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[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 elmer!s study. "et#een the doors stands a $iano. %n the middle of the left-hand #all is a door, and beyond it a #indo#. Near the #indo# are a round table, arm-chairs and a small sofa. %n the right-hand #all, at the farther end, another door& and on the same side, nearer the footlights, a stove, t#o easy chairs and a rocking-chair& bet#een the stove and the door, a small table. Engravings on the #alls& a cabinet #ith china and other small ob'ects& a small book-case #ith #ell-bound books. (he floors are car$eted, and a fire burns in the stove. %t is #inter. A bell rings in the hall& shortly after#ards the door is heard to o$en. Enter N)*A, humming a tune and in high s$irits. She is in outdoor dress and carries a number of $arcels& these she lays on the table to the right. She leaves the outer door o$en after her, and through it is seen a +)*(E* #ho is carrying a Christmas (ree and a basket, #hich he gives to the ,A%- #ho has o$ened the door.. Nora. ide the Christmas (ree carefully, elen. "e sure the children do not see it until this evening, #hen it is dressed. [(o the +)*(E*, taking out her $urse.. o# much/ +orter. Six$ence. Nora. (here is a shilling. No, kee$ the change. [(he +)*(E* thanks her, and goes out. N)*A shuts the door. She is laughing to herself, as she takes off her hat and coat. She takes a $acket of macaroons from her $ocket and eats one or t#o& then goes cautiously to her husband!s door and listens.. 0es, he is in. [Still humming, she goes to the table on the right.. elmer [calls out from his room.. %s that my little lark t#ittering out there/ Nora [busy o$ening some of the $arcels.. 0es, it is1 elmer. %s it my little s2uirrel bustling about/ Nora. 0es1 elmer. 3hen did my s2uirrel come home/ Nora. 4ust no#. [+uts the bag of macaroons into her $ocket and #i$es her mouth.. Come in here, (orvald, and see #hat % have bought. elmer. -on!t disturb me. [A little later, he o$ens the door and looks into the room, $en in hand.. "ought, did you say/ All these things/ as my little s$endthrift been #asting money again/ Nora. 0es but, (orvald, this year #e really can let ourselves go a little. (his is the first Christmas that #e have not needed to economise. elmer. Still, you kno#, #e can!t s$end money recklessly. Nora. 0es, (orvald, #e may be a #ee bit more reckless no#, mayn!t #e/ 4ust a tiny #ee bit1 0ou
are going to have a big salary and earn lots and lots of money. elmer. 0es, after the Ne# 0ear& but then it #ill be a #hole 2uarter before the salary is due. Nora. +ooh1 #e can borro# until then. elmer. Nora1 [5oes u$ to her and takes her $layfully by the ear.. (he same little featherhead1 Su$$ose, no#, that % borro#ed fifty $ounds today, and you s$ent it all in the Christmas #eek, and then on Ne# 0ear!s Eve a slate fell on my head and killed me, and-Nora [$utting her hands over his mouth.. )h1 don!t say such horrid things. elmer. Still, su$$ose that ha$$ened,--#hat then/ Nora. %f that #ere to ha$$en, % don!t su$$ose % should care #hether % o#ed money or not. elmer. 0es, but #hat about the $eo$le #ho had lent it/ Nora. (hey/ 3ho #ould bother about them/ % should not kno# #ho they #ere. elmer. (hat is like a #oman1 "ut seriously, Nora, you kno# #hat % think about that. No debt, no borro#ing. (here can be no freedom or beauty about a home life that de$ends on borro#ing and debt. 3e t#o have ke$t bravely on the straight road so far, and #e #ill go on the same #ay for the short time longer that there need be any struggle. Nora [moving to#ards the stove.. As you $lease, (orvald. elmer [follo#ing her.. Come, come, my little skylark must not droo$ her #ings. 3hat is this1 %s my little s2uirrel out of tem$er/ [(aking out his $urse.. Nora, #hat do you think % have got here/ Nora [turning round 2uickly.. ,oney1 elmer. (here you are. [5ives her some money.. -o you think % don!t kno# #hat a lot is #anted for housekee$ing at Christmas-time/ Nora [counting.. (en shillings--a $ound--t#o $ounds1 (hank you, thank you, (orvald& that #ill kee$ me going for a long time. elmer. %ndeed it must. Nora. 0es, yes, it #ill. "ut come here and let me sho# you #hat % have bought. And all so chea$1 6ook, here is a ne# suit for %var, and a s#ord& and a horse and a trum$et for "ob& and a doll and dolly!s bedstead for Emmy,--they are very $lain, but any#ay she #ill soon break them in $ieces. And here are dress-lengths and handkerchiefs for the maids& old Anne ought really to have something better. elmer. And #hat is in this $arcel/ Nora [crying out.. No, no1 you mustn!t see that until this evening. elmer. 7ery #ell. "ut no# tell me, you extravagant little $erson, #hat #ould you like for yourself/ Nora. 8or myself/ )h, % am sure % don!t #ant anything. elmer. 0es, but you must. (ell me something reasonable that you #ould $articularly like to have. Nora. No, % really can!t think of anything--unless, (orvald-elmer. 3ell/
Nora [$laying #ith his coat buttons, and #ithout raising her eyes to his.. %f you really #ant to give me something, you might--you might-elmer. 3ell, out #ith it1 Nora [s$eaking 2uickly.. 0ou might give me money, (orvald. )nly 'ust as much as you can afford& and then one of these days % #ill buy something #ith it. elmer. "ut, Nora-Nora. )h, do1 dear (orvald& $lease, $lease do1 (hen % #ill #ra$ it u$ in beautiful gilt $a$er and hang it on the Christmas (ree. 3ouldn!t that be fun/ elmer. 3hat are little $eo$le called that are al#ays #asting money/ Nora. S$endthrifts--% kno#. 6et us do as you suggest, (orvald, and then % shall have time to think #hat % am most in #ant of. (hat is a very sensible $lan, isn!t it/ elmer [smiling.. %ndeed it is--that is to say, if you #ere really to save out of the money % give you, and then really buy something for yourself. "ut if you s$end it all on the housekee$ing and any number of unnecessary things, then % merely have to $ay u$ again. Nora. )h but, (orvald-elmer. 0ou can!t deny it, my dear little Nora. [+uts his arm round her #aist.. %t!s a s#eet little s$endthrift, but she uses u$ a deal of money. )ne #ould hardly believe ho# ex$ensive such little $ersons are1 Nora. %t!s a shame to say that. % do really save all % can. elmer [laughing.. (hat!s very true,--all you can. "ut you can!t save anything1 Nora [smiling 2uietly and ha$$ily.. 0ou haven!t any idea ho# many ex$enses #e skylarks and s2uirrels have, (orvald. elmer. 0ou are an odd little soul. 7ery like your father. 0ou al#ays find some ne# #ay of #heedling money out of me, and, as soon as you have got it, it seems to melt in your hands. 0ou never kno# #here it has gone. Still, one must take you as you are. %t is in the blood& for indeed it is true that you can inherit these things, Nora. Nora. Ah, % #ish % had inherited many of $a$a!s 2ualities. elmer. And % #ould not #ish you to be anything but 'ust #hat you are, my s#eet little skylark. "ut, do you kno#, it strikes me that you are looking rather--#hat shall % say--rather uneasy today/ Nora. -o %/ elmer. 0ou do, really. 6ook straight at me. Nora [looks at him.. 3ell/ elmer [#agging his finger at her.. asn!t ,iss S#eet (ooth been breaking rules in to#n today/ Nora. No& #hat makes you think that/ elmer. asn!t she $aid a visit to the confectioner!s/ Nora. No, % assure you, (orvald-elmer. Not been nibbling s#eets/
Nora. No, certainly not. elmer. Not even taken a bite at a macaroon or t#o/ Nora. No, (orvald, % assure you really-elmer. (here, there, of course % #as only 'oking. Nora [going to the table on the right.. % should not think of going against your #ishes. elmer. No, % am sure of that& besides, you gave me your #ord-- [5oing u$ to her.. 9ee$ your little Christmas secrets to yourself, my darling. (hey #ill all be revealed tonight #hen the Christmas (ree is lit, no doubt. Nora. -id you remember to invite -octor *ank/ elmer. No. "ut there is no need& as a matter of course he #ill come to dinner #ith us. o#ever, % #ill ask him #hen he comes in this morning. % have ordered some good #ine. Nora, you can!t think ho# % am looking for#ard to this evening. Nora. So am %1 And ho# the children #ill en'oy themselves, (orvald1 elmer. %t is s$lendid to feel that one has a $erfectly safe a$$ointment, and a big enough income. %t!s delightful to think of, isn!t it/ Nora. %t!s #onderful1 elmer. -o you remember last Christmas/ 8or a full three #eeks beforehand you shut yourself u$ every evening until long after midnight, making ornaments for the Christmas (ree, and all the other fine things that #ere to be a sur$rise to us. %t #as the dullest three #eeks % ever s$ent1 Nora. % didn!t find it dull. elmer [smiling.. "ut there #as $recious little result, Nora. Nora. )h, you shouldn!t tease me about that again. o# could % hel$ the cat!s going in and tearing everything to $ieces/ elmer. )f course you couldn!t, $oor little girl. 0ou had the best of intentions to $lease us all, and that!s the main thing. "ut it is a good thing that our hard times are over. Nora. 0es, it is really #onderful. elmer. (his time % needn!t sit here and be dull all alone, and you needn!t ruin your dear eyes and your $retty little hands-Nora [cla$$ing her hands.. No, (orvald, % needn!t any longer, need %1 %t!s #onderfully lovely to hear you say so1 [(aking his arm.. No# % #ill tell you ho# % have been thinking #e ought to arrange things, (orvald. As soon as Christmas is over--[A bell rings in the hall.. (here!s the bell. [She tidies the room a little.. (here!s some one at the door. 3hat a nuisance1 elmer. %f it is a caller, remember % am not at home. ,aid [in the door#ay.. A lady to see you, ma!am,--a stranger. Nora. Ask her to come in. ,aid [to E6,E*.. (he doctor came at the same time, sir. elmer. -id he go straight into my room/ ,aid. 0es, sir.
[ E6,E* goes into his room. (he ,A%- ushers in ,rs 6inde, #ho is in travelling dress, and shuts the door.. ,rs 6inde [in a de'ected and timid voice.. o# do you do, Nora/ Nora [doubtfully.. o# do you do-,rs 6inde. 0ou don!t recognise me, % su$$ose. Nora. No, % don!t kno#--yes, to be sure, % seem to--[Suddenly.. 0es1 Christine1 %s it really you/ ,rs 6inde. 0es, it is %. Nora. Christine1 (o think of my not recognising you1 And yet ho# could %--[%n a gentle voice.. o# you have altered, Christine1 ,rs 6inde. 0es, % have indeed. %n nine, ten long years-Nora. %s it so long since #e met/ % su$$ose it is. (he last eight years have been a ha$$y time for me, % can tell you. And so no# you have come into the to#n, and have taken this long 'ourney in #inter--that #as $lucky of you. ,rs 6inde. % arrived by steamer this morning. Nora. (o have some fun at Christmas-time, of course. o# delightful1 3e #ill have such fun together1 "ut take off your things. 0ou are not cold, % ho$e. [ el$s her.. No# #e #ill sit do#n by the stove, and be cosy. No, take this armchair& % #ill sit here in the rocking-chair. [(akes her hands.. No# you look like your old self again& it #as only the first moment--0ou are a little $aler, Christine, and $erha$s a little thinner. ,rs 6inde. And much, much older, Nora. Nora. +erha$s a little older& very, very little& certainly not much. [Sto$s suddenly and s$eaks seriously.. 3hat a thoughtless creature % am, chattering a#ay like this. ,y $oor, dear Christine, do forgive me. ,rs 6inde. 3hat do you mean, Nora/ Nora [gently.. +oor Christine, you are a #ido#. ,rs 6inde. 0es& it is three years ago no#. Nora. 0es, % kne#& % sa# it in the $a$ers. % assure you, Christine, % meant ever so often to #rite to you at the time, but % al#ays $ut it off and something al#ays $revented me. ,rs 6inde. % 2uite understand, dear. Nora. %t #as very bad of me, Christine. +oor thing, ho# you must have suffered. And he left you nothing/ ,rs 6inde. No. Nora. And no children/ ,rs 6inde. No. Nora. Nothing at all, then. ,rs 6inde. Not even any sorro# or grief to live u$on. Nora [looking incredulously at her.. "ut, Christine, is that $ossible/
,rs 6inde [smiles sadly and strokes her hair.. %t sometimes ha$$ens, Nora. Nora. So you are 2uite alone. o# dreadfully sad that must be. % have three lovely children. 0ou can!t see them 'ust no#, for they are out #ith their nurse. "ut no# you must tell me all about it. ,rs 6inde. No, no& % #ant to hear about you. Nora. No, you must begin. % mustn!t be selfish today& today % must only think of your affairs. "ut there is one thing % must tell you. -o you kno# #e have 'ust had a great $iece of good luck/ ,rs 6inde. No, #hat is it/ Nora. 4ust fancy, my husband has been made manager of the "ank1 ,rs 6inde. 0our husband/ 3hat good luck1 Nora. 0es, tremendous1 A barrister!s $rofession is such an uncertain thing, es$ecially if he #on!t undertake unsavoury cases& and naturally (orvald has never been #illing to do that, and % 2uite agree #ith him. 0ou may imagine ho# $leased #e are1 e is to take u$ his #ork in the "ank at the Ne# 0ear, and then he #ill have a big salary and lots of commissions. 8or the future #e can live 2uite differently--#e can do 'ust as #e like. % feel so relieved and so ha$$y, Christine1 %t #ill be s$lendid to have hea$s of money and not need to have any anxiety, #on!t it/ ,rs 6inde. 0es, anyho# % think it #ould be delightful to have #hat one needs. Nora. No, not only #hat one needs, but hea$s and hea$s of money. ,rs 6inde [smiling.. Nora, Nora, haven!t you learned sense yet/ %n our schooldays you #ere a great s$endthrift. Nora [laughing.. 0es, that is #hat (orvald says no#. [3ags her finger at her.. "ut :Nora, Nora: is not so silly as you think. 3e have not been in a $osition for me to #aste money. 3e have both had to #ork. ,rs 6inde. 0ou too/ Nora. 0es& odds and ends, needle#ork, crotchet-#ork, embroidery, and that kind of thing. [-ro$$ing her voice.. And other things as #ell. 0ou kno# (orvald left his office #hen #e #ere married/ (here #as no $ros$ect of $romotion there, and he had to try and earn more than before. "ut during the first year he over-#orked himself dreadfully. 0ou see, he had to make money every #ay he could, and he #orked early and late& but he couldn!t stand it, and fell dreadfully ill, and the doctors said it #as necessary for him to go south. ,rs 6inde. 0ou s$ent a #hole year in %taly, didn!t you/ Nora. 0es. %t #as no easy matter to get a#ay, % can tell you. %t #as 'ust after %var #as born& but naturally #e had to go. %t #as a #onderfully beautiful 'ourney, and it saved (orvald!s life. "ut it cost a tremendous lot of money, Christine. ,rs 6inde. So % should think. Nora. %t cost about t#o hundred and fifty $ounds. (hat!s a lot, isn!t it/ ,rs 6inde. 0es, and in emergencies like that it is lucky to have the money. Nora. % ought to tell you that #e had it from $a$a. ,rs 6inde. )h, % see. %t #as 'ust about that time that he died, #asn!t it/ Nora. 0es& and, 'ust think of it, % couldn!t go and nurse him. % #as ex$ecting little %var!s birth
every day and % had my $oor sick (orvald to look after. ,y dear, kind father--% never sa# him again, Christine. (hat #as the saddest time % have kno#n since our marriage. ,rs 6inde. % kno# ho# fond you #ere of him. And then you #ent off to %taly/ Nora. 0es& you see #e had money then, and the doctors insisted on our going, so #e started a month later. ,rs 6inde. And your husband came back 2uite #ell/ Nora. As sound as a bell1 ,rs 6inde. "ut--the doctor/ Nora. 3hat doctor/ ,rs 6inde. % thought your maid said the gentleman #ho arrived here 'ust as % did, #as the doctor/ Nora. 0es, that #as -octor *ank, but he doesn!t come here $rofessionally. e is our greatest friend, and comes in at least once everyday. No, (orvald has not had an hour!s illness since then, and our children are strong and healthy and so am %. [4um$s u$ and cla$s her hands.. Christine1 Christine1 it!s good to be alive and ha$$y1--"ut ho# horrid of me& % am talking of nothing but my o#n affairs. [Sits on a stool near her, and rests her arms on her knees.. 0ou mustn!t be angry #ith me. (ell me, is it really true that you did not love your husband/ 3hy did you marry him/ ,rs 6inde. ,y mother #as alive then, and #as bedridden and hel$less, and % had to $rovide for my t#o younger brothers& so % did not think % #as 'ustified in refusing his offer. Nora. No, $erha$s you #ere 2uite right. e #as rich at that time, then/ ,rs 6inde. % believe he #as 2uite #ell off. "ut his business #as a $recarious one& and, #hen he died, it all #ent to $ieces and there #as nothing left. Nora. And then/-,rs 6inde. 3ell, % had to turn my hand to anything % could find--first a small sho$, then a small school, and so on. (he last three years have seemed like one long #orking-day, #ith no rest. No# it is at an end, Nora. ,y $oor mother needs me no more, for she is gone& and the boys do not need me either& they have got situations and can shift for themselves. Nora. 3hat a relief you must feel if-,rs 6inde. No, indeed& % only feel my life uns$eakably em$ty. No one to live for anymore. [5ets u$ restlessly.. (hat #as #hy % could not stand the life in my little back#ater any longer. % ho$e it may be easier here to find something #hich #ill busy me and occu$y my thoughts. %f only % could have the good luck to get some regular #ork--office #ork of some kind-Nora. "ut, Christine, that is so frightfully tiring, and you look tired out no#. 0ou had far better go a#ay to some #atering-$lace. ,rs 6inde [#alking to the #indo#.. % have no father to give me money for a 'ourney, Nora. Nora [rising.. )h, don!t be angry #ith me1 ,rs 6inde [going u$ to her.. %t is you that must not be angry #ith me, dear. (he #orst of a $osition like mine is that it makes one so bitter. No one to #ork for, and yet obliged to be al#ays on the lookout for chances. )ne must live, and so one becomes selfish. 3hen you told me of the ha$$y turn your fortunes have taken--you #ill hardly believe it--% #as delighted not so much on
your account as on my o#n. Nora. o# do you mean/--)h, % understand. 0ou mean that $erha$s (orvald could get you something to do. ,rs 6inde. 0es, that #as #hat % #as thinking of. Nora. e must, Christine. 4ust leave it to me& % #ill broach the sub'ect very cleverly--% #ill think of something that #ill $lease him very much. %t #ill make me so ha$$y to be of some use to you. ,rs 6inde. o# kind you are, Nora, to be so anxious to hel$ me1 %t is doubly kind in you, for you kno# so little of the burdens and troubles of life. Nora. %--/ % kno# so little of them/ ,rs 6inde [smiling.. ,y dear1 Small household cares and that sort of thing1--0ou are a child, Nora. Nora [tosses her head and crosses the stage.. 0ou ought not to be so su$erior. ,rs 6inde. No/ Nora. 0ou are 'ust like the others. (hey all think that % am inca$able of anything really serious-,rs 6inde. Come, come-Nora.--that % have gone through nothing in this #orld of cares. ,rs 6inde. "ut, my dear Nora, you have 'ust told me all your troubles. Nora. +ooh1--those #ere trifles. [6o#ering her voice.. % have not told you the im$ortant thing. ,rs 6inde. (he im$ortant thing/ 3hat do you mean/ Nora. 0ou look do#n u$on me altogether, Christine--but you ought not to. 0ou are $roud, aren!t you, of having #orked so hard and so long for your mother/ ,rs 6inde. %ndeed, % don!t look do#n on anyone. "ut it is true that % am both $roud and glad to think that % #as $rivileged to make the end of my mother!s life almost free from care. Nora. And you are $roud to think of #hat you have done for your brothers/ ,rs 6inde. % think % have the right to be. Nora. % think so, too. "ut no#, listen to this& % too have something to be $roud and glad of. ,rs 6inde. % have no doubt you have. "ut #hat do you refer to/ Nora. S$eak lo#. Su$$ose (orvald #ere to hear1 e mustn!t on any account--no one in the #orld must kno#, Christine, exce$t you. ,rs 6inde. "ut #hat is it/ Nora. Come here. [+ulls her do#n on the sofa beside her.. No# % #ill sho# you that % too have something to be $roud and glad of. %t #as % #ho saved (orvald!s life. ,rs 6inde. :Saved:/ o#/ Nora. % told you about our tri$ to %taly. (orvald #ould never have recovered if he had not gone there-,rs 6inde. 0es, but your father gave you the necessary funds. Nora [smiling.. 0es, that is #hat (orvald and all the others think, but--
,rs 6inde. "ut-Nora. +a$a didn!t give us a shilling. %t #as % #ho $rocured the money. ,rs 6inde. 0ou/ All that large sum/ Nora. (#o hundred and fifty $ounds. 3hat do you think of that/ ,rs 6inde. "ut, Nora, ho# could you $ossibly do it/ -id you #in a $ri;e in the 6ottery/ Nora [contem$tuously.. %n the 6ottery/ (here #ould have been no credit in that. ,rs 6inde. "ut #here did you get it from, then/ Nora [humming and smiling #ith an air of mystery.. m, hm1 Aha1 ,rs 6inde. "ecause you couldn!t have borro#ed it. Nora. Couldn!t %/ 3hy not/ ,rs 6inde. No, a #ife cannot borro# #ithout her husband!s consent. Nora [tossing her head.. )h, if it is a #ife #ho has any head for business--a #ife #ho has the #it to be a little bit clever-,rs 6inde. % don!t understand it at all, Nora. Nora. (here is no need you should. % never said % had borro#ed the money. % may have got it some other #ay. [6ies back on the sofa.. +erha$s % got it from some other admirer. 3hen anyone is as attractive as % am-,rs 6inde. 0ou are a mad creature. Nora. No#, you kno# you!re full of curiosity, Christine. ,rs 6inde. 6isten to me, Nora dear. aven!t you been a little bit im$rudent/ Nora [sits u$ straight.. %s it im$rudent to save your husband!s life/ ,rs 6inde. %t seems to me im$rudent, #ithout his kno#ledge, to-Nora. "ut it #as absolutely necessary that he should not kno#1 ,y goodness, can!t you understand that/ %t #as necessary he should have no idea #hat a dangerous condition he #as in. %t #as to me that the doctors came and said that his life #as in danger, and that the only thing to save him #as to live in the south. -o you su$$ose % didn!t try, first of all, to get #hat % #anted as if it #ere for myself/ % told him ho# much % should love to travel abroad like other young #ives& % tried tears and entreaties #ith him& % told him that he ought to remember the condition % #as in, and that he ought to be kind and indulgent to me& % even hinted that he might raise a loan. (hat nearly made him angry, Christine. e said % #as thoughtless, and that it #as his duty as my husband not to indulge me in my #hims and ca$rices--as % believe he called them. 7ery #ell, % thought, you must be saved--and that #as ho# % came to devise a #ay out of the difficulty-,rs 6inde. And did your husband never get to kno# from your father that the money had not come from him/ Nora. No, never. +a$a died 'ust at that time. % had meant to let him into the secret and beg him never to reveal it. "ut he #as so ill then--alas, there never #as any need to tell him. ,rs 6inde. And since then have you never told your secret to your husband/ Nora. 5ood eavens, no1 o# could you think so/ A man #ho has such strong o$inions about
these things1 And besides, ho# $ainful and humiliating it #ould be for (orvald, #ith his manly inde$endence, to kno# that he o#ed me anything1 %t #ould u$set our mutual relations altogether& our beautiful ha$$y home #ould no longer be #hat it is no#. ,rs 6inde. -o you mean never to tell him about it/ Nora [meditatively, and #ith a half smile.. 0es--someday, $erha$s, after many years, #hen % am no longer as nice-looking as % am no#. -on!t laugh at me1 % mean, of course, #hen (orvald is no longer as devoted to me as he is no#& #hen my dancing and dressing-u$ and reciting have $alled on him& then it may be a good thing to have something in reserve--["reaking off.. 3hat nonsense1 (hat time #ill never come. No#, #hat do you think of my great secret, Christine/ -o you still think % am of no use/ % can tell you, too, that this affair has caused me a lot of #orry. %t has been by no means easy for me to meet my engagements $unctually. % may tell you that there is something that is called, in business, 2uarterly interest, and another thing called $ayment in installments, and it is al#ays so dreadfully difficult to manage them. % have had to save a little here and there, #here % could, you understand. % have not been able to $ut aside much from my housekee$ing money, for (orvald must have a good table. % couldn!t let my children be shabbily dressed& % have felt obliged to use u$ all he gave me for them, the s#eet little darlings1 ,rs 6inde. So it has all had to come out of your o#n necessaries of life, $oor Nora/ Nora. )f course. "esides, % #as the one res$onsible for it. 3henever (orvald has given me money for ne# dresses and such things, % have never s$ent more than half of it& % have al#ays bought the sim$lest and chea$est things. (hank eaven, any clothes look #ell on me, and so (orvald has never noticed it. "ut it #as often very hard on me, Christine--because it is delightful to be really #ell dressed, isn!t it/ ,rs 6inde. <uite so. Nora. 3ell, then % have found other #ays of earning money. 6ast #inter % #as lucky enough to get a lot of co$ying to do& so % locked myself u$ and sat #riting every evening until 2uite late at night. ,any a time % #as des$erately tired& but all the same it #as a tremendous $leasure to sit there #orking and earning money. %t #as like being a man. ,rs 6inde. o# much have you been able to $ay off in that #ay/ Nora. % can!t tell you exactly. 0ou see, it is very difficult to kee$ an account of a business matter of that kind. % only kno# that % have $aid every $enny that % could scra$e together. ,any a time % #as at my #its! end. [Smiles.. (hen % used to sit here and imagine that a rich old gentleman had fallen in love #ith me-,rs 6inde. 3hat1 3ho #as it/ Nora. "e 2uiet1--that he had died& and that #hen his #ill #as o$ened it contained, #ritten in big letters, the instruction= :(he lovely ,rs Nora elmer is to have all % $ossess $aid over to her at once in cash.: ,rs 6inde. "ut, my dear Nora--#ho could the man be/ Nora. 5ood gracious, can!t you understand/ (here #as no old gentleman at all& it #as only something that % used to sit here and imagine, #hen % couldn!t think of any #ay of $rocuring money. "ut it!s all the same no#& the tiresome old $erson can stay #here he is, as far as % am concerned& % don!t care about him or his #ill either, for % am free from care no#. [4um$s u$.. ,y goodness, it!s delightful to think of, Christine1 8ree from care1 (o be able to be free from care,
2uite free from care& to be able to $lay and rom$ #ith the children& to be able to kee$ the house beautifully and have everything 'ust as (orvald likes it1 And, think of it, soon the s$ring #ill come and the big blue sky1 +erha$s #e shall be able to take a little tri$--$erha$s % shall see the sea again1 )h, it!s a #onderful thing to be alive and be ha$$y. [A bell is heard in the hall.. ,rs 6inde [rising.. (here is the bell& $erha$s % had better go. Nora. No, don!t go& no one #ill come in here& it is sure to be for (orvald. Servant [at the hall door.. Excuse me, ma!am--there is a gentleman to see the master, and as the doctor is #ith him-Nora. 3ho is it/ 9rogstad [at the door.. %t is %, ,rs elmer. [,rs 6%N-E starts, trembles, and turns to the #indo#.. Nora [takes a ste$ to#ards him, and s$eaks in a strained, lo# voice.. 0ou/ 3hat is it/ 3hat do you #ant to see my husband about/ 9rogstad. "ank business--in a #ay. % have a small $ost in the "ank, and % hear your husband is to be our chief no#-Nora. (hen it is-9rogstad. Nothing but dry business matters, ,rs elmer& absolutely nothing else. Nora. "e so good as to go into the study, then. [She bo#s indifferently to him and shuts the door into the hall& then comes back and makes u$ the fire in the stove.. ,rs 6inde. Nora--#ho #as that man/ Nora. A la#yer, of the name of 9rogstad. ,rs 6inde. (hen it really #as he. Nora. -o you kno# the man/ ,rs 6inde. % used to--many years ago. At one time he #as a solicitor!s clerk in our to#n. Nora. 0es, he #as. ,rs 6inde. e is greatly altered. Nora. e made a very unha$$y marriage. ,rs 6inde. e is a #ido#er no#, isn!t he/ Nora. 3ith several children. (here no#, it is burning u$. [Shuts the door of the stove and moves the rocking-chair aside.. ,rs 6inde. (hey say he carries on various kinds of business. Nora. *eally1 +erha$s he does& % don!t kno# anything about it. "ut don!t let us think of business& it is so tiresome. -octor *ank [comes out of E6,E*!S study. "efore he shuts the door he calls to him.. No, my dear fello#, % #on!t disturb you& % #ould rather go in to your #ife for a little #hile. [Shuts the door and sees ,rs 6%N-E.. % beg your $ardon& % am afraid % am disturbing you too. Nora. No, not at all. [%ntroducing him.. -octor *ank, ,rs 6inde.
*ank. % have often heard ,rs 6inde!s name mentioned here. % think % $assed you on the stairs #hen % arrived, ,rs 6inde/ ,rs 6inde. 0es, % go u$ very slo#ly& % can!t manage stairs #ell. *ank. Ah1 some slight internal #eakness/ ,rs 6inde. No, the fact is % have been over#orking myself. *ank. Nothing more than that/ (hen % su$$ose you have come to to#n to amuse yourself #ith our entertainments/ ,rs 6inde. % have come to look for #ork. *ank. %s that a good cure for over#ork/ ,rs 6inde. )ne must live, -octor *ank. *ank. 0es, the general o$inion seems to be that it is necessary. Nora. 6ook here, -octor *ank--you kno# you #ant to live. *ank. Certainly. o#ever #retched % may feel, % #ant to $rolong the agony as long as $ossible. All my $atients are like that. And so are those #ho are morally diseased& one of them, and a bad case too, is at this very moment #ith elmer-,rs 6inde [sadly.. Ah1 Nora. 3hom do you mean/ *ank. A la#yer of the name of 9rogstad, a fello# you don!t kno# at all. e suffers from a diseased moral character, ,rs elmer& but even he began talking of its being highly im$ortant that he should live. Nora. -id he/ 3hat did he #ant to s$eak to (orvald about/ *ank. % have no idea& % only heard that it #as something about the "ank. Nora. % didn!t kno# this--#hat!s his name--9rogstad had anything to do #ith the "ank. *ank. 0es, he has some sort of a$$ointment there. [(o ,rs 6inde.. % don!t kno# #hether you find also in your $art of the #orld that there are certain $eo$le #ho go ;ealously snuffing about to smell out moral corru$tion, and, as soon as they have found some, $ut the $erson concerned into some lucrative $osition #here they can kee$ their eye on him. ealthy natures are left out in the cold. ,rs 6inde. Still % think the sick are those #ho most need taking care of. *ank [shrugging his shoulders.. 0es, there you are. (hat is the sentiment that is turning Society into a sick-house. [N)*A, #ho has been absorbed in her thoughts, breaks out into smothered laughter and cla$s her hands.. *ank. 3hy do you laugh at that/ ave you any notion #hat Society really is/ Nora. 3hat do % care about tiresome Society/ % am laughing at something 2uite different, something extremely amusing. (ell me, -octor *ank, are all the $eo$le #ho are em$loyed in the "ank de$endent on (orvald no#/ *ank. %s that #hat you find so extremely amusing/
Nora [smiling and humming.. (hat!s my affair1 [3alking about the room.. %t!s $erfectly glorious to think that #e have--that (orvald has so much $o#er over so many $eo$le. [(akes the $acket from her $ocket.. -octor *ank, #hat do you say to a macaroon/ *ank. 3hat, macaroons/ % thought they #ere forbidden here. Nora. 0es, but these are some Christine gave me. ,rs 6inde. 3hat1 %/-Nora. )h, #ell, don!t be alarmed1 0ou couldn!t kno# that (orvald had forbidden them. % must tell you that he is afraid they #ill s$oil my teeth. "ut, bah1--once in a #ay--(hat!s so, isn!t it, -octor *ank/ "y your leave1 [+uts a macaroon into his mouth.. 0ou must have one too, Christine. And % shall have one, 'ust a little one--or at most t#o. [3alking about.. % am tremendously ha$$y. (here is 'ust one thing in the #orld no# that % should dearly love to do. *ank. 3ell, #hat is that/ Nora. %t!s something % should dearly love to say, if (orvald could hear me. *ank. 3ell, #hy can!t you say it/ Nora. No, % daren!t& it!s so shocking. ,rs 6inde. Shocking/ *ank. 3ell, % should not advise you to say it. Still, #ith us you might. 3hat is it you #ould so much like to say if (orvald could hear you/ Nora. % should 'ust love to say--3ell, %!m damned1 *ank. Are you mad/ ,rs 6inde. Nora, dear--1 *ank. Say it, here he is1 Nora [hiding the $acket.. ush1 ush1 ush1 [ E6,E* comes out of his room, #ith his coat over his arm and his hat in his hand.. Nora. 3ell, (orvald dear, have you got rid of him/ elmer. 0es, he has 'ust gone. Nora. 6et me introduce you--this is Christine, #ho has come to to#n. elmer. Christine--/ Excuse me, but % don!t kno#-Nora. ,rs 6inde, dear& Christine 6inde. elmer. )f course. A school friend of my #ife!s, % $resume/ ,rs 6inde. 0es, #e have kno#n each other since then. Nora. And 'ust think, she has taken a long 'ourney in order to see you. elmer. 3hat do you mean/ ,rs 6inde. No, really, %-Nora. Christine is tremendously clever at book-kee$ing, and she is frightfully anxious to #ork under some clever man, so as to $erfect herself-elmer. 7ery sensible, ,rs 6inde.
Nora. And #hen she heard you had been a$$ointed manager of the "ank--the ne#s #as telegra$hed, you kno#--she travelled here as 2uick as she could. (orvald, % am sure you #ill be able to do something for Christine, for my sake, #on!t you/ elmer. 3ell, it is not altogether im$ossible. % $resume you are a #ido#, ,rs 6inde/ ,rs 6inde. 0es. elmer. And have had some ex$erience of book-kee$ing/ ,rs 6inde. 0es, a fair amount. elmer. Ah1 #ell, it!s very likely % may be able to find something for you-Nora [cla$$ing her hands.. 3hat did % tell you/ 3hat did % tell you/ elmer. 0ou have 'ust come at a fortunate moment, ,rs 6inde. ,rs 6inde. o# am % to thank you/ elmer. (here is no need. [+uts on his coat.. "ut today you must excuse me-*ank. 3ait a minute& % #ill come #ith you. ["rings his fur coat from the hall and #arms it at the fire.. Nora. -on!t be long a#ay, (orvald dear. elmer. About an hour, not more. Nora. Are you going too, Christine/ ,rs 6inde [$utting on her cloak.. 0es, % must go and look for a room. elmer. )h, #ell then, #e can #alk do#n the street together. Nora [hel$ing her.. 3hat a $ity it is #e are so short of s$ace here& % am afraid it is im$ossible for us-,rs 6inde. +lease don!t think of it1 5oodbye, Nora dear, and many thanks. Nora. 5oodbye for the $resent. )f course you #ill come back this evening. And you too, -r. *ank. 3hat do you say/ %f you are #ell enough/ )h, you must be1 3ra$ yourself u$ #ell. [(hey go to the door all talking together. Children!s voices are heard on the staircase.. Nora. (here they are1 (here they are1 [She runs to o$en the door. (he N>*SE comes in #ith the children.. Come in1 Come in1 [Stoo$s and kisses them.. )h, you s#eet blessings1 6ook at them, Christine1 Aren!t they darlings/ *ank. -on!t let us stand here in the draught. elmer. Come along, ,rs 6inde& the $lace #ill only be bearable for a mother no#1 [*AN9, E6,E*, and ,rs 6inde go do#nstairs. (he N>*SE comes for#ard #ith the children& N)*A shuts the hall door.. Nora. o# fresh and #ell you look1 Such red cheeks like a$$les and roses. [(he children all talk at once #hile she s$eaks to them.. ave you had great fun/ (hat!s s$lendid1 3hat, you $ulled both Emmy and "ob along on the sledge/ --both at once/--that #as good. 0ou are a clever boy, %var. 6et me take her for a little, Anne. ,y s#eet little baby doll1 [(akes the baby from the ,A%- and dances it u$ and do#n.. 0es, yes, mother #ill dance #ith "ob too. 3hat1 ave you been sno#balling/ % #ish % had been there too1 No, no, % #ill take their things off, Anne& $lease
let me do it, it is such fun. 5o in no#, you look half fro;en. (here is some hot coffee for you on the stove. [(he N>*SE goes into the room on the left. N)*A takes off the children!s things and thro#s them about, #hile they all talk to her at once.. Nora. *eally1 -id a big dog run after you/ "ut it didn!t bite you/ No, dogs don!t bite nice little dolly children. 0ou mustn!t look at the $arcels, %var. 3hat are they/ Ah, % daresay you #ould like to kno#. No, no--it!s something nasty1 Come, let us have a game1 3hat shall #e $lay at/ ide and Seek/ 0es, #e!ll $lay ide and Seek. "ob shall hide first. ,ust % hide/ 7ery #ell, %!ll hide first. [She and the children laugh and shout, and rom$ in and out of the room& at last N)*A 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 u$ the cloth and find her. Shouts of laughter. She cra#ls for#ard and $retends to frighten them. 8resh laughter. ,ean#hile there has been a knock at the hall door, but none of them has noticed it. (he door is half o$ened, and 9*)5S(A- a$$ears, lie #aits a little& the game goes on.. 9rogstad. Excuse me, ,rs elmer. Nora [#ith a stifled cry, turns round and gets u$ on to her knees.. Ah1 #hat do you #ant/ 9rogstad. Excuse me, the outer door #as a'ar& % su$$ose someone forgot to shut it. Nora [rising.. ,y husband is out, ,r. 9rogstad. 9rogstad. % kno# that. Nora. 3hat do you #ant here, then/ 9rogstad. A #ord #ith you. Nora. 3ith me/--[(o the children, gently.. 5o in to nurse. 3hat/ No, the strange man #on!t do mother any harm. 3hen he has gone #e #ill have another game. [She takes the children into the room on the left, and shuts the door after them.. 0ou #ant to s$eak to me/ 9rogstad. 0es, % do. Nora. (oday/ %t is not the first of the month yet. 9rogstad. No, it is Christmas Eve, and it #ill de$end on yourself #hat sort of a Christmas you #ill s$end. Nora. 3hat do you mean/ (oday it is absolutely im$ossible for me-9rogstad. 3e #on!t talk about that until later on. (his is something different. % $resume you can give me a moment/ Nora. 0es--yes, % can--although-9rogstad. 5ood. % #as in )lsen!s *estaurant and sa# your husband going do#n the street-Nora. 0es/ 9rogstad. 3ith a lady. Nora. 3hat then/ 9rogstad. ,ay % make so bold as to ask if it #as a ,rs 6inde/ Nora. %t #as.
9rogstad. 4ust arrived in to#n/ Nora. 0es, today. 9rogstad. She is a great friend of yours, isn!t she/ Nora. She is. "ut % don!t see-9rogstad. % kne# her too, once u$on a time. Nora. % am a#are of that. 9rogstad. Are you/ So you kno# all about it& % thought as much. (hen % can ask you, #ithout beating about the bush--is ,rs 6inde to have an a$$ointment in the "ank/ Nora. 3hat right have you to 2uestion me, ,r. 9rogstad/--0ou, one of my husband!s subordinates1 "ut since you ask, you shall kno#. 0es, ,rs 6inde is to have an a$$ointment. And it #as % #ho $leaded her cause, ,r. 9rogstad, let me tell you that. 9rogstad. % #as right in #hat % thought, then. Nora [#alking u$ and do#n the stage.. Sometimes one has a tiny little bit of influence, % should ho$e. "ecause one is a #oman, it does not necessarily follo# that--. 3hen anyone is in a subordinate $osition, ,r. 9rogstad, they should really be careful to avoid offending anyone #ho--#ho-9rogstad. 3ho has influence/ Nora. Exactly. 9rogstad [changing his tone.. ,rs elmer, you #ill be so good as to use your influence on my behalf. Nora. 3hat/ 3hat do you mean/ 9rogstad. 0ou #ill be so kind as to see that % am allo#ed to kee$ my subordinate $osition in the "ank. Nora. 3hat do you mean by that/ 3ho $ro$oses to take your $ost a#ay from you/ 9rogstad. )h, there is no necessity to kee$ u$ the $retence of ignorance. % can 2uite understand that your friend is not very anxious to ex$ose herself to the chance of rubbing shoulders #ith me& and % 2uite understand, too, #hom % have to thank for being turned off. Nora. "ut % assure you-9rogstad. 7ery likely& but, to come to the $oint, the time has come #hen % should advise you to use your influence to $revent that. Nora. "ut, ,r. 9rogstad, % have no influence. 9rogstad. aven!t you/ % thought you said yourself 'ust no#-Nora. Naturally % did not mean you to $ut that construction on it. %1 3hat should make you think % have any influence of that kind #ith my husband/ 9rogstad. )h, % have kno#n your husband from our student days. % don!t su$$ose he is any more unassailable than other husbands. Nora. %f you s$eak slightingly of my husband, % shall turn you out of the house. 9rogstad. 0ou are bold, ,rs elmer.
Nora. % am not afraid of you any longer. As soon as the Ne# 0ear comes, % shall in a very short time be free of the #hole thing. 9rogstad [controlling himself.. 6isten to me, ,rs elmer. %f necessary, % am $re$ared to fight for my small $ost in the "ank as if % #ere fighting for my life. Nora. So it seems. 9rogstad. %t is not only for the sake of the money& indeed, that #eighs least #ith me in the matter. (here is another reason--#ell, % may as #ell tell you. ,y $osition is this. % daresay you kno#, like everybody else, that once, many years ago, % #as guilty of an indiscretion. Nora. % think % have heard something of the kind. 9rogstad. (he matter never came into court& but every #ay seemed to be closed to me after that. So % took to the business that you kno# of. % had to do something& and, honestly, % don!t think %!ve been one of the #orst. "ut no# % must cut myself free from all that. ,y sons are gro#ing u$& for their sake % must try and #in back as much res$ect as % can in the to#n. (his $ost in the "ank #as like the first ste$ u$ for me--and no# your husband is going to kick me do#nstairs again into the mud. Nora. "ut you must believe me, ,r. 9rogstad& it is not in my $o#er to hel$ you at all. 9rogstad. (hen it is because you haven!t the #ill& but % have means to com$el you. Nora. 0ou don!t mean that you #ill tell my husband that % o#e you money/ 9rogstad. m1--su$$ose % #ere to tell him/ Nora. %t #ould be $erfectly infamous of you. [Sobbing.. (o think of his learning my secret, #hich has been my 'oy and $ride, in such an ugly, clumsy #ay--that he should learn it from you1 And it #ould $ut me in a horribly disagreeable $osition-9rogstad. )nly disagreeable/ Nora [im$etuously.. 3ell, do it, then1--and it #ill be the #orse for you. ,y husband #ill see for himself #hat a blackguard you are, and you certainly #on!t kee$ your $ost then. 9rogstad. % asked you if it #as only a disagreeable scene at home that you #ere afraid of/ Nora. %f my husband does get to kno# of it, of course he #ill at once $ay you #hat is still o#ing, and #e shall have nothing more to do #ith you. 9rogstad [coming a ste$ nearer.. 6isten to me, ,rs elmer. Either you have a very bad memory or you kno# very little of business. % shall be obliged to remind you of a fe# details. Nora. 3hat do you mean/ 9rogstad. 3hen your husband #as ill, you came to me to borro# t#o hundred and fifty $ounds. Nora. % didn!t kno# anyone else to go to. 9rogstad. % $romised to get you that amount-Nora. 0es, and you did so. 9rogstad. % $romised to get you that amount, on certain conditions. 0our mind #as so taken u$ #ith your husband!s illness, and you #ere so anxious to get the money for your 'ourney, that you seem to have $aid no attention to the conditions of our bargain. (herefore it #ill not be amiss if % remind you of them. No#, % $romised to get the money on the security of a bond #hich % dre#
u$. Nora. 0es, and #hich % signed. 9rogstad. 5ood. "ut belo# your signature there #ere a fe# lines constituting your father a surety for the money& those lines your father should have signed. Nora. Should/ e did sign them. 9rogstad. % had left the date blank& that is to say, your father should himself have inserted the date on #hich he signed the $a$er. -o you remember that/ Nora. 0es, % think % remember-9rogstad. (hen % gave you the bond to send by $ost to your father. %s that not so/ Nora. 0es. 9rogstad. And you naturally did so at once, because five or six days after#ards you brought me the bond #ith your father!s signature. And then % gave you the money. Nora. 3ell, haven!t % been $aying it off regularly/ 9rogstad. 8airly so, yes. "ut--to come back to the matter in hand--that must have been a very trying time for you, ,rs elmer/ Nora. %t #as, indeed. 9rogstad. 0our father #as very ill, #asn!t he/ Nora. e #as very near his end. 9rogstad. And died soon after#ards/ Nora. 0es. 9rogstad. (ell me, ,rs elmer, can you by any chance remember #hat day your father died/-on #hat day of the month, % mean. Nora. +a$a died on the ?@th of Se$tember. 9rogstad. (hat is correct& % have ascertained it for myself. And, as that is so, there is a discre$ancy [taking a $a$er from his $ocket. #hich % cannot account for. Nora. 3hat discre$ancy/ % don!t kno#-9rogstad. (he discre$ancy consists, ,rs elmer, in the fact that your father signed this bond three days after his death. Nora. 3hat do you mean/ % don!t understand-9rogstad. 0our father died on the ?@th of Se$tember. "ut, look here& your father has dated his signature the ?nd of )ctober. %t is a discre$ancy, isn!t it/ [N)*A is silent.. Can you ex$lain it to me/ [N)*A is still silent.. %t is a remarkable thing, too, that the #ords :?nd of )ctober,: as #ell as the year, are not #ritten in your father!s hand#riting but in one that % think % kno#. 3ell, of course it can be ex$lained& your father may have forgotten to date his signature, and someone else may have dated it ha$ha;ard before they kne# of his death. (here is no harm in that. %t all de$ends on the signature of the name& and that is genuine, % su$$ose, ,rs elmer/ %t #as your father himself #ho signed his name here/ Nora [after a short $ause, thro#s her head u$ and looks defiantly at him.. No, it #as not. %t #as %
that #rote $a$a!s name. 9rogstad. Are you a#are that is a dangerous confession/ Nora. %n #hat #ay/ 0ou shall have your money soon. 9rogstad. 6et me ask you a 2uestion& #hy did you not send the $a$er to your father/ Nora. %t #as im$ossible& $a$a #as so ill. %f % had asked him for his signature, % should have had to tell him #hat the money #as to be used for& and #hen he #as so ill himself % couldn!t tell him that my husband!s life #as in danger--it #as im$ossible. 9rogstad. %t #ould have been better for you if you had given u$ your tri$ abroad. Nora. No, that #as im$ossible. (hat tri$ #as to save my husband!s life& % couldn!t give that u$. 9rogstad. "ut did it never occur to you that you #ere committing a fraud on me/ Nora. % couldn!t take that into account& % didn!t trouble myself about you at all. % couldn!t bear you, because you $ut so many heartless difficulties in my #ay, although you kne# #hat a dangerous condition my husband #as in. 9rogstad. ,rs elmer, you evidently do not realise clearly #hat it is that you have been guilty of. "ut % can assure you that my one false ste$, #hich lost me all my re$utation, #as nothing more or nothing #orse than #hat you have done. Nora. 0ou/ -o you ask me to believe that you #ere brave enough to run a risk to save your #ife!s life/ 9rogstad. (he la# cares nothing about motives. Nora. (hen it must be a very foolish la#. 9rogstad. 8oolish or not, it is the la# by #hich you #ill be 'udged, if % $roduce this $a$er in court. Nora. % don!t believe it. %s a daughter not to be allo#ed to s$are her dying father anxiety and care/ %s a #ife not to be allo#ed to save her husband!s life/ % don!t kno# much about la#& but % am certain that there must be la#s $ermitting such things as that. ave you no kno#ledge of such la#s--you #ho are a la#yer/ 0ou must be a very $oor la#yer, ,r. 9rogstad. 9rogstad. ,aybe. "ut matters of business--such business as you and % have had together--do you think % don!t understand that/ 7ery #ell. -o as you $lease. "ut let me tell you this--if % lose my $osition a second time, you shall lose yours #ith me. [ e bo#s, and goes out through the hall.. Nora [a$$ears buried in thought for a short time, then tosses her head.. Nonsense1 (rying to frighten me like that1--% am not so silly as he thinks. ["egins to busy herself $utting the children!s things in order.. And yet--/ No, it!s im$ossible1 % did it for love!s sake. (he Children [in the door#ay on the left.. ,other, the stranger man has gone out through the gate. Nora. 0es, dears, % kno#. "ut, don!t tell anyone about the stranger man. -o you hear/ Not even $a$a. Children. No, mother& but #ill you come and $lay again/ Nora. No, no,--not no#. Children. "ut, mother, you $romised us.
Nora. 0es, but % can!t no#. *un a#ay in& % have such a lot to do. *un a#ay in, my s#eet little darlings. [She gets them into the room by degrees and shuts the door on them& then sits do#n on the sofa, takes u$ a $iece of needle#ork and se#s a fe# stitches, but soon sto$s.. No1 [(hro#s do#n the #ork, gets u$, goes to the hall door and calls out.. elen1 bring the (ree in. [5oes to the table on the left, o$ens a dra#er, and sto$s again.. No, no1 it is 2uite im$ossible1 ,aid [coming in #ith the (ree.. 3here shall % $ut it, ma!am/ Nora. ere, in the middle of the floor. ,aid. Shall % get you anything else/ Nora. No, thank you. % have all % #ant. [Exit ,A%-.. Nora [begins dressing the tree.. A candle here-and flo#ers here--(he horrible man1 %t!s all nonsense--there!s nothing #rong. (he tree shall be s$lendid1 % #ill do everything % can think of to $lease you, (orvald1--% #ill sing for you, dance for you--[ E6,E* comes in #ith some $a$ers under his arm.. )h1 are you back already/ elmer. 0es. as anyone been here/ Nora. ere/ No. elmer. (hat is strange. % sa# 9rogstad going out of the gate. Nora. -id you/ )h yes, % forgot, 9rogstad #as here for a moment. elmer. Nora, % can see from your manner that he has been here begging you to say a good #ord for him. Nora. 0es. elmer. And you #ere to a$$ear to do it of your o#n accord& you #ere to conceal from me the fact of his having been here& didn!t he beg that of you too/ Nora. 0es, (orvald, but-elmer. Nora, Nora, and you #ould be a $arty to that sort of thing/ (o have any talk #ith a man like that, and give him any sort of $romise/ And to tell me a lie into the bargain/ Nora. A lie--/ elmer. -idn!t you tell me no one had been here/ [Shakes his finger at her.. ,y little songbird must never do that again. A songbird must have a clean beak to chir$ #ith--no false notes1 [+uts his arm round her #aist.. (hat is so, isn!t it/ 0es, % am sure it is. [6ets her go.. 3e #ill say no more about it. [Sits do#n by the stove.. o# #arm and snug it is here1 [(urns over his $a$ers.. Nora [after a short $ause, during #hich she busies herself #ith the Christmas (ree.. (orvald1 elmer. 0es. Nora. % am looking for#ard tremendously to the fancy-dress ball at the Stenborgs! the day after tomorro#. elmer. And % am tremendously curious to see #hat you are going to sur$rise me #ith. Nora. %t #as very silly of me to #ant to do that. elmer. 3hat do you mean/ Nora. % can!t hit u$on anything that #ill do& everything % think of seems so silly and insignificant.
elmer. -oes my little Nora ackno#ledge that at last/ Nora [standing behind his chair #ith her arms on the back of it.. Are you very busy, (orvald/ elmer. 3ell-Nora. 3hat are all those $a$ers/ elmer. "ank business. Nora. Already/ elmer. % have got authority from the retiring manager to undertake the necessary changes in the staff and in the rearrangement of the #ork& and % must make use of the Christmas #eek for that, so as to have everything in order for the ne# year. Nora. (hen that #as #hy this $oor 9rogstad-elmer. m1 Nora [leans against the back of his chair and strokes his hair.. %f you hadn!t been so busy % should have asked you a tremendously big favour, (orvald. elmer. 3hat is that/ (ell me. Nora. (here is no one has such good taste as you. And % do so #ant to look nice at the fancydress ball. (orvald, couldn!t you take me in hand and decide #hat % shall go as, and #hat sort of a dress % shall #ear/ elmer. Aha1 so my obstinate little #oman is obliged to get someone to come to her rescue/ Nora. 0es, (orvald, % can!t get along a bit #ithout your hel$. elmer. 7ery #ell, % #ill think it over, #e shall manage to hit u$on something. Nora. (hat is nice of you. [5oes to the Christmas (ree. A short $ause.. o# $retty the red flo#ers look--. "ut, tell me, #as it really something very bad that this 9rogstad #as guilty of/ elmer. e forged someone!s name. ave you any idea #hat that means/ Nora. %sn!t it $ossible that he #as driven to do it by necessity/ elmer. 0es& or, as in so many cases, by im$rudence. % am not so heartless as to condemn a man altogether because of a single false ste$ of that kind. Nora. No, you #ouldn!t, #ould you, (orvald/ elmer. ,any a man has been able to retrieve his character, if he has o$enly confessed his fault and taken his $unishment. Nora. +unishment--/ elmer. "ut 9rogstad did nothing of that sort& he got himself out of it by a cunning trick, and that is #hy he has gone under altogether. Nora. "ut do you think it #ould--/ elmer. 4ust think ho# a guilty man like that has to lie and $lay the hy$ocrite #ith every one, ho# he has to #ear a mask in the $resence of those near and dear to him, even before his o#n #ife and children. And about the children--that is the most terrible $art of it all, Nora. Nora. o#/
elmer. "ecause such an atmos$here of lies infects and $oisons the #hole life of a home. Each breath the children take in such a house is full of the germs of evil. Nora [coming nearer him.. Are you sure of that/ elmer. ,y dear, % have often seen it in the course of my life as a la#yer. Almost everyone #ho has gone to the bad early in life has had a deceitful mother. Nora. 3hy do you only say--mother/ elmer. %t seems most commonly to be the mother!s influence, though naturally a bad father!s #ould have the same result. Every la#yer is familiar #ith the fact. (his 9rogstad, no#, has been $ersistently $oisoning his o#n children #ith lies and dissimulation& that is #hy % say he has lost all moral character. [ olds out his hands to her.. (hat is #hy my s#eet little Nora must $romise me not to $lead his cause. 5ive me your hand on it. Come, come, #hat is this/ 5ive me your hand. (here no#, that!s settled. % assure you it #ould be 2uite im$ossible for me to #ork #ith him& % literally feel $hysically ill #hen % am in the com$any of such $eo$le. Nora [takes her hand out of his and goes to the o$$osite side of the Christmas (ree.. o# hot it is in here& and % have such a lot to do. elmer [getting u$ and $utting his $a$ers in order.. 0es, and % must try and read through some of these before dinner& and % must think about your costume, too. And it is 'ust $ossible % may have something ready in gold $a$er to hang u$ on the (ree. [+uts his hand on her head.. ,y $recious little singing-bird1 [ e goes into his room and shuts the door after him.. Nora [after a $ause, #his$ers.. No, no--it isn!t true. %t!s im$ossible& it must be im$ossible. [(he N>*SE o$ens the door on the left.. Nurse. (he little ones are begging so hard to be allo#ed to come in to mamma. Nora. No, no, no1 -on!t let them come in to me1 0ou stay #ith them, Anne. Nurse. 7ery #ell, ma!am. [Shuts the door.. Nora [$ale #ith terror.. -e$rave my little children/ +oison my home/ [A short $ause. (hen she tosses her head.. %t!s not true. %t can!t $ossibly be true.
ACT II [THE SAME SCENE.--THE Christmas Tree is in the corner by the piano, stripped of its ornaments and with b rnt-down cand!e-ends on its dishe"e!!ed branches. N#$A%S c!oa& and hat are !yin' on the sofa. She is a!one in the room, wa!&in' abo t neasi!y. She stops by the sofa and ta&es p her c!oa&.( Nora [drops her c!oa&(. Someone is comin' now) [*oes to the door and !istens.( No-it is no one. #f co rse, no one wi!! come today, Christmas +ay--nor tomorrow either. , t, perhaps--[opens the door and !oo&s o t(. No, nothin' in the !etterbo-. it is / ite empty. [Comes forward.( 0hat r bbish) of co rse he can%t be in earnest abo t it. S ch a thin' co !dn%t happen. it is impossib!e--I ha"e three !itt!e chi!dren. [Enter the N1$SE from the room on the !eft, carryin' a bi' cardboard bo-.( N rse. At !ast I ha"e fo nd the bo- with the fancy dress. Nora. Than&s. p t it on the tab!e. N rse [doin' so(. , t it is "ery m ch in want of mendin'.
Nora. I sho !d !i&e to tear it into a h ndred tho sand pieces. N rse. 0hat an idea) It can easi!y be p t in order--2 st a !itt!e patience. Nora. 3es, I wi!! 'o and 'et Mrs 4inde to come and he!p me with it. N rse. 0hat, o t a'ain5 In this horrib!e weather5 3o wi!! catch co!d, ma%am, and ma&e yo rse!f i!!. Nora. 0e!!, worse than that mi'ht happen. How are the chi!dren5 N rse. The poor !itt!e so !s are p!ayin' with their Christmas presents, b t-Nora. +o they as& m ch for me5 N rse. 3o see, they are so acc stomed to ha"e their mamma with them. Nora. 3es, b t, n rse, I sha!! not be ab!e to be so m ch with them now as I was before. N rse. #h we!!, yo n' chi!dren easi!y 'et acc stomed to anythin'. Nora. +o yo thin& so5 +o yo thin& they wo !d for'et their mother if she went away a!to'ether5 N rse. *ood hea"ens)--went away a!to'ether5 Nora. N rse, I want yo to te!! me somethin' I ha"e often wondered abo t--how co !d yo ha"e the heart to p t yo r own chi!d o t amon' stran'ers5 N rse. I was ob!i'ed to, if I wanted to be !itt!e Nora%s n rse. Nora. 3es, b t how co !d yo be wi!!in' to do it5 N rse. 0hat, when I was 'oin' to 'et s ch a 'ood p!ace by it5 A poor 'ir! who has 'ot into tro b!e sho !d be '!ad to. ,esides, that wic&ed man didn%t do a sin'!e thin' for me. Nora. , t I s ppose yo r da 'hter has / ite for'otten yo . N rse. No, indeed she hasn%t. She wrote to me when she was confirmed, and when she was married. Nora [p ttin' her arms ro nd her nec&(. +ear o!d Anne, yo were a 'ood mother to me when I was !itt!e. N rse. 4itt!e Nora, poor dear, had no other mother b t me. Nora. And if my !itt!e ones had no other mother, I am s re yo wo !d--0hat nonsense I am ta!&in') [#pens the bo-.( *o in to them. Now I m st--. 3o wi!! see tomorrow how charmin' I sha!! !oo&. N rse. I am s re there wi!! be no one at the ba!! so charmin' as yo , ma%am. [*oes into the room on the !eft.( Nora [be'ins to npac& the bo-, b t soon p shes it away from her(. If on!y I dared 'o o t. If on!y no one wo !d come. If on!y I co !d be s re nothin' wo !d happen here in the meantime. St ff and nonsense) No one wi!! come. #n!y I m stn%t thin& abo t it. I wi!! br sh my m ff. 0hat !o"e!y, !o"e!y '!o"es) # t of my tho 'hts, o t of my tho 'hts) #ne, two, three, fo r, fi"e, si--- [Screams.( Ah) there is someone comin'--. [Ma&es a mo"ement towards the door, b t stands irreso! te.( [Enter Mrs 4inde from the ha!!, where she has ta&en off her c!oa& and hat.( Nora. #h, it%s yo , Christine. There is no one e!se o t there, is there5 How 'ood of
yo to come) Mrs 4inde. I heard yo were p as&in' for me. Nora. 3es, I was passin' by. As a matter of fact, it is somethin' yo co !d he!p me with. 4et s sit down here on the sofa. 4oo& here. Tomorrow e"enin' there is to be a fancy-dress ba!! at the Stenbor's%, who !i"e abo"e s. and Tor"a!d wants me to 'o as a Neapo!itan fisher-'ir!, and dance the Tarante!!a that I !earned at Capri. Mrs 4inde. I see. yo are 'oin' to &eep p the character. Nora. 3es, Tor"a!d wants me to. 4oo&, here is the dress. Tor"a!d had it made for me there, b t now it is a!! so torn, and I ha"en%t any idea-Mrs 4inde. 0e wi!! easi!y p t that ri'ht. It is on!y some of the trimmin' come nsewn here and there. Need!e and thread5 Now then, that%s a!! we want. Nora. It is nice of yo . Mrs 4inde [sewin'(. So yo are 'oin' to be dressed p tomorrow Nora. I wi!! te!! yo what--I sha!! come in for a moment and see yo in yo r fine feathers. , t I ha"e comp!ete!y for'otten to than& yo for a de!i'htf ! e"enin' yesterday. Nora ['ets p, and crosses the sta'e(. 0e!!, I don%t thin& yesterday was as p!easant as s a!. 3o o 'ht to ha"e come to town a !itt!e ear!ier, Christine. Certain!y Tor"a!d does nderstand how to ma&e a ho se dainty and attracti"e. Mrs 4inde. And so do yo , it seems to me. yo are not yo r father%s da 'hter for nothin'. , t te!! me, is +octor $an& a!ways as depressed as he was yesterday5 Nora. No. yesterday it was "ery noticeab!e. I m st te!! yo that he s ffers from a "ery dan'ero s disease. He has cons mption of the spine, poor creat re. His father was a horrib!e man who committed a!! sorts of e-cesses. and that is why his son was sic&!y from chi!dhood, do yo nderstand5 Mrs 4inde [droppin' her sewin'(. , t, my dearest Nora, how do yo &now anythin' abo t s ch thin's5 Nora [wa!&in' abo t(. 6ooh) 0hen yo ha"e three chi!dren, yo 'et "isits now and then from--from married women, who &now somethin' of medica! matters, and they ta!& abo t one thin' and another. Mrs 4inde ['oes on sewin'. A short si!ence(. +oes +octor $an& come here e"eryday5 Nora. E"eryday re' !ar!y. He is Tor"a!d%s most intimate friend, and a 'reat friend of mine too. He is 2 st !i&e one of the fami!y. Mrs 4inde. , t te!! me this--is he perfect!y sincere5 I mean, isn%t he the &ind of man that is "ery an-io s to ma&e himse!f a'reeab!e5 Nora. Not in the !east. 0hat ma&es yo thin& that5 Mrs 4inde. 0hen yo introd ced him to me yesterday, he dec!ared he had often heard my name mentioned in this ho se. b t afterwards I noticed that yo r h sband hadn%t the s!i'htest idea who I was. So how co !d +octor $an&--5 Nora. That is / ite ri'ht, Christine. Tor"a!d is so abs rd!y fond of me that he wants me abso! te!y to himse!f, as he says. At first he sed to seem a!most 2ea!o s if I mentioned any of the dear fo!& at home, so nat ra!!y I 'a"e p doin' so. , t I often ta!& abo t s ch thin's with +octor $an&, beca se he !i&es hearin' abo t them. Mrs 4inde. 4isten to me, Nora. 3o are sti!! "ery !i&e a chi!d in many thin's, and I am
o!der than yo in many ways and ha"e a !itt!e more e-perience. 4et me te!! yo this--yo o 'ht to ma&e an end of it with +octor $an&. Nora. 0hat o 'ht I to ma&e an end of5 Mrs 4inde. #f two thin's, I thin&. 3esterday yo ta!&ed some nonsense abo t a rich admirer who was to !ea"e yo money-Nora. An admirer who doesn%t e-ist, nfort nate!y) , t what then5 Mrs 4inde. Is +octor $an& a man of means5 Nora. 3es, he is. Mrs 4inde. And has no one to pro"ide for5 Nora. No, no one. b t-Mrs 4inde. And comes here e"eryday5 Nora. 3es, I to!d yo so. Mrs 4inde. , t how can this we!!-bred man be so tact!ess5 Nora. I don%t nderstand yo at a!!. Mrs 4inde. +on%t pre"aricate, Nora. +o yo s ppose I don%t ' ess who !ent yo the two h ndred and fifty po nds5 Nora. Are yo o t of yo r senses5 How can yo thin& of s ch a thin') A friend of o rs, who comes here e"eryday) +o yo rea!ise what a horrib!y painf ! position that wo !d be5 Mrs 4inde. Then it rea!!y isn%t he5 Nora. No, certain!y not. It wo !d ne"er ha"e entered into my head for a moment. ,esides, he had no money to !end then. he came into his money afterwards. Mrs 4inde. 0e!!, I thin& that was ! c&y for yo , my dear Nora. Nora. No, it wo !d ne"er ha"e come into my head to as& +octor $an&. A!tho 'h I am / ite s re that if I had as&ed him-Mrs 4inde. , t of co rse yo won%t. Nora. #f co rse not. I ha"e no reason to thin& it co !d possib!y be necessary. , t I am / ite s re that if I to!d +octor $an&-Mrs 4inde. ,ehind yo r h sband%s bac&5 Nora. I m st ma&e an end of it with the other one, and that wi!! be behind his bac& too. I m st ma&e an end of it with him. Mrs 4inde. 3es, that is what I to!d yo yesterday, b t-Nora [wa!&in' p and down(. A man can p t a thin' !i&e that strai'ht m ch easier than a woman-Mrs 4inde. #ne%s h sband, yes. Nora. Nonsense) [Standin' sti!!.( 0hen yo pay off a debt yo 'et yo r bond bac&, don%t yo 5 Mrs 4inde. 3es, as a matter of co rse. Nora. And can tear it into a h ndred tho sand pieces, and b rn it p--the nasty dirty paper)
Mrs 4inde [!oo&s hard at her, !ays down her sewin' and 'ets p s!ow!y(. Nora, yo are concea!in' somethin' from me. Nora. +o I !oo& as if I were5 Mrs 4inde. Somethin' has happened to yo since yesterday mornin'. Nora, what is it5 Nora ['oin' nearer to her(. Christine) [4istens.( H sh) there%s Tor"a!d come home. +o yo mind 'oin' in to the chi!dren for the present5 Tor"a!d can%t bear to see dressma&in' 'oin' on. 4et Anne he!p yo . Mrs 4inde ['atherin' some of the thin's to'ether(. Certain!y--b t I am not 'oin' away from here nti! we ha"e had it o t with one another. [She 'oes into the room on the !eft, as HE4ME$ comes in from the ha!!.( Nora ['oin' p to HE4ME$(. I ha"e wanted yo so m ch, Tor"a!d dear. He!mer. 0as that the dressma&er5 Nora. No, it was Christine. she is he!pin' me to p t my dress in order. 3o wi!! see I sha!! !oo& / ite smart. He!mer. 0asn%t that a happy tho 'ht of mine, now5 Nora. Sp!endid) , t don%t yo thin& it is nice of me, too, to do as yo wish5 He!mer. Nice5--beca se yo do as yo r h sband wishes5 0e!!, we!!, yo !itt!e ro' e, I am s re yo did not mean it in that way. , t I am not 'oin' to dist rb yo . yo wi!! want to be tryin' on yo r dress, I e-pect. Nora. I s ppose yo are 'oin' to wor&. He!mer. 3es. [Shows her a b nd!e of papers.( 4oo& at that. I ha"e 2 st been into the ban&. [T rns to 'o into his room.( Nora. Tor"a!d. He!mer. 3es. Nora. If yo r !itt!e s/ irre! were to as& yo for somethin' "ery, "ery pretti!y--5 He!mer. 0hat then5 Nora. 0o !d yo do it5 He!mer. I sho !d !i&e to hear what it is, first. Nora. 3o r s/ irre! wo !d r n abo t and do a!! her tric&s if yo wo !d be nice, and do what she wants. He!mer. Spea& p!ain!y. Nora. 3o r s&y!ar& wo !d chirp abo t in e"ery room, with her son' risin' and fa!!in'-He!mer. 0e!!, my s&y!ar& does that anyhow. Nora. I wo !d p!ay the fairy and dance for yo in the moon!i'ht, Tor"a!d. He!mer. Nora--yo s re!y don%t mean that re/ est yo made to me this mornin'5 Nora ['oin' near him(. 3es, Tor"a!d, I be' yo so earnest!y-He!mer. Ha"e yo rea!!y the co ra'e to open p that / estion a'ain5 Nora. 3es, dear, yo m st do as I as&. yo m st !et 7ro'stad &eep his post in the ban&.
He!mer. My dear Nora, it is his post that I ha"e arran'ed Mrs 4inde sha!! ha"e. Nora. 3es, yo ha"e been awf !!y &ind abo t that. b t yo co !d 2 st as we!! dismiss some other c!er& instead of 7ro'stad. He!mer. This is simp!y incredib!e obstinacy) ,eca se yo chose to 'i"e him a tho 'ht!ess promise that yo wo !d spea& for him, I am e-pected to-Nora. That isn%t the reason, Tor"a!d. It is for yo r own sa&e. This fe!!ow writes in the most sc rri!o s newspapers. yo ha"e to!d me so yo rse!f. He can do yo an nspea&ab!e amo nt of harm. I am fri'htened to death of him-He!mer. Ah, I nderstand. it is reco!!ections of the past that scare yo . Nora. 0hat do yo mean5 He!mer. Nat ra!!y yo are thin&in' of yo r father. Nora. 3es--yes, of co rse. 8 st reca!! to yo r mind what these ma!icio s creat res wrote in the papers abo t papa, and how horrib!y they s!andered him. I be!ie"e they wo !d ha"e proc red his dismissa! if the +epartment had not sent yo o"er to in/ ire into it, and if yo had not been so &ind!y disposed and he!pf ! to him. He!mer. My !itt!e Nora, there is an important difference between yo r father and me. 3o r father%s rep tation as a p b!ic officia! was not abo"e s spicion. Mine is, and I hope it wi!! contin e to be so, as !on' as I ho!d my office. Nora. 3o ne"er can te!! what mischief these men may contri"e. 0e o 'ht to be so we!! off, so sn ' and happy here in o r peacef ! home, and ha"e no cares--yo and I and the chi!dren, Tor"a!d) That is why I be' yo so earnest!y-He!mer. And it is 2 st by intercedin' for him that yo ma&e it impossib!e for me to &eep him. It is a!ready &nown at the ,an& that I mean to dismiss 7ro'stad. Is it to 'et abo t now that the new mana'er has chan'ed his mind at his wife%s biddin'-Nora. And what if it did5 He!mer. #f co rse)--if on!y this obstinate !itt!e person can 'et her way) +o yo s ppose I am 'oin' to ma&e myse!f ridic !o s before my who!e staff, to !et peop!e thin& that I am a man to be swayed by a!! sorts of o tside inf! ence5 I sho !d "ery soon fee! the conse/ ences of it, I can te!! yo ) And besides, there is one thin' that ma&es it / ite impossib!e for me to ha"e 7ro'stad in the ,an& as !on' as I am mana'er. Nora. 0hate"er is that5 He!mer. His mora! fai!in's I mi'ht perhaps ha"e o"er!oo&ed, if necessary-Nora. 3es, yo co !d--co !dn%t yo 5 He!mer. And I hear he is a 'ood wor&er, too. , t I &new him when we were boys. It was one of those rash friendships that so often pro"e an inc b s in after!ife. I may as we!! te!! yo p!ain!y, we were once on "ery intimate terms with one another. , t this tact!ess fe!!ow !ays no restraint on himse!f when other peop!e are present. #n the contrary, he thin&s it 'i"es him the ri'ht to adopt a fami!iar tone with me, and e"ery min te it is 9I say, He!mer, o!d fe!!ow)9 and that sort of thin'. I ass re yo it is e-treme!y painf ! for me. He wo !d ma&e my position in the ,an& into!erab!e. Nora. Tor"a!d, I don%t be!ie"e yo mean that. He!mer. +on%t yo 5 0hy not5
Nora. ,eca se it is s ch a narrow-minded way of !oo&in' at thin's. He!mer. 0hat are yo sayin'5 Narrow-minded5 +o yo thin& I am narrow-minded5 Nora. No, 2 st the opposite, dear--and it is e-act!y for that reason. He!mer. It%s the same thin'. 3o say my point of "iew is narrow-minded, so I m st be so too. Narrow-minded) :ery we!!--I m st p t an end to this. [*oes to the ha!! door and ca!!s.( He!en) Nora. 0hat are yo 'oin' to do5 He!mer [!oo&in' amon' his papers(. Sett!e it. [Enter MAI+.( 4oo& here. ta&e this !etter and 'o downstairs with it at once. ;ind a messen'er and te!! him to de!i"er it, and be / ic&. The address is on it, and here is the money. Maid. :ery we!!, sir. [E-it with the !etter.( He!mer [p ttin' his papers to'ether(. Now then, !itt!e Miss #bstinate. Nora [breath!ess!y(. Tor"a!d--what was that !etter5 He!mer. 7ro'stad%s dismissa!. Nora. Ca!! her bac&, Tor"a!d) There is sti!! time. #h Tor"a!d, ca!! her bac&) +o it for my sa&e--for yo r own sa&e--for the chi!dren%s sa&e) +o yo hear me, Tor"a!d5 Ca!! her bac&) 3o don%t &now what that !etter can brin' pon s. He!mer. It%s too !ate. Nora. 3es, it%s too !ate. He!mer. My dear Nora, I can for'i"e the an-iety yo are in, a!tho 'h rea!!y it is an ins !t to me. It is, indeed. Isn%t it an ins !t to thin& that I sho !d be afraid of a star"in' / i!!-dri"er%s "en'eance5 , t I for'i"e yo ne"erthe!ess, beca se it is s ch e!o/ ent witness to yo r 'reat !o"e for me. [Ta&es her in his arms.( And that is as it sho !d be, my own dar!in' Nora. Come what wi!!, yo may be s re I sha!! ha"e both co ra'e and stren'th if they be needed. 3o wi!! see I am man eno 'h to ta&e e"erythin' pon myse!f. Nora [in a horror-stric&en "oice(. 0hat do yo mean by that5 He!mer. E"erythin', I say-Nora [reco"erin' herse!f(. 3o wi!! ne"er ha"e to do that. He!mer. That%s ri'ht. 0e!!, we wi!! share it, Nora, as man and wife sho !d. That is how it sha!! be. [Caressin' her.( Are yo content now5 There) There)--not these fri'htened do"e%s eyes) The who!e thin' is on!y the wi!dest fancy)--Now, yo m st 'o and p!ay thro 'h the Tarante!!a and practise with yo r tambo rine. I sha!! 'o into the inner office and sh t the door, and I sha!! hear nothin'. yo can ma&e as m ch noise as yo p!ease. [T rns bac& at the door.( And when $an& comes, te!! him where he wi!! find me. [Nods to her, ta&es his papers and 'oes into his room, and sh ts the door after him.( Nora [bewi!dered with an-iety, stands as if rooted to the spot, and whispers(. He was capab!e of doin' it. He wi!! do it. He wi!! do it in spite of e"erythin'.--No, not that) Ne"er, ne"er) Anythin' rather than that) #h, for some he!p, some way o t of it) [The door-be!! rin's.( +octor $an&) Anythin' rather than that--anythin', whate"er it is) [She p ts her hands o"er her face, p !!s herse!f to'ether, 'oes to the door and opens it. $AN7 is standin' witho t, han'in' p his coat. + rin' the fo!!owin'
dia!o' e it be'ins to 'row dar&.( Nora. *ood day, +octor $an&. I &new yo r rin'. , t yo m stn%t 'o in to Tor"a!d now. I thin& he is b sy with somethin'. $an&. And yo 5 Nora [brin's him in and sh ts the door after him(. #h, yo &now "ery we!! I a!ways ha"e time for yo . $an&. Than& yo . I sha!! ma&e se of as m ch of it as I can. Nora. 0hat do yo mean by that5 As m ch of it as yo can5 $an&. 0e!!, does that a!arm yo 5 Nora. It was s ch a stran'e way of p ttin' it. Is anythin' !i&e!y to happen5 $an&. Nothin' b t what I ha"e !on' been prepared for. , t I certain!y didn%t e-pect it to happen so soon. Nora ['rippin' him by the arm(. 0hat ha"e yo fo nd o t5 +octor $an&, yo m st te!! me. $an& [sittin' down by the sto"e(. It is a!! p with me. And it can%t be he!ped. Nora [with a si'h of re!ief(. Is it abo t yo rse!f5 $an&. 0ho e!se5 It is no se !yin' to one%s se!f. I am the most wretched of a!! my patients, Mrs He!mer. 4ate!y I ha"e been ta&in' stoc& of my interna! economy. ,an&r pt) 6robab!y within a month I sha!! !ie rottin' in the ch rchyard. Nora. 0hat an '!y thin' to say) $an&. The thin' itse!f is c rsed!y '!y, and the worst of it is that I sha!! ha"e to face so m ch more that is '!y before that. I sha!! on!y ma&e one more e-amination of myse!f. when I ha"e done that, I sha!! &now pretty certain!y when it wi!! be that the horrors of disso! tion wi!! be'in. There is somethin' I want to te!! yo . He!mer%s refined nat re 'i"es him an ncon/ erab!e dis' st at e"erythin' that is '!y. I won%t ha"e him in my sic&-room. Nora. #h, b t, +octor $an&-$an&. I won%t ha"e him there. Not on any acco nt. I bar my door to him. As soon as I am / ite certain that the worst has come, I sha!! send yo my card with a b!ac& cross on it, and then yo wi!! &now that the !oathsome end has be' n. Nora. 3o are / ite abs rd today. And I wanted yo so m ch to be in a rea!!y 'ood h mo r. $an&. 0ith death sta!&in' beside me5--To ha"e to pay this pena!ty for another man%s sin5 Is there any 2 stice in that5 And in e"ery sin'!e fami!y, in one way or another, some s ch ine-orab!e retrib tion is bein' e-acted-Nora [p ttin' her hands o"er her ears(. $ bbish) +o ta!& of somethin' cheerf !. $an&. #h, it%s a mere !a 'hin' matter, the who!e thin'. My poor innocent spine has to s ffer for my father%s yo thf ! am sements. Nora [sittin' at the tab!e on the !eft(. I s ppose yo mean that he was too partia! to aspara' s and pate de foie 'ras, don%t yo 5 $an&. 3es, and to tr ff!es.
Nora. Tr ff!es, yes. And oysters too, I s ppose5 $an&. #ysters, of co rse, that 'oes witho t sayin'. Nora. And heaps of port and champa'ne. It is sad that a!! these nice thin's sho !d ta&e their re"en'e on o r bones. $an&. Especia!!y that they sho !d re"en'e themse!"es on the n! c&y bones of those who ha"e not had the satisfaction of en2oyin' them. Nora. 3es, that%s the saddest part of it a!!. $an& [with a searchin' !oo& at her(. Hm)-Nora [after a short pa se(. 0hy did yo smi!e5 $an&. No, it was yo that !a 'hed. Nora. No, it was yo that smi!ed, +octor $an&) $an& [risin'(. 3o are a 'reater rasca! than I tho 'ht. Nora. I am in a si!!y mood today. $an&. So it seems. Nora [p ttin' her hands on his sho !ders(. +ear, dear +octor $an&, death m stn%t ta&e yo away from Tor"a!d and me. $an&. It is a !oss yo wo !d easi!y reco"er from. Those who are 'one are soon for'otten. Nora [!oo&in' at him an-io s!y(. +o yo be!ie"e that5 $an&. 6eop!e form new ties, and then-Nora. 0ho wi!! form new ties5 $an&. ,oth yo and He!mer, when I am 'one. 3o yo rse!f are a!ready on the hi'h road to it, I thin&. 0hat did that Mrs 4inde want here !ast ni'ht5 Nora. #ho)--yo don%t mean to say yo are 2ea!o s of poor Christine5 $an&. 3es, I am. She wi!! be my s ccessor in this ho se. 0hen I am done for, this woman wi!!-Nora. H sh) don%t spea& so !o d. She is in that room. $an&. Today a'ain. There, yo see. Nora. She has on!y come to sew my dress for me. ,!ess my so !, how nreasonab!e yo are) [Sits down on the sofa.( ,e nice now, +octor $an&, and tomorrow yo wi!! see how bea tif !!y I sha!! dance, and yo can ima'ine I am doin' it a!! for yo --and for Tor"a!d too, of co rse. [Ta&es "ario s thin's o t of the bo-.( +octor $an&, come and sit down here, and I wi!! show yo somethin'. $an& [sittin' down(. 0hat is it5 Nora. 8 st !oo& at those) $an&. Si!& stoc&in's. Nora. ;!esh-co!o red. Aren%t they !o"e!y5 It is so dar& here now, b t tomorrow--. No, no, no) yo m st on!y !oo& at the feet. #h we!!, yo may ha"e !ea"e to !oo& at the !e's too. $an&. Hm)--
Nora. 0hy are yo !oo&in' so critica!5 +on%t yo thin& they wi!! fit me5 $an&. I ha"e no means of formin' an opinion abo t that. Nora [!oo&s at him for a moment(. ;or shame) [Hits him !i'ht!y on the ear with the stoc&in's.( That%s to p nish yo . [;o!ds them p a'ain.( $an&. And what other nice thin's am I to be a!!owed to see5 Nora. Not a sin'!e thin' more, for bein' so na 'hty. [She !oo&s amon' the thin's, h mmin' to herse!f.( $an& [after a short si!ence(. 0hen I am sittin' here, ta!&in' to yo as intimate!y as this, I cannot ima'ine for a moment what wo !d ha"e become of me if I had ne"er come into this ho se. Nora [smi!in'(. I be!ie"e yo do fee! thoro 'h!y at home with s. $an& [in a !ower "oice, !oo&in' strai'ht in front of him(. And to be ob!i'ed to !ea"e it a!!-Nora. Nonsense, yo are not 'oin' to !ea"e it. $an& [as before(. And not be ab!e to !ea"e behind one the s!i'htest to&en of one%s 'ratit de, scarce!y e"en a f!eetin' re'ret--nothin' b t an empty p!ace which the first comer can fi!! as we!! as any other. Nora. And if I as&ed yo now for a--5 No) $an&. ;or what5 Nora. ;or a bi' proof of yo r friendship-$an&. 3es, yes) Nora. I mean a tremendo s!y bi' fa"o r-$an&. 0o !d yo rea!!y ma&e me so happy for once5 Nora. Ah, b t yo don%t &now what it is yet. $an&. No--b t te!! me. Nora. I rea!!y can%t, +octor $an&. It is somethin' o t of a!! reason. it means ad"ice, and he!p, and a fa"o r-$an&. The bi''er a thin' it is the better. I can%t concei"e what it is yo mean. +o te!! me. Ha"en%t I yo r confidence5 Nora. More than anyone e!se. I &now yo are my tr est and best friend, and so I wi!! te!! yo what it is. 0e!!, +octor $an&, it is somethin' yo m st he!p me to pre"ent. 3o &now how de"oted!y, how ine-pressib!y deep!y Tor"a!d !o"es me. he wo !d ne"er for a moment hesitate to 'i"e his !ife for me. $an& [!eanin' towards her(. Nora--do yo thin& he is the on!y one--5 Nora [with a s!i'ht start(. The on!y one--5 $an&. The on!y one who wo !d '!ad!y 'i"e his !ife for yo r sa&e. Nora [sad!y(. Is that it5 $an&. I was determined yo sho !d &now it before I went away, and there wi!! ne"er be a better opport nity than this. Now yo &now it, Nora. And now yo &now, too, that yo can tr st me as yo wo !d tr st no one e!se.
Nora [rises, de!iberate!y and / iet!y(. 4et me pass. $an& [ma&es room for her to pass him, b t sits sti!!(. Nora) Nora [at the ha!! door(. He!en, brin' in the !amp. [*oes o"er to the sto"e.( +ear +octor $an&, that was rea!!y horrid of yo . $an&. To ha"e !o"ed yo as m ch as anyone e!se does5 0as that horrid5 Nora. No, b t to 'o and te!! me so. There was rea!!y no need-$an&. 0hat do yo mean5 +id yo &now--5 [MAI+ enters with !amp, p ts it down on the tab!e, and 'oes o t.( Nora--Mrs He!mer--te!! me, had yo any idea of this5 Nora. #h, how do I &now whether I had or whether I hadn%t5 I rea!!y can%t te!! yo --To thin& yo co !d be so c! msy, +octor $an&) 0e were 'ettin' on so nice!y. $an&. 0e!!, at a!! e"ents yo &now now that yo can command me, body and so !. So won%t yo spea& o t5 Nora [!oo&in' at him(. After what happened5 $an&. I be' yo to !et me &now what it is. Nora. I can%t te!! yo anythin' now. $an&. 3es, yes. 3o m stn%t p nish me in that way. 4et me ha"e permission to do for yo whate"er a man may do. Nora. 3o can do nothin' for me now. ,esides, I rea!!y don%t need any he!p at a!!. 3o wi!! find that the who!e thin' is mere!y fancy on my part. It rea!!y is so--of co rse it is) [Sits down in the roc&in'-chair, and !oo&s at him with a smi!e.( 3o are a nice sort of man, +octor $an&)--don%t yo fee! ashamed of yo rse!f, now the !amp has come5 $an&. Not a bit. , t perhaps I had better 'o--for e"er5 Nora. No, indeed, yo sha!! not. #f co rse yo m st come here 2 st as before. 3o &now "ery we!! Tor"a!d can%t do witho t yo . $an&. 3es, b t yo 5 Nora. #h, I am a!ways tremendo s!y p!eased when yo come. $an&. It is 2 st that, that p t me on the wron' trac&. 3o are a ridd!e to me. I ha"e often tho 'ht that yo wo !d a!most as soon be in my company as in He!mer%s. Nora. 3es--yo see there are some peop!e one !o"es best, and others whom one wo !d a!most a!ways rather ha"e as companions. $an&. 3es, there is somethin' in that. Nora. 0hen I was at home, of co rse I !o"ed papa best. , t I a!ways tho 'ht it tremendo s f n if I co !d stea! down into the maids% room, beca se they ne"er mora!ised at a!!, and ta!&ed to each other abo t s ch entertainin' thin's. $an&. I see--it is their p!ace I ha"e ta&en. Nora [2 mpin' p and 'oin' to him(. #h, dear, nice +octor $an&, I ne"er meant that at a!!. , t s re!y yo can nderstand that bein' with Tor"a!d is a !itt!e !i&e bein' with papa--[Enter MAI+ from the ha!!.( Maid. If yo p!ease, ma%am. [0hispers and hands her a card.( Nora ['!ancin' at the card(. #h) [6 ts it in her poc&et.(
$an&. Is there anythin' wron'5 Nora. No, no, not in the !east. It is on!y somethin'--it is my new dress-$an&. 0hat5 3o r dress is !yin' there. Nora. #h, yes, that one. b t this is another. I ordered it. Tor"a!d m stn%t &now abo t it-$an&. #ho) Then that was the 'reat secret. Nora. #f co rse. 8 st 'o in to him. he is sittin' in the inner room. 7eep him as !on' as-$an&. Ma&e yo r mind easy. I won%t !et him escape. [*oes into HE4ME$%S room.( Nora [to the MAI+(. And he is standin' waitin' in the &itchen5 Maid. 3es. he came p the bac& stairs. Nora. , t didn%t yo te!! him no one was in5 Maid. 3es, b t it was no 'ood. Nora. He won%t 'o away5 Maid. No. he says he won%t nti! he has seen yo , ma%am. Nora. 0e!!, !et him come in--b t / iet!y. He!en, yo m stn%t say anythin' abo t it to anyone. It is a s rprise for my h sband. Maid. 3es, ma%am, I / ite nderstand. [E-it.( Nora. This dreadf ! thin' is 'oin' to happen) It wi!! happen in spite of me) No, no, no, it can%t happen--it shan%t happen) [She bo!ts the door of HE4ME$%S room. The MAI+ opens the ha!! door for 7$#*STA+ and sh ts it after him. He is wearin' a f r coat, hi'h boots and a f r cap.( Nora [ad"ancin' towards him(. Spea& !ow--my h sband is at home. 7ro'stad. No matter abo t that. Nora. 0hat do yo want of me5 7ro'stad. An e-p!anation of somethin'. Nora. Ma&e haste then. 0hat is it5 7ro'stad. 3o &now, I s ppose, that I ha"e 'ot my dismissa!. Nora. I co !dn%t pre"ent it, Mr. 7ro'stad. I fo 'ht as hard as I co !d on yo r side, b t it was no 'ood. 7ro'stad. +oes yo r h sband !o"e yo so !itt!e, then5 He &nows what I can e-pose yo to, and yet he "ent res-Nora. How can yo s ppose that he has any &now!ed'e of the sort5 7ro'stad. I didn%t s ppose so at a!!. It wo !d not be the !east !i&e o r dear Tor"a!d He!mer to show so m ch co ra'e-Nora. Mr. 7ro'stad, a !itt!e respect for my h sband, p!ease. 7ro'stad. Certain!y--a!! the respect he deser"es. , t since yo ha"e &ept the matter so caref !!y to yo rse!f, I ma&e bo!d to s ppose that yo ha"e a !itt!e c!earer idea,
than yo had yesterday, of what it act a!!y is that yo ha"e done5 Nora. More than yo co !d e"er teach me. 7ro'stad. 3es, s ch a bad !awyer as I am. Nora. 0hat is it yo want of me5 7ro'stad. #n!y to see how yo were, Mrs He!mer. I ha"e been thin&in' abo t yo a!! day !on'. A mere cashier, a / i!!-dri"er, a--we!!, a man !i&e me--e"en he has a !itt!e of what is ca!!ed fee!in', yo &now. Nora. Show it, then. thin& of my !itt!e chi!dren. 7ro'stad. Ha"e yo and yo r h sband tho 'ht of mine5 , t ne"er mind abo t that. I on!y wanted to te!! yo that yo need not ta&e this matter too serio s!y. In the first p!ace there wi!! be no acc sation made on my part. Nora. No, of co rse not. I was s re of that. 7ro'stad. The who!e thin' can be arran'ed amicab!y. there is no reason why anyone sho !d &now anythin' abo t it. It wi!! remain a secret between s three. Nora. My h sband m st ne"er 'et to &now anythin' abo t it. 7ro'stad. How wi!! yo be ab!e to pre"ent it5 Am I to nderstand that yo can pay the ba!ance that is owin'5 Nora. No, not 2 st at present. 7ro'stad. #r perhaps that yo ha"e some e-pedient for raisin' the money soon5 Nora. No e-pedient that I mean to ma&e se of. 7ro'stad. 0e!!, in any case, it wo !d ha"e been of no se to yo now. If yo stood there with e"er so m ch money in yo r hand, I wo !d ne"er part with yo r bond. Nora. Te!! me what p rpose yo mean to p t it to. 7ro'stad. I sha!! on!y preser"e it--&eep it in my possession. No one who is not concerned in the matter sha!! ha"e the s!i'htest hint of it. So that if the tho 'ht of it has dri"en yo to any desperate reso! tion-Nora. It has. 7ro'stad. If yo had it in yo r mind to r n away from yo r home-Nora. I had. 7ro'stad. #r e"en somethin' worse-Nora. How co !d yo &now that5 7ro'stad. *i"e p the idea. Nora. How did yo &now I had tho 'ht of that5 7ro'stad. Most of s thin& of that at first. I did, too--b t I hadn%t the co ra'e. Nora [faint!y(. No more had I. 7ro'stad [in a tone of re!ief(. No, that%s it, isn%t it--yo hadn%t the co ra'e either5 Nora. No, I ha"en%t--I ha"en%t. 7ro'stad. ,esides, it wo !d ha"e been a 'reat piece of fo!!y. #nce the first storm at home is o"er--. I ha"e a !etter for yo r h sband in my poc&et.
Nora. Te!!in' him e"erythin'5 7ro'stad. In as !enient a manner as I possib!y co !d. Nora [/ ic&!y(. He m stn%t 'et the !etter. Tear it p. I wi!! find some means of 'ettin' money. 7ro'stad. E-c se me, Mrs He!mer, b t I thin& I to!d yo 2 st now-Nora. I am not spea&in' of what I owe yo . Te!! me what s m yo are as&in' my h sband for, and I wi!! 'et the money. 7ro'stad. I am not as&in' yo r h sband for a penny. Nora. 0hat do yo want, then5 7ro'stad. I wi!! te!! yo . I want to rehabi!itate myse!f, Mrs He!mer. I want to 'et on. and in that yo r h sband m st he!p me. ;or the !ast year and a ha!f I ha"e not had a hand in anythin' dishono rab!e, amid a!! that time I ha"e been str ''!in' in most restricted circ mstances. I was content to wor& my way p step by step. Now I am t rned o t, and I am not 'oin' to be satisfied with mere!y bein' ta&en into fa"o r a'ain. I want to 'et on, I te!! yo . I want to 'et into the ,an& a'ain, in a hi'her position. 3o r h sband m st ma&e a p!ace for me-Nora. That he wi!! ne"er do) 7ro'stad. He wi!!. I &now him. he dare not protest. And as soon as I am in there a'ain with him, then yo wi!! see) 0ithin a year I sha!! be the mana'er%s ri'ht hand. It wi!! be Ni!s 7ro'stad and not Tor"a!d He!mer who mana'es the ,an&. Nora. That%s a thin' yo wi!! ne"er see) 7ro'stad. +o yo mean that yo wi!!--5 Nora. I ha"e co ra'e eno 'h for it now. 7ro'stad. #h, yo can%t fri'hten me. A fine, spoi!t !ady !i&e yo -Nora. 3o wi!! see, yo wi!! see. 7ro'stad. 1nder the ice, perhaps5 +own into the co!d, coa!-b!ac& water5 And then, in the sprin', to f!oat p to the s rface, a!! horrib!e and nreco'nisab!e, with yo r hair fa!!en o t-Nora. 3o can%t fri'hten me. 7ro'stad. Nor yo me. 6eop!e don%t do s ch thin's, Mrs He!mer. ,esides, what se wo !d it be5 I sho !d ha"e him comp!ete!y in my power a!! the same. Nora. Afterwards5 0hen I am no !on'er-7ro'stad. Ha"e yo for'otten that it is I who ha"e the &eepin' of yo r rep tation5 [N#$A stands speech!ess!y !oo&in' at him.( 0e!!, now, I ha"e warned yo . +o not do anythin' foo!ish. 0hen He!mer has had my !etter, I sha!! e-pect a messa'e from him. And be s re yo remember that it is yo r h sband himse!f who has forced me into s ch ways as this a'ain. I wi!! ne"er for'i"e him for that. *oodbye, Mrs He!mer. [E-it thro 'h the ha!!.( Nora ['oes to the ha!! door, opens it s!i'ht!y and !istens.( He is 'oin'. He is not p ttin' the !etter in the bo-. #h no, no) that%s impossib!e) [#pens the door by de'rees.( 0hat is that5 He is standin' o tside. He is not 'oin' downstairs. Is he hesitatin'5 Can he--5 [A !etter drops into the bo-. then 7$#*STA+%S footsteps are
heard, nti! they die away as he 'oes downstairs. N#$A tters a stif!ed cry, and r ns across the room to the tab!e by the sofa. A short pa se.( Nora. In the !etter-bo-. [Stea!s across to the ha!! door.( There it !ies--Tor"a!d, Tor"a!d, there is no hope for s now) [Mrs 4inde comes in from the room on the !eft, carryin' the dress.( Mrs 4inde. There, I can%t see anythin' more to mend now. 0o !d yo !i&e to try it on--5 Nora [in a hoarse whisper(. Christine, come here. Mrs 4inde [throwin' the dress down on the sofa(. 0hat is the matter with yo 5 3o !oo& so a'itated) Nora. Come here. +o yo see that !etter5 There, !oo&--yo can see it thro 'h the '!ass in the !etter-bo-. Mrs 4inde. 3es, I see it. Nora. That !etter is from 7ro'stad. Mrs 4inde. Nora--it was 7ro'stad who !ent yo the money) Nora. 3es, and now Tor"a!d wi!! &now a!! abo t it. Mrs 4inde. ,e!ie"e me, Nora, that%s the best thin' for both of yo . Nora. 3o don%t &now a!!. I for'ed a name. Mrs 4inde. *ood hea"ens--) Nora. I on!y want to say this to yo , Christine--yo m st be my witness. Mrs 4inde. 3o r witness5 0hat do yo mean5 0hat am I to--5 Nora. If I sho !d 'o o t of my mind--and it mi'ht easi!y happen-Mrs 4inde. Nora) Nora. #r if anythin' e!se sho !d happen to me--anythin', for instance, that mi'ht pre"ent my bein' here-Mrs 4inde. Nora) Nora) yo are / ite o t of yo r mind. Nora. And if it sho !d happen that there were some one who wanted to ta&e a!! the responsibi!ity, a!! the b!ame, yo nderstand-Mrs 4inde. 3es, yes--b t how can yo s ppose--5 Nora. Then yo m st be my witness, that it is not tr e, Christine. I am not o t of my mind at a!!. I am in my ri'ht senses now, and I te!! yo no one e!se has &nown anythin' abo t it. I, and I a!one, did the who!e thin'. $emember that. Mrs 4inde. I wi!!, indeed. , t I don%t nderstand a!! this. Nora. How sho !d yo nderstand it5 A wonderf ! thin' is 'oin' to happen) Mrs 4inde. A wonderf ! thin'5 Nora. 3es, a wonderf ! thin')--, t it is so terrib!e, Christine. it m stn%t happen, not for a!! the wor!d. Mrs 4inde. I wi!! 'o at once and see 7ro'stad. Nora. +on%t 'o to him. he wi!! do yo some harm.
Mrs 4inde. There was a time when he wo !d '!ad!y do anythin' for my sa&e. Nora. He5 Mrs 4inde. 0here does he !i"e5 Nora. How sho !d I &now--5 3es [fee!in' in her poc&et(, here is his card. , t the !etter, the !etter--) He!mer [ca!!s from his room, &noc&in' at the door(. Nora) Nora [cries o t an-io s!y(. #h, what%s that5 0hat do yo want5 He!mer. +on%t be so fri'htened. 0e are not comin' in. yo ha"e !oc&ed the door. Are yo tryin' on yo r dress5 Nora. 3es, that%s it. I !oo& so nice, Tor"a!d. Mrs 4inde [who has read the card(. I see he !i"es at the corner here. Nora. 3es, b t it%s no se. It is hope!ess. The !etter is !yin' there in the bo-. Mrs 4inde. And yo r h sband &eeps the &ey5 Nora. 3es, a!ways. Mrs 4inde. 7ro'stad m st as& for his !etter bac& nread, he m st find some pretence-Nora. , t it is 2 st at this time that Tor"a!d 'enera!!y-Mrs 4inde. 3o m st de!ay him. *o in to him in the meantime. I wi!! come bac& as soon as I can. [She 'oes o t h rried!y thro 'h the ha!! door.( Nora ['oes to HE4ME$%S door, opens it and peeps in(. Tor"a!d) He!mer [from the inner room(. 0e!!5 May I "ent re at !ast to come into my own room a'ain5 Come a!on', $an&, now yo wi!! see-- [Ha!tin' in the doorway.( , t what is this5 Nora. 0hat is what, dear5 He!mer. $an& !ed me to e-pect a sp!endid transformation. $an& [in the doorway(. I nderstood so, b t e"ident!y I was mista&en. Nora. 3es, nobody is to ha"e the chance of admirin' me in my dress nti! tomorrow. He!mer. , t, my dear Nora, yo !oo& so worn o t. Ha"e yo been practisin' too m ch5 Nora. No, I ha"e not practised at a!!. He!mer. , t yo wi!! need to-Nora. 3es, indeed I sha!!, Tor"a!d. , t I can%t 'et on a bit witho t yo to he!p me. I ha"e abso! te!y for'otten the who!e thin'. He!mer. #h, we wi!! soon wor& it p a'ain. Nora. 3es, he!p me, Tor"a!d. 6romise that yo wi!!) I am so ner"o s abo t it--a!! the peop!e--. 3o m st 'i"e yo rse!f p to me entire!y this e"enin'. Not the tiniest bit of b siness--yo m stn%t e"en ta&e a pen in yo r hand. 0i!! yo promise, Tor"a!d dear5 He!mer. I promise. This e"enin' I wi!! be who!!y and abso! te!y at yo r ser"ice, yo he!p!ess !itt!e morta!. Ah, by the way, first of a!! I wi!! 2 st-- [*oes towards the ha!! door.(
Nora. 0hat are yo 'oin' to do there5 He!mer. #n!y see if any !etters ha"e come. Nora. No, no) don%t do that, Tor"a!d) He!mer. 0hy not5 Nora. Tor"a!d, p!ease don%t. There is nothin' there. He!mer. 0e!!, !et me !oo&. [T rns to 'o to the !etter-bo-. N#$A, at the piano, p!ays the first bars of the Tarante!!a. HE4ME$ stops in the doorway.( Aha) Nora. I can%t dance tomorrow if I don%t practise with yo . He!mer ['oin' p to her(. Are yo rea!!y so afraid of it, dear5 Nora. 3es, so dreadf !!y afraid of it. 4et me practise at once. there is time now, before we 'o to dinner. Sit down and p!ay for me, Tor"a!d dear. criticise me, and correct me as yo p!ay. He!mer. 0ith 'reat p!eas re, if yo wish me to. [Sits down at the piano.( Nora [ta&es o t of the bo- a tambo rine and a !on' "arie'ated shaw!. She hasti!y drapes the shaw! ro nd her. Then she sprin's to the front of the sta'e and ca!!s o t(. Now p!ay for me) I am 'oin' to dance) [HE4ME$ p!ays and N#$A dances. $AN7 stands by the piano behind HE4ME$, and !oo&s on.( He!mer [as he p!ays(. S!ower, s!ower) Nora. I can%t do it any other way. He!mer. Not so "io!ent!y, Nora) Nora. This is the way. He!mer [stops p!ayin'(. No, no--that is not a bit ri'ht. Nora [!a 'hin' and swin'in' the tambo rine(. +idn%t I te!! yo so5 $an&. 4et me p!ay for her. He!mer ['ettin' p(. 3es, do. I can correct her better then. [$AN7 sits down at the piano and p!ays. N#$A dances more and more wi!d!y. HE4ME$ has ta&en p a position beside the sto"e, and d rin' her dance 'i"es her fre/ ent instr ctions. She does not seem to hear him. her hair comes down and fa!!s o"er her sho !ders. she pays no attention to it, b t 'oes on dancin'. Enter Mrs 4inde.( Mrs 4inde [standin' as if spe!!-bo nd in the doorway(. #h)-Nora [as she dances(. S ch f n, Christine) He!mer. My dear dar!in' Nora, yo are dancin' as if yo r !ife depended on it. Nora. So it does. He!mer. Stop, $an&. this is sheer madness. Stop, I te!! yo ) [$AN7 stops p!ayin', and N#$A s dden!y stands sti!!. HE4ME$ 'oes p to her.( I co !d ne"er ha"e be!ie"ed it. 3o ha"e for'otten e"erythin' I ta 'ht yo . Nora [throwin' away the tambo rine(. There, yo see. He!mer. 3o wi!! want a !ot of coachin'.
Nora. 3es, yo see how m ch I need it. 3o m st coach me p to the !ast min te. 6romise me that, Tor"a!d) He!mer. 3o can depend on me. Nora. 3o m st not thin& of anythin' b t me, either today or tomorrow. yo m stn%t open a sin'!e !etter--not e"en open the !etter-bo--He!mer. Ah, yo are sti!! afraid of that fe!!ow-Nora. 3es, indeed I am. He!mer. Nora, I can te!! from yo r !oo&s that there is a !etter from him !yin' there. Nora. I don%t &now. I thin& there is. b t yo m st not read anythin' of that &ind now. Nothin' horrid m st come between s nti! this is a!! o"er. $an& [whispers to HE4ME$(. 3o m stn%t contradict her. He!mer [ta&in' her in his arms(. The chi!d sha!! ha"e her way. , t tomorrow ni'ht, after yo ha"e danced-Nora. Then yo wi!! be free. [The MAI+ appears in the doorway to the ri'ht.( Maid. +inner is ser"ed, ma%am. Nora. 0e wi!! ha"e champa'ne, He!en. Maid. :ery 'ood, ma%am. [E-it. He!mer. H !!o)--are we 'oin' to ha"e a ban/ et5 Nora. 3es, a champa'ne ban/ et nti! the sma!! ho rs. [Ca!!s o t.( And a few macaroons, He!en--!ots, 2 st for once) He!mer. Come, come, don%t be so wi!d and ner"o s. ,e my own !itt!e s&y!ar&, as yo sed. Nora. 3es, dear, I wi!!. , t 'o in now and yo too, +octor $an&. Christine, yo m st he!p me to do p my hair. $an& [whispers to HE4ME$ as they 'o o t(. I s ppose there is nothin'--she is not e-pectin' anythin'5 He!mer. ;ar from it, my dear fe!!ow. it is simp!y nothin' more than this chi!dish ner"o sness I was te!!in' yo of. [They 'o into the ri'ht-hand room.( Nora. 0e!!) Mrs 4inde. *one o t of town. Nora. I co !d te!! from yo r face. Mrs 4inde. He is comin' home tomorrow e"enin'. I wrote a note for him. Nora. 3o sho !d ha"e !et it a!one. yo m st pre"ent nothin'. After a!!, it is sp!endid to be waitin' for a wonderf ! thin' to happen. Mrs 4inde. 0hat is it that yo are waitin' for5 Nora. #h, yo wo !dn%t nderstand. *o in to them, I wi!! come in a moment. [Mrs 4inde 'oes into the dinin'-room. N#$A stands sti!! for a !itt!e whi!e, as if to compose herse!f. Then she !oo&s at her watch.( ;i"e o%c!oc&. Se"en ho rs nti! midni'ht. and then fo r-and-twenty ho rs nti! the ne-t midni'ht. Then the Tarante!!a wi!! be o"er. Twenty-fo r and se"en5 Thirty-one ho rs to !i"e.
He!mer [from the doorway on the ri'ht(. 0here%s my !itt!e s&y!ar&5 Nora ['oin' to him with her arms o tstretched(. Here she is) ACT III [THE SAME SCENE.--The tab!e has been p!aced in the midd!e of the sta'e, with chairs aro nd it. A !amp is b rnin' on the tab!e. The door into the ha!! stands open. +ance m sic is heard in the room abo"e. Mrs 4inde is sittin' at the tab!e id!y t rnin' o"er the !ea"es of a boo&. she tries to read, b t does not seem ab!e to co!!ect her tho 'hts. E"ery now and then she !istens intent!y for a so nd at the o ter door.( Mrs 4inde [!oo&in' at her watch(. Not yet--and the time is near!y p. If on!y he does not--. [4istens a'ain.( Ah, there he is. [*oes into the ha!! and opens the o ter door caref !!y. 4i'ht footsteps are heard on the stairs. She whispers.( Come in. There is no one here. 7ro'stad [in the doorway(. I fo nd a note from yo at home. 0hat does this mean5 Mrs 4inde. It is abso! te!y necessary that I sho !d ha"e a ta!& with yo . 7ro'stad. $ea!!y5 And is it abso! te!y necessary that it sho !d be here5 Mrs 4inde. It is impossib!e where I !i"e. there is no pri"ate entrance to my rooms. Come in. we are / ite a!one. The maid is as!eep, and the He!mers are at the dance pstairs. 7ro'stad [comin' into the room(. Are the He!mers rea!!y at a dance toni'ht5 Mrs 4inde. 3es, why not5 7ro'stad. Certain!y--why not5 Mrs 4inde. Now, Ni!s, !et s ha"e a ta!&. 7ro'stad. Can we two ha"e anythin' to ta!& abo t5 Mrs 4inde. 0e ha"e a 'reat dea! to ta!& abo t. 7ro'stad. I sho !dn%t ha"e tho 'ht so. Mrs 4inde. No, yo ha"e ne"er proper!y nderstood me. 7ro'stad. 0as there anythin' e!se to nderstand e-cept what was ob"io s to a!! the wor!d--a heart!ess woman 2i!ts a man when a more ! crati"e chance t rns p5 Mrs 4inde. +o yo be!ie"e I am as abso! te!y heart!ess as a!! that5 And do yo be!ie"e that I did it with a !i'ht heart5 7ro'stad. +idn%t yo 5 Mrs 4inde. Ni!s, did yo rea!!y thin& that5 7ro'stad. If it were as yo say, why did yo write to me as yo did at the time5 Mrs 4inde. I co !d do nothin' e!se. As I had to brea& with yo , it was my d ty a!so to p t an end to a!! that yo fe!t for me. 7ro'stad [wrin'in' his hands(. So that was it. And a!! this--on!y for the sa&e of money) Mrs 4inde. 3o m st not for'et that I had a he!p!ess mother and two !itt!e brothers. 0e co !dn%t wait for yo , Ni!s. yo r prospects seemed hope!ess then. 7ro'stad. That may be so, b t yo had no ri'ht to throw me o"er for anyone e!se%s
sa&e. Mrs 4inde. Indeed I don%t &now. Many a time did I as& myse!f if I had the ri'ht to do it. 7ro'stad [more 'ent!y(. 0hen I !ost yo , it was as if a!! the so!id 'ro nd went from nder my feet. 4oo& at me now--I am a shipwrec&ed man c!in'in' to a bit of wrec&a'e. Mrs 4inde. , t he!p may be near. 7ro'stad. It was near. b t then yo came and stood in my way. Mrs 4inde. 1nintentiona!!y, Ni!s. It was on!y today that I !earned it was yo r p!ace I was 'oin' to ta&e in the ,an&. 7ro'stad. I be!ie"e yo , if yo say so. , t now that yo &now it, are yo not 'oin' to 'i"e it p to me5 Mrs 4inde. No, beca se that wo !d not benefit yo in the !east. 7ro'stad. #h, benefit, benefit--I wo !d ha"e done it whether or no. Mrs 4inde. I ha"e !earned to act pr dent!y. 4ife, and hard, bitter necessity ha"e ta 'ht me that. 7ro'stad. And !ife has ta 'ht me not to be!ie"e in fine speeches. Mrs 4inde. Then !ife has ta 'ht yo somethin' "ery reasonab!e. , t deeds yo m st be!ie"e in5 7ro'stad. 0hat do yo mean by that5 Mrs 4inde. 3o said yo were !i&e a shipwrec&ed man c!in'in' to some wrec&a'e. 7ro'stad. I had 'ood reason to say so. Mrs 4inde. 0e!!, I am !i&e a shipwrec&ed woman c!in'in' to some wrec&a'e--no one to mo rn for, no one to care for. 7ro'stad. It was yo r own choice. Mrs 4inde. There was no other choice--then. 7ro'stad. 0e!!, what now5 Mrs 4inde. Ni!s, how wo !d it be if we two shipwrec&ed peop!e co !d 2oin forces5 7ro'stad. 0hat are yo sayin'5 Mrs 4inde. Two on the same piece of wrec&a'e wo !d stand a better chance than each on their own. 7ro'stad. Christine I... Mrs 4inde. 0hat do yo s ppose bro 'ht me to town5 7ro'stad. +o yo mean that yo 'a"e me a tho 'ht5 Mrs 4inde. I co !d not end re !ife witho t wor&. A!! my !ife, as !on' as I can remember, I ha"e wor&ed, and it has been my 'reatest and on!y p!eas re. , t now I am / ite a!one in the wor!d--my !ife is so dreadf !!y empty and I fee! so forsa&en. There is not the !east p!eas re in wor&in' for one%s se!f. Ni!s, 'i"e me someone and somethin' to wor& for. 7ro'stad. I don%t tr st that. It is nothin' b t a woman%s o"erstrained sense of
'enerosity that prompts yo to ma&e s ch an offer of yo rse!f. Mrs 4inde. Ha"e yo e"er noticed anythin' of the sort in me5 7ro'stad. Co !d yo rea!!y do it5 Te!! me--do yo &now a!! abo t my past !ife5 Mrs 4inde. 3es. 7ro'stad. And do yo &now what they thin& of me here5 Mrs 4inde. 3o seemed to me to imp!y that with me yo mi'ht ha"e been / ite another man. 7ro'stad. I am certain of it. Mrs 4inde. Is it too !ate now5 7ro'stad. Christine, are yo sayin' this de!iberate!y5 3es, I am s re yo are. I see it in yo r face. Ha"e yo rea!!y the co ra'e, then--5 Mrs 4inde. I want to be a mother to someone, and yo r chi!dren need a mother. 0e two need each other. Ni!s, I ha"e faith in yo r rea! character--I can dare anythin' to'ether with yo . 7ro'stad ['rasps her hands(. Than&s, than&s, Christine) Now I sha!! find a way to c!ear myse!f in the eyes of the wor!d. Ah, b t I for'ot-Mrs 4inde [!istenin'(. H sh) The Tarante!!a) *o, 'o) 7ro'stad. 0hy5 0hat is it5 Mrs 4inde. +o yo hear them p there5 0hen that is o"er, we may e-pect them bac&. 7ro'stad. 3es, yes--I wi!! 'o. , t it is a!! no se. #f co rse yo are not aware what steps I ha"e ta&en in the matter of the He!mers. Mrs 4inde. 3es, I &now a!! abo t that. 7ro'stad. And in spite of that ha"e yo the co ra'e to--5 Mrs 4inde. I nderstand "ery we!! to what !en'ths a man !i&e yo mi'ht be dri"en by despair. 7ro'stad. If I co !d on!y ndo what I ha"e done) Mrs 4inde. 3o cannot. 3o r !etter is !yin' in the !etter-bo- now. 7ro'stad. Are yo s re of that5 Mrs 4inde. < ite s re, b t-7ro'stad [with a searchin' !oo& at her(. Is that what it a!! means5--that yo want to sa"e yo r friend at any cost5 Te!! me fran&!y. Is that it5 Mrs 4inde. Ni!s, a woman who has once so!d herse!f for another%s sa&e, doesn%t do it a second time. 7ro'stad. I wi!! as& for my !etter bac&. Mrs 4inde. No, no. 7ro'stad. 3es, of co rse I wi!!. I wi!! wait here nti! He!mer comes. I wi!! te!! him he m st 'i"e me my !etter bac&--that it on!y concerns my dismissa!--that he is not to read it-Mrs 4inde. No, Ni!s, yo m st not reca!! yo r !etter.
7ro'stad. , t, te!! me, wasn%t it for that "ery p rpose that yo as&ed me to meet yo here5 Mrs 4inde. In my first moment of fri'ht, it was. , t twenty-fo r ho rs ha"e e!apsed since then, and in that time I ha"e witnessed incredib!e thin's in this ho se. He!mer m st &now a!! abo t it. This nhappy secret m st be disc!osed. they m st ha"e a comp!ete nderstandin' between them, which is impossib!e with a!! this concea!ment and fa!sehood 'oin' on. 7ro'stad. :ery we!!, if yo wi!! ta&e the responsibi!ity. , t there is one thin' I can do in any case, and I sha!! do it at once. Mrs 4inde [!istenin'(. 3o m st be / ic& and 'o) The dance is o"er. we are not safe a moment !on'er. 7ro'stad. I wi!! wait for yo be!ow. Mrs 4inde. 3es, do. 3o m st see me bac& to my door... 7ro'stad. I ha"e ne"er had s ch an ama=in' piece of 'ood fort ne in my !ife) [*oes o t thro 'h the o ter door. The door between the room and the ha!! remains open.( Mrs 4inde [tidyin' p the room and !ayin' her hat and c!oa& ready(. 0hat a difference) what a difference) Someone to wor& for and !i"e for--a home to brin' comfort into. That I wi!! do, indeed. I wish they wo !d be / ic& and come--[4istens.( Ah, there they are now. I m st p t on my thin's. [Ta&es p her hat and c!oa&. HE4ME$%S and N#$A%S "oices are heard o tside. a &ey is t rned, and HE4ME$ brin's N#$A a!most by force into the ha!!. She is in an Ita!ian cost me with a !ar'e b!ac& shaw! aro nd her. he is in e"enin' dress, and a b!ac& domino which is f!yin' open.( Nora [han'in' bac& in the doorway, and str ''!in' with him(. No, no, no)--don%t ta&e me in. I want to 'o pstairs a'ain. I don%t want to !ea"e so ear!y. He!mer. , t, my dearest Nora-Nora. 6!ease, Tor"a!d dear--p!ease, p!ease--on!y an ho r more. He!mer. Not a sin'!e min te, my sweet Nora. 3o &now that was o r a'reement. Come a!on' into the room. yo are catchin' co!d standin' there. [He brin's her 'ent!y into the room, in spite of her resistance.( Mrs 4inde. *ood e"enin'. Nora. Christine) He!mer. 3o here, so !ate, Mrs 4inde5 Mrs 4inde. 3es, yo m st e-c se me. I was so an-io s to see Nora in her dress. Nora. Ha"e yo been sittin' here waitin' for me5 Mrs 4inde. 3es, nfort nate!y I came too !ate, yo had a!ready 'one pstairs. and I tho 'ht I co !dn%t 'o away a'ain witho t ha"in' seen yo . He!mer [ta&in' off N#$A%S shaw!(. 3es, ta&e a 'ood !oo& at her. I thin& she is worth !oo&in' at. Isn%t she charmin', Mrs 4inde5 Mrs 4inde. 3es, indeed she is. He!mer. +oesn%t she !oo& remar&ab!y pretty5 E"eryone tho 'ht so at the dance. , t she is terrib!y se!f-wi!!ed, this sweet !itt!e person. 0hat are we to do with her5 3o wi!! hard!y be!ie"e that I had a!most to brin' her away by force.
Nora. Tor"a!d, yo wi!! repent not ha"in' !et me stay, e"en if it were on!y for ha!f an ho r. He!mer. 4isten to her, Mrs 4inde) She had danced her Tarante!!a, and it had been a tremendo s s ccess, as it deser"ed--a!tho 'h possib!y the performance was a trif!e too rea!istic--a !itt!e more so, I mean, than was strict!y compatib!e with the !imitations of art. , t ne"er mind abo t that) The chief thin' is, she had made a s ccess--she had made a tremendo s s ccess. +o yo thin& I was 'oin' to !et her remain there after that, and spoi! the effect5 No, indeed) I too& my charmin' !itt!e Capri maiden--my capricio s !itt!e Capri maiden, I sho !d say--on my arm. too& one / ic& t rn ro nd the room. a c rtsey on either side, and, as they say in no"e!s, the bea tif ! apparition disappeared. An e-it o 'ht a!ways to be effecti"e, Mrs 4inde. b t that is what I cannot ma&e Nora nderstand. 6ooh) this room is hot. [Throws his domino on a chair, and opens the door of his room.( H !!o) it%s a!! dar& in here. #h, of co rse--e-c se me--. [He 'oes in, and !i'hts some cand!es.( Nora [in a h rried and breath!ess whisper(. 0e!!5 Mrs 4inde [in a !ow "oice(. I ha"e had a ta!& with him. Nora. 3es, and-Mrs 4inde. Nora, yo m st te!! yo r h sband a!! abo t it. Nora [in an e-pression!ess "oice(. I &new it. Mrs 4inde. 3o ha"e nothin' to be afraid of as far as 7ro'stad is concerned. b t yo m st te!! him. Nora. I won%t te!! him. Mrs 4inde. Then the !etter wi!!. Nora. Than& yo , Christine. Now I &now what I m st do. H sh--) He!mer [comin' in a'ain(. 0e!!, Mrs 4inde, ha"e yo admired her5 Mrs 4inde. 3es, and now I wi!! say 'oodni'ht. He!mer. 0hat, a!ready5 Is this yo rs, this &nittin'5 Mrs 4inde [ta&in' it(. 3es, than& yo , I had "ery near!y for'otten it. He!mer. So yo &nit5 Mrs 4inde. #f co rse. He!mer. +o yo &now, yo o 'ht to embroider. Mrs 4inde. $ea!!y5 0hy5 He!mer. 3es, it%s far more becomin'. 4et me show yo . 3o ho!d the embroidery th s in yo r !eft hand, and se the need!e with the ri'ht--!i&e this--with a !on', easy sweep. +o yo see5 Mrs 4inde. 3es, perhaps-He!mer. , t in the case of &nittin'--that can ne"er be anythin' b t n'racef !. !oo& here--the arms c!ose to'ether, the &nittin'-need!es 'oin' p and down--it has a sort of Chinese effect--. That was rea!!y e-ce!!ent champa'ne they 'a"e s. Mrs 4inde. 0e!!,--'oodni'ht, Nora, and don%t be se!f-wi!!ed any more. He!mer. That%s ri'ht, Mrs 4inde.
Mrs 4inde. *oodni'ht, Mr. He!mer. He!mer [accompanyin' her to the door(. *oodni'ht, 'oodni'ht. I hope yo wi!! 'et home a!! ri'ht. I sho !d be "ery happy to--b t yo ha"en%t any 'reat distance to 'o. *oodni'ht, 'oodni'ht. [She 'oes o t. he sh ts the door after her, and comes in a'ain.( Ah)--at !ast we ha"e 'ot rid of her. She is a fri'htf ! bore, that woman. Nora. Aren%t yo "ery tired, Tor"a!d5 He!mer. No, not in the !east. Nora. Nor s!eepy5 He!mer. Not a bit. #n the contrary, I fee! e-traordinari!y !i"e!y. And yo 5--yo rea!!y !oo& both tired and s!eepy. Nora. 3es, I am "ery tired. I want to 'o to s!eep at once. He!mer. There, yo see it was / ite ri'ht of me not to !et yo stay there any !on'er. Nora. E"erythin' yo do is / ite ri'ht, Tor"a!d. He!mer [&issin' her on the forehead(. Now my !itt!e s&y!ar& is spea&in' reasonab!y. +id yo notice what 'ood spirits $an& was in this e"enin'5 Nora. $ea!!y5 0as he5 I didn%t spea& to him at a!!. He!mer. And I "ery !itt!e, b t I ha"e not for a !on' time seen him in s ch 'ood form. [4oo&s for a whi!e at her and then 'oes nearer to her.( It is de!i'htf ! to be at home by o rse!"es a'ain, to be a!! a!one with yo --yo fascinatin', charmin' !itt!e dar!in') Nora. +on%t !oo& at me !i&e that, Tor"a!d. He!mer. 0hy sho !dn%t I !oo& at my dearest treas re5--at a!! the bea ty that is mine, a!! my "ery own5 Nora ['oin' to the other side of the tab!e(. 3o m stn%t say thin's !i&e that to me toni'ht. He!mer [fo!!owin' her(. 3o ha"e sti!! 'ot the Tarante!!a in yo r b!ood, I see. And it ma&es yo more capti"atin' than e"er. 4isten--the ' ests are be'innin' to 'o now. [In a !ower "oice.( Nora--soon the who!e ho se wi!! be / iet. Nora. 3es, I hope so. He!mer. 3es, my own dar!in' Nora. +o yo &now, when I am o t at a party with yo !i&e this, why I spea& so !itt!e to yo , &eep away from yo , and on!y send a sto!en '!ance in yo r direction now and then5--do yo &now why I do that5 It is beca se I ma&e be!ie"e to myse!f that we are secret!y in !o"e, and yo are my secret!y promised bride, and that no one s spects there is anythin' between s. Nora. 3es, yes--I &now "ery we!! yo r tho 'hts are with me a!! the time. He!mer. And when we are !ea"in', and I am p ttin' the shaw! o"er yo r bea tif ! yo n' sho !ders--on yo r !o"e!y nec&--then I ima'ine that yo are my yo n' bride and that we ha"e 2 st come from the weddin', and I am brin'in' yo for the first time into o r home--to be a!one with yo for the first time--/ ite a!one with my shy !itt!e dar!in') A!! this e"enin' I ha"e !on'ed for nothin' b t yo . 0hen I watched the sed cti"e fi' res of the Tarante!!a, my b!ood was on fire. I co !d end re it no !on'er, and that was why I bro 'ht yo down so ear!y-Nora. *o away, Tor"a!d) 3o m st !et me 'o. I won%t--
He!mer. 0hat%s that5 3o %re 2o&in', my !itt!e Nora) 3o won%t--yo won%t5 Am I not yo r h sband--5 [A &noc& is heard at the o ter door.( Nora [startin'(. +id yo hear--5 He!mer ['oin' into the ha!!(. 0ho is it5 $an& [o tside(. It is I. May I come in for a moment5 He!mer [in a fretf ! whisper(. #h, what does he want now5 [A!o d.( 0ait a min te) [1n!oc&s the door.( Come, that%s &ind of yo not to pass by o r door. $an&. I tho 'ht I heard yo r "oice, and fe!t as if I sho !d !i&e to !oo& in. [0ith a swift '!ance ro nd.( Ah, yes)--these dear fami!iar rooms. 3o are "ery happy and cosy in here, yo two. He!mer. It seems to me that yo !oo&ed after yo rse!f pretty we!! pstairs too. $an&. E-ce!!ent!y. 0hy sho !dn%t I5 0hy sho !dn%t one en2oy e"erythin' in this wor!d5--at any rate as m ch as one can, and as !on' as one can. The wine was capita!-He!mer. Especia!!y the champa'ne. $an&. So yo noticed that too5 It is a!most incredib!e how m ch I mana'ed to p t away) Nora. Tor"a!d dran& a 'reat dea! of champa'ne toni'ht too. $an&. +id he5 Nora. 3es, and he is a!ways in s ch 'ood spirits afterwards. $an&. 0e!!, why sho !d one not en2oy a merry e"enin' after a we!!-spent day5 He!mer. 0e!! spent5 I am afraid I can%t ta&e credit for that. $an& [c!appin' him on the bac&(. , t I can, yo &now) Nora. +octor $an&, yo m st ha"e been occ pied with some scientific in"esti'ation today. $an&. E-act!y. He!mer. 8 st !isten)--!itt!e Nora ta!&in' abo t scientific in"esti'ations) Nora. And may I con'rat !ate yo on the res !t5 $an&. Indeed yo may. Nora. 0as it fa"o rab!e, then5 $an&. The best possib!e, for both doctor and patient--certainty. Nora [/ ic&!y and searchin'!y(. Certainty5 $an&. Abso! te certainty. So wasn%t I entit!ed to ma&e a merry e"enin' of it after that5 Nora. 3es, yo certain!y were, +octor $an&. He!mer. I thin& so too, so !on' as yo don%t ha"e to pay for it in the mornin'. $an&. #h we!!, one can%t ha"e anythin' in this !ife witho t payin' for it. Nora. +octor $an&--are yo fond of fancy-dress ba!!s5 $an&. 3es, if there is a fine !ot of pretty cost mes.
Nora. Te!! me--what sha!! we two wear at the ne-t5 He!mer. 4itt!e featherbrain)--are yo thin&in' of the ne-t a!ready5 $an&. 0e two5 3es, I can te!! yo . 3o sha!! 'o as a 'ood fairy-He!mer. 3es, b t what do yo s ''est as an appropriate cost me for that5 $an&. 4et yo r wife 'o dressed 2 st as she is in e"eryday !ife. He!mer. That was rea!!y "ery pretti!y t rned. , t can%t yo te!! s what yo wi!! be5 $an&. 3es, my dear friend, I ha"e / ite made p my mind abo t that. He!mer. 0e!!5 $an&. At the ne-t fancy-dress ba!! I sha!! be in"isib!e. He!mer. That%s a 'ood 2o&e) $an&. There is a bi' b!ac& hat--ha"e yo ne"er heard of hats that ma&e yo in"isib!e5 If yo p t one on, no one can see yo . He!mer [s ppressin' a smi!e(. 3es, yo are / ite ri'ht. $an&. , t I am c!ean for'ettin' what I came for. He!mer, 'i"e me a ci'ar--one of the dar& Ha"anas. He!mer. 0ith the 'reatest p!eas re. [#ffers him his case.( $an& [ta&es a ci'ar and c ts off the end(. Than&s. Nora [stri&in' a match(. 4et me 'i"e yo a !i'ht. $an&. Than& yo . [She ho!ds the match for him to !i'ht his ci'ar.( And now 'oodbye) He!mer. *oodbye, 'oodbye, dear o!d man) Nora. S!eep we!!, +octor $an&. $an&. Than& yo for that wish. Nora. 0ish me the same. $an&. 3o 5 0e!!, if yo want me to s!eep we!!) And than&s for the !i'ht. [He nods to them both and 'oes o t.( He!mer [in a s bd ed "oice(. He has dr n& more than he o 'ht. Nora [absent!y(. Maybe. [HE4ME$ ta&es a b nch of &eys o t of his poc&et and 'oes into the ha!!.( Tor"a!d) what are yo 'oin' to do there5 He!mer. Emptyin' the !etter-bo-. it is / ite f !!. there wi!! be no room to p t the newspaper in tomorrow mornin'. Nora. Are yo 'oin' to wor& toni'ht5 He!mer. 3o &now / ite we!! I%m not. 0hat is this5 Someone has been at the !oc&. Nora. At the !oc&--5 He!mer. 3es, someone has. 0hat can it mean5 I sho !d ne"er ha"e tho 'ht the maid--. Here is a bro&en hairpin. Nora, it is one of yo rs. Nora [/ ic&!y(. Then it m st ha"e been the chi!dren-He!mer. Then yo m st 'et them o t of those ways. There, at !ast I ha"e 'ot it open. [Ta&es o t the contents of the !etter-bo-, and ca!!s to the &itchen.( He!en)--He!en,
p t o t the !i'ht o"er the front door. [*oes bac& into the room and sh ts the door into the ha!!. He ho!ds o t his hand f !! of !etters.( 4oo& at that--!oo& what a heap of them there are. [T rnin' them o"er.( 0hat on earth is that5 Nora [at the window(. The !etter--No) Tor"a!d, no) He!mer. Two cards--of $an&%s. Nora. #f +octor $an&%s5 He!mer [!oo&in' at them(. +octor $an&. They were on the top. He m st ha"e p t them in when he went o t. Nora. Is there anythin' written on them5 He!mer. There is a b!ac& cross o"er the name. 4oo& there--what an ncomfortab!e idea) It !oo&s as if he were anno ncin' his own death. Nora. It is 2 st what he is doin'. He!mer. 0hat5 +o yo &now anythin' abo t it5 Has he said anythin' to yo 5 Nora. 3es. He to!d me that when the cards came it wo !d be his !ea"e-ta&in' from s. He means to sh t himse!f p and die. He!mer. My poor o!d friend) Certain!y I &new we sho !d not ha"e him "ery !on' with s. , t so soon) And so he hides himse!f away !i&e a wo nded anima!. Nora. If it has to happen, it is best it sho !d be witho t a word--don%t yo thin& so, Tor"a!d5 He!mer [wa!&in' p and down(. He had so 'rown into o r !i"es. I can%t thin& of him as ha"in' 'one o t of them. He, with his s fferin's and his !one!iness, was !i&e a c!o dy bac&'ro nd to o r s n!it happiness. 0e!!, perhaps it is best so. ;or him, anyway. [Standin' sti!!.( And perhaps for s too, Nora. 0e two are thrown / ite pon each other now. [6 ts his arms ro nd her.( My dar!in' wife, I don%t fee! as if I co !d ho!d yo ti'ht eno 'h. +o yo &now, Nora, I ha"e often wished that yo mi'ht be threatened by some 'reat dan'er, so that I mi'ht ris& my !ife%s b!ood, and e"erythin', for yo r sa&e. Nora [disen'a'es herse!f, and says firm!y and decided!y(. Now yo m st read yo r !etters, Tor"a!d. He!mer. No, no. not toni'ht. I want to be with yo , my dar!in' wife. Nora. 0ith the tho 'ht of yo r friend%s death-He!mer. 3o are ri'ht, it has affected s both. Somethin' '!y has come between s--the tho 'ht of the horrors of death. 0e m st try and rid o r minds of that. 1nti! then--we wi!! each 'o to o r own room. Nora [han'in' on his nec&(. *oodni'ht, Tor"a!d--*oodni'ht) He!mer [&issin' her on the forehead(. *oodni'ht, my !itt!e sin'in'-bird. S!eep so nd, Nora. Now I wi!! read my !etters thro 'h. [He ta&es his !etters and 'oes into his room, sh ttin' the door after him.( Nora ['ropes distracted!y abo t, sei=es HE4ME$%S domino, throws it ro nd her, whi!e she says in / ic&, hoarse, spasmodic whispers(. Ne"er to see him a'ain. Ne"er) Ne"er) [6 ts her shaw! o"er her head.( Ne"er to see my chi!dren a'ain either--ne"er a'ain. Ne"er) Ne"er)--Ah) the icy, b!ac& water--the nfathomab!e depths--If on!y it were o"er) He has 'ot it now--now he is readin' it. *oodbye, Tor"a!d and my
chi!dren) [She is abo t to r sh o t thro 'h the ha!!, when HE4ME$ opens his door h rried!y and stands with an open !etter in his hand.( He!mer. Nora) Nora. Ah)-He!mer. 0hat is this5 +o yo &now what is in this !etter5 Nora. 3es, I &now. 4et me 'o) 4et me 'et o t) He!mer [ho!din' her bac&(. 0here are yo 'oin'5 Nora [tryin' to 'et free(. 3o shan%t sa"e me, Tor"a!d) He!mer [ree!in'(. Tr e5 Is this tr e, that I read here5 Horrib!e) No, no--it is impossib!e that it can be tr e. Nora. It is tr e. I ha"e !o"ed yo abo"e e"erythin' e!se in the wor!d. He!mer. #h, don%t !et s ha"e any si!!y e-c ses. Nora [ta&in' a step towards him(. Tor"a!d--) He!mer. Miserab!e creat re--what ha"e yo done5 Nora. 4et me 'o. 3o sha!! not s ffer for my sa&e. 3o sha!! not ta&e it pon yo rse!f. He!mer. No tra'ic airs, p!ease. [4oc&s the ha!! door.( Here yo sha!! stay and 'i"e me an e-p!anation. +o yo nderstand what yo ha"e done5 Answer me) +o yo nderstand what yo ha"e done5 Nora [!oo&s steadi!y at him and says with a 'rowin' !oo& of co!dness in her face(. 3es, now I am be'innin' to nderstand thoro 'h!y. He!mer [wa!&in' abo t the room(. 0hat a horrib!e awa&enin') A!! these ei'ht years-she who was my 2oy and pride--a hypocrite, a !iar--worse, worse--a crimina!) The n tterab!e '!iness of it a!!)--;or shame) ;or shame) [N#$A is si!ent and !oo&s steadi!y at him. He stops in front of her.( I o 'ht to ha"e s spected that somethin' of the sort wo !d happen. I o 'ht to ha"e foreseen it. A!! yo r father%s want of princip!e--be si!ent)--a!! yo r father%s want of princip!e has come o t in yo . No re!i'ion, no mora!ity, no sense of d ty--. How I am p nished for ha"in' win&ed at what he did) I did it for yo r sa&e, and this is how yo repay me. Nora. 3es, that%s 2 st it. He!mer. Now yo ha"e destroyed a!! my happiness. 3o ha"e r ined a!! my f t re. It is horrib!e to thin& of) I am in the power of an nscr p !o s man. he can do what he !i&es with me, as& anythin' he !i&es of me, 'i"e me any orders he p!eases--I dare not ref se. And I m st sin& to s ch miserab!e depths beca se of a tho 'ht!ess woman) Nora. 0hen I am o t of the way, yo wi!! be free. He!mer. No fine speeches, p!ease. 3o r father had a!ways p!enty of those ready, too. 0hat 'ood wo !d it be to me if yo were o t of the way, as yo say5 Not the s!i'htest. He can ma&e the affair &nown e"erywhere. and if he does, I may be fa!se!y s spected of ha"in' been a party to yo r crimina! action. :ery !i&e!y peop!e wi!! thin& I was behind it a!!--that it was I who prompted yo ) And I ha"e to than& yo for a!! this--yo whom I ha"e cherished d rin' the who!e of o r married !ife. +o yo nderstand now what it is yo ha"e done for me5 Nora [co!d!y and / iet!y(. 3es.
He!mer. It is so incredib!e that I can%t ta&e it in. , t we m st come to some nderstandin'. Ta&e off that shaw!. Ta&e it off, I te!! yo . I m st try and appease him some way or another. The matter m st be h shed p at any cost. And as for yo and me, it m st appear as if e"erythin' between s were 2 st as before--b t nat ra!!y on!y in the eyes of the wor!d. 3o wi!! sti!! remain in my ho se, that is a matter of co rse. , t I sha!! not a!!ow yo to brin' p the chi!dren. I dare not tr st them to yo . To thin& that I sho !d be ob!i'ed to say so to one whom I ha"e !o"ed so dear!y, and whom I sti!!--. No, that is a!! o"er. ;rom this moment happiness is not the / estion. a!! that concerns s is to sa"e the remains, the fra'ments, the appearance-[A rin' is heard at the front-door be!!.( He!mer [with a start(. 0hat is that5 So !ate) Can the worst--5 Can he--5 Hide yo rse!f, Nora. Say yo are i!!. [N#$A stands motion!ess. HE4ME$ 'oes and n!oc&s the ha!! door.( Maid [ha!f-dressed, comes to the door(. A !etter for the mistress. He!mer. *i"e it to me. [Ta&es the !etter, and sh ts the door.( 3es, it is from him. 3o sha!! not ha"e it. I wi!! read it myse!f. Nora. 3es, read it. He!mer [standin' by the !amp(. I scarce!y ha"e the co ra'e to do it. It may mean r in for both of s. No, I m st &now. [Tears open the !etter, r ns his eye o"er a few !ines, !oo&s at a paper enc!osed, and 'i"es a sho t of 2oy.( Nora) [She !oo&s at him / estionin'!y.( Nora)--No, I m st read it once a'ain--. 3es, it is tr e) I am sa"ed) Nora, I am sa"ed) Nora. And I5 He!mer. 3o too, of co rse. we are both sa"ed, both yo and I. 4oo&, he sends yo yo r bond bac&. He says he re'rets and repents--that a happy chan'e in his !ife-ne"er mind what he says) 0e are sa"ed, Nora) No one can do anythin' to yo . #h, Nora, Nora)--no, first I m st destroy these hatef ! thin's. 4et me see--. [Ta&es a !oo& at the bond.( No, no, I won%t !oo& at it. The who!e thin' sha!! be nothin' b t a bad dream to me. [Tears p the bond and both !etters, throws them a!! into the sto"e, and watches them b rn.( There--now it doesn%t e-ist any !on'er. He says that since Christmas E"e yo --. These m st ha"e been three dreadf ! days for yo , Nora. Nora. I ha"e fo 'ht a hard fi'ht these three days. He!mer. And s ffered a'onies, and seen no way o t b t--. No, we won%t ca!! any of the horrors to mind. 0e wi!! on!y sho t with 2oy, and &eep sayin', 9It%s a!! o"er) It%s a!! o"er)9 4isten to me, Nora. 3o don%t seem to rea!ise that it is a!! o"er. 0hat is this5--s ch a co!d, set face) My poor !itt!e Nora, I / ite nderstand. yo don%t fee! as if yo co !d be!ie"e that I ha"e for'i"en yo . , t it is tr e, Nora, I swear it. I ha"e for'i"en yo e"erythin'. I &now that what yo did, yo did o t of !o"e for me. Nora. That is tr e. He!mer. 3o ha"e !o"ed me as a wife o 'ht to !o"e her h sband. #n!y yo had not s fficient &now!ed'e to 2 d'e of the means yo sed. , t do yo s ppose yo are any the !ess dear to me, beca se yo don%t nderstand how to act on yo r own responsibi!ity5 No, no. on!y !ean on me. I wi!! ad"ise yo and direct yo . I sho !d not be a man if this woman!y he!p!essness did not 2 st 'i"e yo a do b!e attracti"eness
in my eyes. 3o m st not thin& anymore abo t the hard thin's I said in my first moment of consternation, when I tho 'ht e"erythin' was 'oin' to o"erwhe!m me. I ha"e for'i"en yo , Nora. I swear to yo I ha"e for'i"en yo . Nora. Than& yo for yo r for'i"eness. [She 'oes o t thro 'h the door to the ri'ht.( He!mer. No, don%t 'o--. [4oo&s in.( 0hat are yo doin' in there5 Nora [from within(. Ta&in' off my fancy dress. He!mer [standin' at the open door(. 3es, do. Try and ca!m yo rse!f, and ma&e yo r mind easy a'ain, my fri'htened !itt!e sin'in'-bird. ,e at rest, and fee! sec re. I ha"e broad win's to she!ter yo nder. [0a!&s p and down by the door.( How warm and cosy o r home is, Nora. Here is she!ter for yo . here I wi!! protect yo !i&e a h nted do"e that I ha"e sa"ed from a haw&%s c!aws. I wi!! brin' peace to yo r poor beatin' heart. It wi!! come, !itt!e by !itt!e, Nora, be!ie"e me. Tomorrow mornin' yo wi!! !oo& pon it a!! / ite different!y. soon e"erythin' wi!! be 2 st as it was before. :ery soon yo won%t need me to ass re yo that I ha"e for'i"en yo . yo wi!! yo rse!f fee! the certainty that I ha"e done so. Can yo s ppose I sho !d e"er thin& of s ch a thin' as rep diatin' yo , or e"en reproachin' yo 5 3o ha"e no idea what a tr e man%s heart is !i&e, Nora. There is somethin' so indescribab!y sweet and satisfyin', to a man, in the &now!ed'e that he has for'i"en his wife--for'i"en her free!y, and with a!! his heart. It seems as if that had made her, as it were, do b!y his own. he has 'i"en her a new !ife, so to spea&. and she has in a way become both wife and chi!d to him. So yo sha!! be for me after this, my !itt!e scared, he!p!ess dar!in'. Ha"e no an-iety abo t anythin', Nora. on!y be fran& and open with me, and I wi!! ser"e as wi!! and conscience both to yo --. 0hat is this5 Not 'one to bed5 Ha"e yo chan'ed yo r thin's5 Nora [in e"eryday dress(. 3es, Tor"a!d, I ha"e chan'ed my thin's now. He!mer. , t what for5--so !ate as this. Nora. I sha!! not s!eep toni'ht. He!mer. , t, my dear Nora-Nora [!oo&in' at her watch(. It is not so "ery !ate. Sit down here, Tor"a!d. 3o and I ha"e m ch to say to one another. [She sits down at one side of the tab!e.( He!mer. Nora--what is this5--this co!d, set face5 Nora. Sit down. It wi!! ta&e some time. I ha"e a !ot to ta!& o"er with yo . He!mer [sits down at the opposite side of the tab!e(. 3o a!arm me, Nora)--and I don%t nderstand yo . Nora. No, that is 2 st it. 3o don%t nderstand me, and I ha"e ne"er nderstood yo either--before toni'ht. No, yo m stn%t interr pt me. 3o m st simp!y !isten to what I say. Tor"a!d, this is a sett!in' of acco nts. He!mer. 0hat do yo mean by that5 Nora [after a short si!ence(. Isn%t there one thin' that stri&es yo as stran'e in o r sittin' here !i&e this5 He!mer. 0hat is that5 Nora. 0e ha"e been married now ei'ht years. +oes it not occ r to yo that this is the first time we two, yo and I, h sband and wife, ha"e had a serio s
con"ersation5 He!mer. 0hat do yo mean by serio s5 Nora. In a!! these ei'ht years--!on'er than that--from the "ery be'innin' of o r ac/ aintance, we ha"e ne"er e-chan'ed a word on any serio s s b2ect. He!mer. 0as it !i&e!y that I wo !d be contin a!!y and fore"er te!!in' yo abo t worries that yo co !d not he!p me to bear5 Nora. I am not spea&in' abo t b siness matters. I say that we ha"e ne"er sat down in earnest to'ether to try and 'et at the bottom of anythin'. He!mer. , t, dearest Nora, wo !d it ha"e been any 'ood to yo 5 Nora. That is 2 st it. yo ha"e ne"er nderstood me. I ha"e been 'reat!y wron'ed, Tor"a!d--first by papa and then by yo . He!mer. 0hat) ,y s two--by s two, who ha"e !o"ed yo better than anyone e!se in the wor!d5 Nora [sha&in' her head(. 3o ha"e ne"er !o"ed me. 3o ha"e on!y tho 'ht it p!easant to be in !o"e with me. He!mer. Nora, what do I hear yo sayin'5 Nora. It is perfect!y tr e, Tor"a!d. 0hen I was at home with papa, he to!d me his opinion abo t e"erythin', and so I had the same opinions. and if I differed from him I concea!ed the fact, beca se he wo !d not ha"e !i&ed it. He ca!!ed me his do!!-chi!d, and he p!ayed with me 2 st as I sed to p!ay with my do!!s. And when I came to !i"e with yo -He!mer. 0hat sort of an e-pression is that to se abo t o r marria'e5 Nora [ ndist rbed(. I mean that I was simp!y transferred from papa%s hands into yo rs. 3o arran'ed e"erythin' accordin' to yo r own taste, and so I 'ot the same tastes as yo r e!se I pretended to, I am rea!!y not / ite s re which--I thin& sometimes the one and sometimes the other. 0hen I !oo& bac& on it, it seems to me as if I had been !i"in' here !i&e a poor woman--2 st from hand to mo th. I ha"e e-isted mere!y to perform tric&s for yo , Tor"a!d. , t yo wo !d ha"e it so. 3o and papa ha"e committed a 'reat sin a'ainst me. It is yo r fa !t that I ha"e made nothin' of my !ife. He!mer. How nreasonab!e and how n'ratef ! yo are, Nora) Ha"e yo not been happy here5 Nora. No, I ha"e ne"er been happy. I tho 'ht I was, b t it has ne"er rea!!y been so. He!mer. Not--not happy) Nora. No, on!y merry. And yo ha"e a!ways been so &ind to me. , t o r home has been nothin' b t a p!ayroom. I ha"e been yo r do!!-wife, 2 st as at home I was papa%s do!!-chi!d. and here the chi!dren ha"e been my do!!s. I tho 'ht it 'reat f n when yo p!ayed with me, 2 st as they tho 'ht it 'reat f n when I p!ayed with them. That is what o r marria'e has been, Tor"a!d. He!mer. There is some tr th in what yo say--e-a''erated and strained as yo r "iew of it is. , t for the f t re it sha!! be different. 6!aytime sha!! be o"er, and !essontime sha!! be'in. Nora. 0hose !essons5 Mine, or the chi!dren%s5
He!mer. ,oth yo rs and the chi!dren%s, my dar!in' Nora. Nora. A!as, Tor"a!d, yo are not the man to ed cate me into bein' a proper wife for yo . He!mer. And yo can say that) Nora. And I--how am I fitted to brin' p the chi!dren5 He!mer. Nora) Nora. +idn%t yo say so yo rse!f a !itt!e whi!e a'o--that yo dare not tr st me to brin' them p5 He!mer. In a moment of an'er) 0hy do yo pay any heed to that5 Nora. Indeed, yo were perfect!y ri'ht. I am not fit for the tas&. There is another tas& I m st nderta&e first. I m st try and ed cate myse!f--yo are not the man to he!p me in that. I m st do that for myse!f. And that is why I am 'oin' to !ea"e yo now. He!mer [sprin'in' p(. 0hat do yo say5 Nora. I m st stand / ite a!one, if I am to nderstand myse!f and e"erythin' abo t me. It is for that reason that I cannot remain with yo any !on'er. He!mer. Nora, Nora) Nora. I am 'oin' away from here now, at once. I am s re Christine wi!! ta&e me in for the ni'ht-He!mer. 3o are o t of yo r mind) I won%t a!!ow it) I forbid yo ) Nora. It is no se forbiddin' me anythin' any !on'er. I wi!! ta&e with me what be!on's to myse!f. I wi!! ta&e nothin' from yo , either now or !ater. He!mer. 0hat sort of madness is this) Nora. Tomorrow I sha!! 'o home--I mean, to my o!d home. It wi!! be easiest for me to find somethin' to do there. He!mer. 3o b!ind, foo!ish woman) Nora. I m st try and 'et some sense, Tor"a!d. He!mer. To desert yo r home, yo r h sband and yo r chi!dren) And yo don%t consider what peop!e wi!! say) Nora. I cannot consider that at a!!. I on!y &now that it is necessary for me. He!mer. It%s shoc&in'. This is how yo wo !d ne'!ect yo r most sacred d ties. Nora. 0hat do yo consider my most sacred d ties5 He!mer. +o I need to te!! yo that5 Are they not yo r d ties to yo r h sband and yo r chi!dren5 Nora. I ha"e other d ties 2 st as sacred. He!mer. That yo ha"e not. 0hat d ties co !d those be5 Nora. + ties to myse!f. He!mer. ,efore a!! e!se, yo are a wife and a mother. Nora. I don%t be!ie"e that any !on'er. I be!ie"e that before a!! e!se I am a reasonab!e h man bein', 2 st as yo are--or, at a!! e"ents, that I m st try and become one. I
&now / ite we!!, Tor"a!d, that most peop!e wo !d thin& yo ri'ht, and that "iews of that &ind are to be fo nd in boo&s. b t I can no !on'er content myse!f with what most peop!e say, or with what is fo nd in boo&s. I m st thin& o"er thin's for myse!f and 'et to nderstand them. He!mer. Can yo not nderstand yo r p!ace in yo r own home5 Ha"e yo not a re!iab!e ' ide in s ch matters as that5--ha"e yo no re!i'ion5 Nora. I am afraid, Tor"a!d, I do not e-act!y &now what re!i'ion is. He!mer. 0hat are yo sayin'5 Nora. I &now nothin' b t what the c!er'yman said, when I went to be confirmed. He to!d s that re!i'ion was this, and that, and the other. 0hen I am away from a!! this, and am a!one, I wi!! !oo& into that matter too. I wi!! see if what the c!er'yman said is tr e, or at a!! e"ents if it is tr e for me. He!mer. This is nheard of in a 'ir! of yo r a'e) , t if re!i'ion cannot !ead yo ari'ht, !et me try and awa&en yo r conscience. I s ppose yo ha"e some mora! sense5 #r--answer me--am I to thin& yo ha"e none5 Nora. I ass re yo , Tor"a!d, that is not an easy / estion to answer. I rea!!y don%t &now. The thin' perp!e-es me a!to'ether. I on!y &now that yo and I !oo& at it in / ite a different !i'ht. I am !earnin', too, that the !aw is / ite another thin' from what I s pposed. b t I find it impossib!e to con"ince myse!f that the !aw is ri'ht. Accordin' to it a woman has no ri'ht to spare her o!d dyin' father, or to sa"e her h sband%s !ife. I can%t be!ie"e that. He!mer. 3o ta!& !i&e a chi!d. 3o don%t nderstand the conditions of the wor!d in which yo !i"e. Nora. No, I don%t. , t now I am 'oin' to try. I am 'oin' to see if I can ma&e o t who is ri'ht, the wor!d or I. He!mer. 3o are i!!, Nora. yo are de!irio s. I a!most thin& yo are o t of yo r mind. Nora. I ha"e ne"er fe!t my mind so c!ear and certain as toni'ht. He!mer. And is it with a c!ear and certain mind that yo forsa&e yo r h sband and yo r chi!dren5 Nora. 3es, it is. He!mer. Then there is on!y one possib!e e-p!anation. Nora. 0hat is that5 He!mer. 3o do not !o"e me anymore. Nora. No, that is 2 st it. He!mer. Nora)--and yo can say that5 Nora. It 'i"es me 'reat pain, Tor"a!d, for yo ha"e a!ways been so &ind to me, b t I cannot he!p it. I do not !o"e yo any more. He!mer [re'ainin' his compos re(. Is that a c!ear and certain con"iction too5 Nora. 3es, abso! te!y c!ear and certain. That is the reason why I wi!! not stay here any !on'er. He!mer. And can yo te!! me what I ha"e done to forfeit yo r !o"e5 Nora. 3es, indeed I can. It was toni'ht, when the wonderf ! thin' did not happen.
then I saw yo were not the man I had tho 'ht yo were. He!mer. E-p!ain yo rse!f better. I don%t nderstand yo . Nora. I ha"e waited so patient!y for ei'ht years. for, 'oodness &nows, I &new "ery we!! that wonderf ! thin's don%t happen e"ery day. Then this horrib!e misfort ne came pon me. and then I fe!t / ite certain that the wonderf ! thin' was 'oin' to happen at !ast. 0hen 7ro'stad%s !etter was !yin' o t there, ne"er for a moment did I ima'ine that yo wo !d consent to accept this man%s conditions. I was so abso! te!y certain that yo wo !d say to him> 6 b!ish the thin' to the who!e wor!d. And when that was done-He!mer. 3es, what then5--when I had e-posed my wife to shame and dis'race5 Nora. 0hen that was done, I was so abso! te!y certain, yo wo !d come forward and ta&e e"erythin' pon yo rse!f, and say> I am the ' i!ty one. He!mer. Nora--) Nora. 3o mean that I wo !d ne"er ha"e accepted s ch a sacrifice on yo r part5 No, of co rse not. , t what wo !d my ass rances ha"e been worth a'ainst yo rs5 That was the wonderf ! thin' which I hoped for and feared. and it was to pre"ent that, that I wanted to &i!! myse!f. He!mer. I wo !d '!ad!y wor& ni'ht and day for yo , Nora--bear sorrow and want for yo r sa&e. , t no man wo !d sacrifice his hono r for the one he !o"es. Nora. It is a thin' h ndreds of tho sands of women ha"e done. He!mer. #h, yo thin& and ta!& !i&e a heed!ess chi!d. Nora. Maybe. , t yo neither thin& nor ta!& !i&e the man I co !d bind myse!f to. As soon as yo r fear was o"er--and it was not fear for what threatened me, b t for what mi'ht happen to yo --when the who!e thin' was past, as far as yo were concerned it was e-act!y as if nothin' at a!! had happened. E-act!y as before, I was yo r !itt!e s&y!ar&, yo r do!!, which yo wo !d in f t re treat with do b!y 'ent!e care, beca se it was so britt!e and fra'i!e. [*ettin' p.( Tor"a!d--it was then it dawned pon me that for ei'ht years I had been !i"in' here with a stran'e man, and had borne him three chi!dren--. #h, I can%t bear to thin& of it) I co !d tear myse!f into !itt!e bits) He!mer [sad!y(. I see, I see. An abyss has opened between s--there is no denyin' it. , t, Nora, wo !d it not be possib!e to fi!! it p5 Nora. As I am now, I am no wife for yo . He!mer. I ha"e it in me to become a different man. Nora. 6erhaps--if yo r do!! is ta&en away from yo . He!mer. , t to part)--to part from yo ) No, no, Nora, I can%t nderstand that idea. Nora ['oin' o t to the ri'ht(. That ma&es it a!! the more certain that it m st be done. [She comes bac& with her c!oa& and hat and a sma!! ba' which she p ts on a chair by the tab!e.( He!mer. Nora, Nora, not now) 0ait nti! tomorrow. Nora [p ttin' on her c!oa&(. I cannot spend the ni'ht in a stran'e man%s room. He!mer. , t can%t we !i"e here !i&e brother and sister--5
Nora [p ttin' on her hat(. 3o &now "ery we!! that wo !d not !ast !on'. [6 ts the shaw! ro nd her.( *oodbye, Tor"a!d. I won%t see the !itt!e ones. I &now they are in better hands than mine. As I am now, I can be of no se to them. He!mer. , t some day, Nora--some day5 Nora. How can I te!!5 I ha"e no idea what is 'oin' to become of me. He!mer. , t yo are my wife, whate"er becomes of yo . Nora. 4isten, Tor"a!d. I ha"e heard that when a wife deserts her h sband%s ho se, as I am doin' now, he is !e'a!!y freed from a!! ob!i'ations towards her. In any case, I set yo free from a!! yo r ob!i'ations. 3o are not to fee! yo rse!f bo nd in the s!i'htest way, any more than I sha!!. There m st be perfect freedom on both sides. See, here is yo r rin' bac&. *i"e me mine. He!mer. That too5 Nora. That too. He!mer. Here it is. Nora. That%s ri'ht. Now it is a!! o"er. I ha"e p t the &eys here. The maids &now a!! abo t e"erythin' in the ho se--better than I do. Tomorrow, after I ha"e !eft her, Christine wi!! come here and pac& p my own thin's that I bro 'ht with me from home. I wi!! ha"e them sent after me. He!mer. A!! o"er) A!! o"er)--Nora, sha!! yo ne"er thin& of me a'ain5 Nora. I &now I sha!! often thin& of yo , the chi!dren, and this ho se. He!mer. May I write to yo , Nora5 Nora. No--ne"er. 3o m st not do that. He!mer. , t at !east !et me send yo -Nora. Nothin'--nothin'-He!mer. 4et me he!p yo if yo are in want. Nora. No. I can recei"e nothin' from a stran'er. He!mer. Nora--can I ne"er be anythin' more than a stran'er to yo 5 Nora [ta&in' her ba'(. Ah, Tor"a!d, the most wonderf ! thin' of a!! wo !d ha"e to happen. He!mer. Te!! me what that wo !d be) Nora. ,oth yo and I wo !d ha"e to be so chan'ed that--. #h, Tor"a!d, I don%t be!ie"e any !on'er in wonderf ! thin's happenin'. He!mer. , t I wi!! be!ie"e in it. Te!! me) So chan'ed that--5 Nora. That o r !ife to'ether wo !d be a rea! wed!oc&. *oodbye. [She 'oes o t thro 'h the ha!!.( He!mer [sin&s down on a chair at the door and b ries his face in his hands(. Nora) Nora) [4oo&s ro nd, and rises.( Empty. She is 'one. [A hope f!ashes across his mind.( The most wonderf ! thin' of a!!--5 [The so nd of a door sh ttin' is heard from be!ow.(
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