
96
Mrs Linde.I arrived by steamer this morning.
 
97
Nora.To have some fun at Christmas-time, of course. How delightful! We will have such fun together! But take off your things. You are not cold, I hope.[Helps her.]Now we will sit down by the stove, and be cosy. No, take this armchair; I will sit here in the rocking-chair.[Takes her hands.]Now you look like your old self again; it was only the first moment--You are a little paler, Christine, and perhaps a little thinner.
 
98
Mrs Linde.And much, much older, Nora.
 
99
Nora.Perhaps a little older; very, very little; certainly not much.[Stops suddenly and speaks seriously.]What a thoughtless creature I am, chattering away like this. My poor, dear Christine, do forgive me.
 
100
Mrs Linde.What do you mean, Nora?
 
101
Nora[gently]. Poor Christine, you are a widow.
 
102
Mrs Linde.Yes; it is three years ago now.
 
103
Nora.Yes, I knew; I saw it in the papers. I assure you, Christine, I meant ever so often to write to you at the time, but I always put it off and something always prevented me.
 
104
Mrs Linde.I quite understand, dear.
 
105
Nora.It was very bad of me, Christine. Poor thing, how you must have suffered. And he left you nothing?
 
106
Mrs Linde.No.
 
107
Nora.And no children?
 
108
Mrs Linde.No.
 
109
Nora.Nothing at all, then.
 
110
Mrs Linde.Not even any sorrow or grief to live upon.
 
111
Nora[looking incredulously at her]. But, Christine, is that possible?
 
112
Mrs Linde[smiles sadly and strokes her hair]. It sometimes happens, Nora.
 
113
Nora.So you are quite alone. How dreadfully sad that must be. I have three lovely children. You can't see them just now, for they are out with their nurse. But now you must tell me all about it.
 
114
Mrs Linde.No, no; I want to hear about you.
 
115
Nora.No, you must begin. I mustn't be selfish today; today I must only think of your affairs. But there is one thing I must tell you. Do you know we have just had a great piece of good luck?
 
116
Mrs Linde.No, what is it?
 
117
Nora.Just fancy, my husband has been made manager of the Bank!
 
118
Mrs Linde.Your husband? What good luck!
 
119
Nora.Yes, tremendous! A barrister's profession is such an uncertain thing, especially if he won't undertake unsavoury cases; and naturally Torvald has never been willing to do that, and I quite agree with him. You may imagine how pleased we are! He is to take up his work in the Bank at the New Year, and then he will have a big salary and lots of commissions. For the future we can live quite differently--we can do just as we like. I feel so relieved and so happy, Christine! It will be splendid to have heaps of money and not need to have any anxiety, won't it?
 
120
Mrs Linde.Yes, anyhow I think it would be delightful to have what one needs.
 
121
Nora.No, not only what one needs, but heaps and heaps of money.
 
122
Mrs Linde[smiling]. Nora, Nora, haven't you learned sense yet? In our schooldays you were a great spendthrift.
 
123
Nora[laughing]. Yes, that is what Torvald says now.[Wags her finger at her.]But "Nora, Nora" is not so silly as you think. We have not been in a position for me to waste money. We have both had to work.
 
124
Mrs Linde.You too?
 
125
Nora.Yes; odds and ends, needlework, crotchet-work, embroidery, and that kind of thing.[Dropping her voice.]And other things as well. You know Torvald left his office when we were married? There was no prospect of promotion there, and he had to try and earn more than before. But during the first year he over-worked himself dreadfully. You see, he had to make money every way he could, and he worked early and late; but he couldn't stand it, and fell dreadfully ill, and the doctors said it was necessary for him to go south.
 
126
Mrs Linde.You spent a whole year in Italy, didn't you?
 
127
Nora.Yes. It was no easy matter to get away, I can tell you. It was just after Ivar was born; but naturally we had to go. It was a wonderfully beautiful journey, and it saved Torvald's life. But it cost a tremendous lot of money, Christine.
 
128
Mrs Linde.So I should think.
 
129
Nora.It cost about two hundred and fifty pounds. That's a lot, isn't it?
 
130
Mrs Linde.Yes, and in emergencies like that it is lucky to have the money.
 
131
Nora.I ought to tell you that we had it from papa.
 
132
Mrs Linde.Oh, I see. It was just about that time that he died, wasn't it?
 
133
Nora.Yes; and, just think of it, I couldn't go and nurse him. I was expecting little Ivar's birth every day and I had my poor sick Torvald to look after. My dear, kind father--I never saw him again, Christine. That was the saddest time I have known since our marriage.
 
134
Mrs Linde.I know how fond you were of him. And then you went off to Italy?
 
135
Nora.Yes; you see we had money then, and the doctors insisted on our going, so we started a month later.
 
136
Mrs Linde.And your husband came back quite well?
 
137
Nora.As sound as a bell!
 
138
Mrs Linde.But--the doctor?
 
139
Nora.What doctor?
 
140
Mrs Linde.I thought your maid said the gentleman who arrived here just as I did, was the doctor?
 
141
Nora.Yes, that was Doctor Rank, but he doesn't come here professionally. He is our greatest friend, and comes in at least once every day. No, Torvald has not had an hour's illness since then, and our children are strong and healthy and so am I.[Jumps up and claps her hands.]Christine! Christine! it's good to be alive and happy!--But how horrid of me; I am talking of nothing but my own affairs.[Sits on a stool near her, and rests her arms on her knees.]You mustn't be angry with me. Tell me, is it really true that you did not love your husband? Why did you marry him?
 
142
Mrs Linde.My mother was alive then, and was bedridden and helpless, and I had to provide for my two younger brothers; so I did not think I was justified in refusing his offer.
 
143
Nora.No, perhaps you were quite right. He was rich at that time, then?
 
144
Mrs Linde.I believe he was quite well off. But his business was a precarious one; and, when he died, it all went to pieces and there was nothing left.
 
145
Nora.And then?--
 
146
Mrs Linde.Well, I had to turn my hand to anything I could find--first a small shop, then a small school, and so on. The last three years have seemed like one long working-day, with no rest. Now it is at an end, Nora. My poor mother needs me no more, for she is gone; and the boys do not need me either; they have got situations and can shift for themselves.
 
147
Nora.What a relief you must feel if--
 
148
Mrs Linde.No, indeed; I only feel my life unspeakably empty. No one to live for anymore.[Gets up restlessly.]That was why I could not stand the life in my little backwater any longer. I hope it may be easier here to find something which will busy me and occupy my thoughts. If only I could have the good luck to get some regular work--office work of some kind--
 
149
Nora.But, Christine, that is so frightfully tiring, and you look tired out now. You had far better go away to some watering-place.
 
150
Mrs Linde[walking to the window]. I have no father to give me money for a journey, Nora.
 
151
Nora[rising]. Oh, don't be angry with me!
 
152
Mrs Linde[going up to her]. It is you that must not be angry with me, dear. The worst of a position like mine is that it makes one so bitter. No one to work for, and yet obliged to be always on the lookout for chances. One must live, and so one becomes selfish. When you told me of the happy turn your fortunes have taken--you will hardly believe it--I was delighted not so much on your account as on my own.
 
153
Nora.How do you mean?--Oh, I understand. You mean that perhaps Torvald could get you something to do.
 
154
Mrs Linde.Yes, that was what I was thinking of.
 
155
Nora.He must, Christine. Just leave it to me; I will broach the subject very cleverly--I will think of something that will please him very much. It will make me so happy to be of some use to you.
 
156
Mrs Linde.How kind you are, Nora, to be so anxious to help me! It is doubly kind in you, for you know so little of the burdens and troubles of life.
 
157
Nora.I--? I know so little of them?
 
158
Mrs Linde[smiling]. My dear! Small household cares and that sort of thing!--You are a child, Nora.
 
159
Nora[tosses her head and crosses the stage]. You ought not to be so superior.
 
160
Mrs Linde.No?
 
161
Nora.You are just like the others. They all think that I am incapable of anything really serious--
 
162
Mrs Linde.Come, come--
 
163
Nora.--that I have gone through nothing in this world of cares.
 
164
Mrs Linde.But, my dear Nora, you have just told me all your troubles.
 
165
Nora.Pooh!--those were trifles.[Lowering her voice.]I have not told you the important thing.
 
166
Mrs Linde.The important thing? What do you mean?
 
167
Nora.You look down upon me altogether, Christine--but you ought not to. You are proud, aren't you, of having worked so hard and so long for your mother?
 
168
Mrs Linde.Indeed, I don't look down on anyone. But it is true that I am both proud and glad to think that I was privileged to make the end of my mother's life almost free from care.
 
169
Nora.And you are proud to think of what you have done for your brothers?
 
170
Mrs Linde.I think I have the right to be.
 
171
Nora.I think so, too. But now, listen to this; I too have something to be proud and glad of.
 
172
Mrs Linde.I have no doubt you have. But what do you refer to?
 
173
Nora.Speak low. Suppose Torvald were to hear! He mustn't on any account--no one in the world must know, Christine, except you.
 
174
Mrs Linde.But what is it?
 
175
Nora.Come here.[Pulls her down on the sofa beside her.]Now I will show you that I too have something to be proud and glad of. It was I who saved Torvald's life.
 
176
Mrs Linde.Saved? How?
 
177
Nora.I told you about our trip to Italy. Torvald would never have recovered if he had not gone there--
 
178
Mrs Linde.Yes, but your father gave you the necessary funds.
 
179
Nora[smiling]. Yes, that is what Torvald and all the others think, but--
 
180
Mrs Linde.But--
 
181
Nora.Papa didn't give us a shilling. It was I who procured the money.
 
182
Mrs Linde.You? All that large sum?
 
183
Nora.Two hundred and fifty pounds. What do you think of that?
 
184
Mrs Linde.But, Nora, how could you possibly do it? Did you win a prize in the Lottery?
 
185
Nora[contemptuously]. In the Lottery? There would have been no credit in that.
 
186
Mrs Linde. But where did you get it from, then? Nora[humming and smiling with an air of mystery]. Hm, hm! Aha!
 
187
Mrs Linde.Because you couldn't have borrowed it.
 
188
Nora.Couldn't I? Why not?
 
189
Mrs Linde.No, a wife cannot borrow without her husband's consent.
 
190
Nora[tossing her head]. Oh, if it is a wife who has any head for business--a wife who has the wit to be a little bit clever--
 
191
Mrs Linde.I don't understand it at all, Nora.
 
192
Nora.There is no need you should. I never said I had borrowed the money. I may have got it some other way.[Lies back on the sofa.]Perhaps I got it from some other admirer. When anyone is as attractive as I am--
 
193
Mrs Linde.You are a mad creature.
 
194
Nora.Now, you know you're full of curiosity, Christine.
 
195
Mrs Linde.Listen to me, Nora dear. Haven't you been a little bit imprudent?
 
196
Nora[sits up straight]. Is it imprudent to save your husband's life?
 
197
Mrs Linde.It seems to me imprudent, without his knowledge, to--
 
198
Nora.But it was absolutely necessary that he should not know! My goodness, can't you understand that? It was necessary he should have no idea what a dangerous condition he was in. It was to me that the doctors came and said that his life was in danger, and that the only thing to save him was to live in the south. Do you suppose I didn't try, first of all, to get what I wanted as if it were for myself? I told him how much I should love to travel abroad like other young wives; I tried tears and entreaties with him; I told him that he ought to remember the condition I was in, and that he ought to be kind and indulgent to me; I even hinted that he might raise a loan. That nearly made him angry, Christine. He said I was thoughtless, and that it was his duty as my husband not to indulge me in my whims and caprices--as I believe he called them. Very well, I thought, you must be saved--and that was how I came to devise a way out of the difficulty--
 
199
Mrs Linde.And did your husband never get to know from your father that the money had not come from him?
 
200
Nora.No, never. Papa died just at that time. I had meant to let him into the secret and beg him never to reveal it. But he was so ill then--alas, there never was any need to tell him.
 
201
Mrs Linde.And since then have you never told your secret to your husband?
 
202
Nora.Good Heavens, no! How could you think so? A man who has such strong opinions about these things! And besides, how painful and humiliating it would be for Torvald, with his manly independence, to know that he owed me anything! It would upset our mutual relations altogether; our beautiful happy home would no longer be what it is now.
 
203
Mrs Linde.Do you mean never to tell him about it?
 
204
Nora[meditatively, and with a half smile]. Yes--someday, perhaps, after many years, when I am no longer as nice-looking as I am now. Don't laugh at me! I mean, of course, when Torvald is no longer as devoted to me as he is now; when my dancing and dressing-up and reciting have palled on him; then it may be a good thing to have something in reserve--[Breaking off.]What nonsense! That time will never come. Now, what do you think of my great secret, Christine? Do you still think I am of no use? I can tell you, too, that this affair has caused me a lot of worry. It has been by no means easy for me to meet my engagements punctually. I may tell you that there is something that is called, in business, quarterly interest, and another thing called payment in installments, and it is always so dreadfully difficult to manage them. I have had to save a little here and there, where I could, you understand. I have not been able to put aside much from my housekeeping money, for Torvald must have a good table. I couldn't let my children be shabbily dressed; I have felt obliged to use up all he gave me for them, the sweet little darlings!
 
205
Mrs Linde.So it has all had to come out of your own necessaries of life, poor Nora?
 
206
Nora.Of course. Besides, I was the one responsible for it. Whenever Torvald has given me money for new dresses and such things, I have never spent more than half of it; I have always bought the simplest and cheapest things. Thank Heaven, any clothes look well on me, and so Torvald has never noticed it. But it was often very hard on me, Christine--because it is delightful to be really well dressed, isn't it?
 
207
Mrs Linde.Quite so.
 
208
Nora.Well, then I have found other ways of earning money. Last winter I was lucky enough to get a lot of copying to do; so I locked myself up and sat writing every evening until quite late at night. Many a time I was desperately tired; but all the same it was a tremendous pleasure to sit there working and earning money. It was like being a man.
 
209
Mrs Linde.How much have you been able to pay off in that way?
 
210
Nora.I can't tell you exactly. You see, it is very difficult to keep an account of a business matter of that kind. I only know that I have paid every penny that I could scrape together. Many a time I was at my wits' end.[Smiles.]Then I used to sit here and imagine that a rich old gentleman had fallen in love with me--
 
211
Mrs Linde.What! Who was it?
 
212
Nora.Be quiet!--that he had died; and that when his will was opened it contained, written in big letters, the instruction: "The lovely Mrs Nora Helmer is to have all I possess paid over to her at once in cash."
 
213
Mrs Linde.But, my dear Nora--who could the man be?
 
214
Nora.Good gracious, can't you understand? There was no old gentleman at all; it was only something that I used to sit here and imagine, when I couldn't think of any way of procuring money. But it's all the same now; the tiresome old person can stay where he is, as far as I am concerned; I don't care about him or his will either, for I am free from care now.[Jumps up.]My goodness, it's delightful to think of, Christine! Free from care! To be able to be free from care, quite free from care; to be able to play and romp with the children; to be able to keep the house beautifully and have everything just as Torvald likes it! And, think of it, soon the spring will come and the big blue sky! Perhaps we shall be able to take a little trip--perhaps I shall see the sea again! Oh, it's a wonderful thing to be alive and be happy.[A bell is heard in the hall.]
 
215
Mrs Linde[rising]. There is the bell; perhaps I had better go.
 
216
Nora.No, don't go; no one will come in here; it is sure to be for Torvald.
 
217
Servant[at the hall door]. Excuse me, ma'am--there is a gentleman to see the master, and as the doctor is with him--
 
218
Nora.Who is it?
 
219
Krogstad[at the door]. It is I, Mrs Helmer.[Mrs LINDE starts, trembles, and turns to the window.]
 
220
Nora[takes a step towards him, and speaks in a strained, low voice]. You? What is it? What do you want to see my husband about?
 
221
Krogstad.Bank business--in a way. I have a small post in the Bank, and I hear your husband is to be our chief now--
 
222
Nora.Then it is--
 
223
Krogstad.Nothing but dry business matters, Mrs Helmer; absolutely nothing else.
 
224
Nora.Be so good as to go into the study, then.[She bows indifferently to him and shuts the door into the hall; then comes back and makes up the fire in the stove.]
 
225
Mrs Linde.Nora--who was that man?
 
226
Nora.A lawyer, of the name of Krogstad.
 
227
Mrs Linde.Then it really was he.
 
228
Nora.Do you know the man?
 
229
Mrs Linde.I used to--many years ago. At one time he was a solicitor's clerk in our town.
 
230
Nora.Yes, he was.
 
231
Mrs Linde.He is greatly altered.
 
232
Nora.He made a very unhappy marriage.
 
233
Mrs Linde.He is a widower now, isn't he?
 
234
Nora.With several children. There now, it is burning up.[Shuts the door of the stove and moves the rocking-chair aside.]
 
235
Mrs Linde.They say he carries on various kinds of business.
 
236
Nora.Really! Perhaps he does; I don't know anything about it. But don't let us think of business; it is so tiresome.
 
237
Doctor Rank[comes out of HELMER'S study. Before he shuts the door he calls to him]. No, my dear fellow, I won't disturb you; I would rather go in to your wife for a little while.[Shuts the door and sees Mrs LINDE.]I beg your pardon; I am afraid I am disturbing you too.
 
238
Nora.No, not at all.[Introducing him]. Doctor Rank, Mrs Linde.
 
239
Rank.I have often heard Mrs Linde's name mentioned here. I think I passed you on the stairs when I arrived, Mrs Linde?
 
240
Mrs Linde.Yes, I go up very slowly; I can't manage stairs well.
 
241
Rank.Ah! some slight internal weakness?
 
242
Mrs Linde.No, the fact is I have been overworking myself.
 
243
Rank.Nothing more than that? Then I suppose you have come to town to amuse yourself with our entertainments?
 
244
Mrs Linde.I have come to look for work.
 
245
Rank.Is that a good cure for overwork?
 
246
Mrs Linde.One must live, Doctor Rank.
 
247
Rank.Yes, the general opinion seems to be that it is necessary.
 
248
Nora.Look here, Doctor Rank--you know you want to live.
 
249
Rank.Certainly. However wretched I may feel, I want to prolong the agony as long as possible. All my patients are like that. And so are those who are morally diseased; one of them, and a bad case too, is at this very moment with Helmer--
 
250
Mrs Linde[sadly]. Ah!
 
251
Nora.Whom do you mean?
 
252
Rank.A lawyer of the name of Krogstad, a fellow you don't know at all. He suffers from a diseased moral character, Mrs Helmer; but even he began talking of its being highly important that he should live.
 
253
Nora.Did he? What did he want to speak to Torvald about?
 
254
Rank.I have no idea; I only heard that it was something about the Bank.
 
255
Nora.I didn't know this--what's his name--Krogstad had anything to do with the Bank.
 
256
Rank.Yes, he has some sort of appointment there.[To Mrs Linde.]I don't know whether you find also in your part of the world that there are certain people who go zealously snuffing about to smell out moral corruption, and, as soon as they have found some, put the person concerned into some lucrative position where they can keep their eye on him. Healthy natures are left out in the cold.
 
257
Mrs Linde.Still I think the sick are those who most need taking care of.
 
258
Rank[shrugging his shoulders]. Yes, there you are. That is the sentiment that is turning Society into a sick-house.
 
259 [NORA, who has been absorbed in her thoughts, breaks out into smothered laughter and claps her hands.]
 
260
Rank.Why do you laugh at that? Have you any notion what Society really is?
 
261
Nora.What do I care about tiresome Society? I am laughing at something quite different, something extremely amusing. Tell me, Doctor Rank, are all the people who are employed in the Bank dependent on Torvald now?
 
262
Rank.Is that what you find so extremely amusing?
 
263
Nora[smiling and humming]. That's my affair![Walking about the room.]It's perfectly glorious to think that we have--that Torvald has so much power over so many people.[Takes the packet from her pocket.]Doctor Rank, what do you say to a macaroon?
 
264
Rank.What, macaroons? I thought they were forbidden here.
 
265
Nora.Yes, but these are some Christine gave me.
 
266
Mrs Linde.What! I?--
 
267
Nora.Oh, well, don't be alarmed! You couldn't know that Torvald had forbidden them. I must tell you that he is afraid they will spoil my teeth. But, bah!--once in a way--That's so, isn't it, Doctor Rank? By your leave![Puts a macaroon into his mouth.]You must have one too, Christine. And I shall have one, just a little one--or at most two.[Walking about.]I am tremendously happy. There is just one thing in the world now that I should dearly love to do.
 
268
Rank.Well, what is that?
 
269
Nora.It's something I should dearly love to say, if Torvald could hear me.
 
270
Rank.Well, why can't you say it?
 
271
Nora.No, I daren't; it's so shocking.
 
272
Mrs Linde.Shocking?
 
273
Rank.Well, I should not advise you to say it. Still, with us you might. What is it you would so much like to say if Torvald could hear you?
 
274
Nora.I should just love to say--Well, I'm damned!
 
275
Rank.Are you mad?
 
276
Mrs Linde.Nora, dear--!
 
277
Rank.Say it, here he is!
 
278
Nora[hiding the packet]. Hush! Hush! Hush![HELMER comes out of his room, with his coat over his arm and his hat in his hand.]
 
279
Nora.Well, Torvald dear, have you got rid of him?
 
280
Helmer.Yes, he has just gone.
 
281
Nora.Let me introduce you--this is Christine, who has come to town.
 
282
Helmer.Christine--? Excuse me, but I don't know--
 
283
Nora.Mrs Linde, dear; Christine Linde.
 
284
Helmer.Of course. A school friend of my wife's, I presume?
 
285
Mrs Linde.Yes, we have known each other since then.
 
286
Nora.And just think, she has taken a long journey in order to see you.
 
287
Helmer.What do you mean?
 
288
Mrs Linde.No, really, I--
 
289
Nora.Christine is tremendously clever at book-keeping, and she is frightfully anxious to work under some clever man, so as to perfect herself--
 
290
Helmer.Very sensible, Mrs Linde.
 
291
Nora.And when she heard you had been appointed manager of the Bank--the news was telegraphed, you know--she travelled here as quick as she could. Torvald, I am sure you will be able to do something for Christine, for my sake, won't you?
 
292
Helmer.Well, it is not altogether impossible. I presume you are a widow, Mrs Linde?
 
293
Mrs Linde.Yes.
 
294
Helmer.And have had some experience of book-keeping?
 
295
Mrs Linde.Yes, a fair amount.
 
296
Helmer.Ah! well, it's very likely I may be able to find something for you--
 
297
Nora[clapping her hands]. What did I tell you? What did I tell you?
 
298
Helmer.You have just come at a fortunate moment, Mrs Linde.
 
299
Mrs Linde.How am I to thank you?
 
300
Helmer.There is no need.[Puts on his coat.]But today you must excuse me--
 
301
Rank.Wait a minute; I will come with you.[Brings his fur coat from the hall and warms it at the fire.]
 
302
Nora.Don't be long away, Torvald dear.
 
303
Helmer.About an hour, not more.
 
304
Nora.Are you going too, Christine?
 
305
Mrs Linde[putting on her cloak]. Yes, I must go and look for a room.
 
306
Helmer.Oh, well then, we can walk down the street together.
 
307
Nora[helping her]. What a pity it is we are so short of space here; I am afraid it is impossible for us--
 
308
Mrs Linde.Please don't think of it! Goodbye, Nora dear, and many thanks.
 
309
Nora.Goodbye for the present. Of course you will come back this evening. And you too, Dr. Rank. What do you say? If you are well enough? Oh, you must be! Wrap yourself up well.[They go to the door all talking together. Children's voices are heard on the staircase.]
 
310
Nora.There they are! There they are![She runs to open the door. The NURSE comes in with the children.]Come in! Come in![Stoops and kisses them.]Oh, you sweet blessings! Look at them, Christine! Aren't they darlings?
 
311
Rank.Don't let us stand here in the draught.
 
312
Helmer.Come along, Mrs Linde; the place will only be bearable for a mother now!
 
313 [RANK, HELMER, and Mrs Linde go downstairs. The NURSE comes forward with the children; NORA shuts the hall door.]
 
314
Nora.How fresh and well you look! Such red cheeks like apples and roses.[The children all talk at once while she speaks to them.]Have you had great fun? That's splendid! What, you pulled both Emmy and Bob along on the sledge? --both at once?--that was good. You are a clever boy, Ivar. Let me take her for a little, Anne. My sweet little baby doll![Takes the baby from the MAID and dances it up and down.]Yes, yes, mother will dance with Bob too. What! Have you been snowballing? I wish I had been there too! No, no, I will take their things off, Anne; please let me do it, it is such fun. Go in now, you look half frozen. There is some hot coffee for you on the stove.
 
315 [The NURSE goes into the room on the left. NORA takes off the children's things and throws them about, while they all talk to her at once.]
 
316
Nora.Really! Did a big dog run after you? But it didn't bite you? No, dogs don't bite nice little dolly children. You mustn't look at the parcels, Ivar. What are they? Ah, I daresay you would like to know. No, no--it's something nasty! Come, let us have a game! What shall we play at? Hide and Seek? Yes, we'll play Hide and Seek. Bob shall hide first. Must I hide? Very well, I'll hide first.[She and the children laugh and shout, and romp in and out of the room; at last NORA hides under the table, the children rush in and out for her, but do not see her; they hear her smothered laughter, run to the table, lift up the cloth and find her. Shouts of laughter. She crawls forward and pretends to frighten them. Fresh laughter. Meanwhile there has been a knock at the hall door, but none of them has noticed it. The door is half opened, and KROGSTAD appears, he waits a little; the game goes on.]
 
317
Krogstad.Excuse me, Mrs Helmer.
 
318
Nora[with a stifled cry, turns round and gets up on to her knees]. Ah! what do you want?
 
319
Krogstad.Excuse me, the outer door was ajar; I suppose someone forgot to shut it.
 
320
Nora[rising]. My husband is out, Mr. Krogstad.
 
321
Krogstad.I know that.
 
322
Nora.What do you want here, then?
 
323
Krogstad.A word with you.
 
324
Nora.With me?--[To the children, gently.]Go in to nurse. What? No, the strange man won't do mother any harm. When he has gone we will have another game.[She takes the children into the room on the left, and shuts the door after them.]You want to speak to me?
 
325
Krogstad.Yes, I do.
 
326
Nora.Today? It is not the first of the month yet.
 
327
Krogstad.No, it is Christmas Eve, and it will depend on yourself what sort of a Christmas you will spend.
 
328
Nora.What do you mean? Today it is absolutely impossible for me--
 
329
Krogstad.We won't talk about that until later on. This is something different. I presume you can give me a moment?
 
330
Nora.Yes--yes, I can--although--
 
331
Krogstad.Good. I was in Olsen's Restaurant and saw your husband going down the street--
 
332
Nora.Yes?
 
333
Krogstad.With a lady.
 
334
Nora.What then?
 
335
Krogstad.May I make so bold as to ask if it was a Mrs Linde?
 
336
Nora.It was.
 
337
Krogstad.Just arrived in town?
 
338
Nora.Yes, today.
 
339
Krogstad.She is a great friend of yours, isn't she?
 
340
Nora.She is. But I don't see--
 
341
Krogstad.I knew her too, once upon a time.
 
342
Nora.I am aware of that.
 
343
Krogstad.Are you? So you know all about it; I thought as much. Then I can ask you, without beating about the bush--is Mrs Linde to have an appointment in the Bank?
 
344
Nora.What right have you to question me, Mr. Krogstad?--You, one of my husband's subordinates! But since you ask, you shall know. Yes, Mrs Linde is to have an appointment. And it was I who pleaded her cause, Mr. Krogstad, let me tell you that.
 
345
Krogstad.I was right in what I thought, then.
 
346
Nora[walking up and down the stage]. Sometimes one has a tiny little bit of influence, I should hope. Because one is a woman, it does not necessarily follow that--. When anyone is in a subordinate position, Mr. Krogstad, they should really be careful to avoid offending anyone who--who--
 
347
Krogstad.Who has influence?
 
348
Nora.Exactly.
 
349
Krogstad[changing his tone]. Mrs Helmer, you will be so good as to use your influence on my behalf.
 
350
Nora.What? What do you mean?
 
351
Krogstad.You will be so kind as to see that I am allowed to keep my subordinate position in the Bank.
 
352
Nora.What do you mean by that? Who proposes to take your post away from you?
 
353
Krogstad.Oh, there is no necessity to keep up the pretence of ignorance. I can quite understand that your friend is not very anxious to expose herself to the chance of rubbing shoulders with me; and I quite understand, too, whom I have to thank for being turned off.
 
354
Nora.But I assure you--
 
355
Krogstad.Very likely; but, to come to the point, the time has come when I should advise you to use your influence to prevent that.
 
356
Nora.But, Mr. Krogstad, I have no influence.
 
357
Krogstad.Haven't you? I thought you said yourself just now--
 
358
Nora.Naturally I did not mean you to put that construction on it. I! What should make you think I have any influence of that kind with my husband?
 
359
Krogstad.Oh, I have known your husband from our student days. I don't suppose he is any more unassailable than other husbands.
 
360
Nora.If you speak slightingly of my husband, I shall turn you out of the house.
 
361
Krogstad.You are bold, Mrs Helmer.
 
362
Nora.I am not afraid of you any longer. As soon as the New Year comes, I shall in a very short time be free of the whole thing.
 
363
Krogstad[controlling himself]. Listen to me, Mrs Helmer. If necessary, I am prepared to fight for my small post in the Bank as if I were fighting for my life.
 
364
Nora.So it seems.
 
365
Krogstad.It is not only for the sake of the money; indeed, that weighs least with me in the matter. There is another reason--well, I may as well tell you. My position is this. I daresay you know, like everybody else, that once, many years ago, I was guilty of an indiscretion.
 
366
Nora.I think I have heard something of the kind.
 
367
Krogstad.The matter never came into court; but every way seemed to be closed to me after that. So I took to the business that you know of. I had to do something; and, honestly, I don't think I've been one of the worst. But now I must cut myself free from all that. My sons are growing up; for their sake I must try and win back as much respect as I can in the town. This post in the Bank was like the first step up for me--and now your husband is going to kick me downstairs again into the mud.
 
368
Nora.But you must believe me, Mr. Krogstad; it is not in my power to help you at all.
 
369
Krogstad.Then it is because you haven't the will; but I have means to compel you.
 
370
Nora.You don't mean that you will tell my husband that I owe you money?
 
371
Krogstad.Hm!--suppose I were to tell him?
 
372
Nora.It would be perfectly infamous of you.[Sobbing.]To think of his learning my secret, which has been my joy and pride, in such an ugly, clumsy way--that he should learn it from you! And it would put me in a horribly disagreeable position--
 
373
Krogstad.Only disagreeable?
 
374
Nora[impetuously]. Well, do it, then!--and it will be the worse for you. My husband will see for himself what a blackguard you are, and you certainly won't keep your post then.
 
375
Krogstad.I asked you if it was only a disagreeable scene at home that you were afraid of?
 
376
Nora.If my husband does get to know of it, of course he will at once pay you what is still owing, and we shall have nothing more to do with you.
 
377
Krogstad[coming a step nearer]. Listen to me, Mrs Helmer. Either you have a very bad memory or you know very little of business. I shall be obliged to remind you of a few details.
 
378
Nora.What do you mean?
 
379
Krogstad.When your husband was ill, you came to me to borrow two hundred and fifty pounds.
 
380
Nora.I didn't know anyone else to go to.
 
381
Krogstad.I promised to get you that amount--
 
382
Nora.Yes, and you did so.
 
383
Krogstad.I promised to get you that amount, on certain conditions. Your mind was so taken up with your husband's illness, and you were so anxious to get the money for your journey, that you seem to have paid no attention to the conditions of our bargain. Therefore it will not be amiss if I remind you of them. Now, I promised to get the money on the security of a bond which I drew up.
 
384
Nora.Yes, and which I signed.
 
385
Krogstad.Good. But below your signature there were a few lines constituting your father a surety for the money; those lines your father should have signed.
 
386
Nora.Should? He did sign them.
 
387
Krogstad.I had left the date blank; that is to say, your father should himself have inserted the date on which he signed the paper. Do you remember that?
 
388
Nora.Yes, I think I remember--
 
389
Krogstad.Then I gave you the bond to send by post to your father. Is that not so?
 
390
Nora.Yes.
 
391
Krogstad.And you naturally did so at once, because five or six days afterwards you brought me the bond with your father's signature. And then I gave you the money.
 
392
Nora.Well, haven't I been paying it off regularly?
 
393
Krogstad.Fairly so, yes. But--to come