Act One
Act Two
Act Three
Prepared by Martin Adamson  <>
(Translation Unknown)


by Henrik Ibsen


Torvald Helmer.

Nora, his wife.

Doctor Rank.

Mrs. Linde.

Nils Krogstad.

Helmer's three young children.

Anne, their nurse.

A Housemaid.

A Porter.

(The action takes place in Helmer's house.)



(SCENE.--A room furnished comfortably and tastefully, but not

extravagantly. At the back, a door to the right leads to the

entrance-hall, another to the left leads to Helmer's study.

Between the doors stands a piano. In the middle of the left-hand

wall is a door, and beyond it a window. Near the window are a

round table, arm-chairs and a small sofa. In the right-hand wall,

at the farther end, another door; and on the same side, nearer

the footlights, a stove, two easy chairs and a rocking-chair;

between the stove and the door, a small table. Engravings on the

walls; a cabinet with china and other small objects; a small

book-case with well-bound books. The floors are carpeted, and a

fire burns in the stove. It is winter.

A bell rings in the hall; shortly afterwards the door is heard to

open. Enter NORA, humming a tune and in high spirits. She is in

outdoor dress and carries a number of parcels; these she lays on

the table to the right. She leaves the outer door open after her,

and through it is seen a PORTER who is carrying a Christmas Tree

and a basket, which he gives to the MAID who has opened the


Nora. Hide the Christmas Tree carefully, Helen. Be sure the

children do not see it until this evening, when it is dressed. (To

the PORTER, taking out her purse.) How much?

Porter. Sixpence.

Nora. There is a shilling. No, keep the change. (The PORTER

thanks her, and goes out. NORA shuts the door. She is laughing to

herself, as she takes off her hat and coat. She takes a packet of

macaroons from her pocket and eats one or two; then goes

cautiously to her husband's door and listens.) Yes, he is in.

(Still humming, she goes to the table on the right.)

Helmer (calls out from his room). Is that my little lark

twittering out there?

Nora (busy opening some of the parcels). Yes, it is!

Helmer. Is it my little squirrel bustling about?

Nora. Yes!

Helmer. When did my squirrel come home?

Nora. Just now. (Puts the bag of macaroons into her pocket and

wipes her mouth.) Come in here, Torvald, and see what I have


Helmer. Don't disturb me. (A little later, he opens the door and

looks into the room, pen in hand.) Bought, did you say? All these

things? Has my little spendthrift been wasting money again?

Nora. Yes but, Torvald, this year we really can let ourselves go

a little. This is the first Christmas that we have not needed to


Helmer. Still, you know, we can't spend money recklessly. Nora.

Yes, Torvald, we may be a wee bit more reckless now, mayn't we?

Just a tiny wee bit! You are going to have a big salary and earn

lots and lots of money.

Helmer. Yes, after the New Year; but then it will be a whole

quarter before the salary is due.

Nora. Pooh! we can borrow until then.

Helmer. Nora! (Goes up to her and takes her playfully by the

ear.) The same little featherhead! Suppose, now, that I borrowed

fifty pounds today, and you spent it all in the Christmas week,

and then on New Year's Eve a slate fell on my head and killed me,

and--Nora (putting her hands over his mouth). Oh! don't say such

horrid things.

Helmer. Still, suppose that happened,--what then?

Nora. If that were to happen, I don't suppose I should care

whether I owed money or not.

Helmer. Yes, but what about the people who had lent it?

Nora. They? Who would bother about them? I should not know who they


Helmer. That is like a woman! But seriously, Nora, you know what

I think about that. No debt, no borrowing. There can be no

freedom or beauty about a home life that depends on borrowing and

debt. We two have kept bravely on the straight road so far, and

we will go on the same way for the short time longer that there

need be any struggle.

Nora (moving towards the stove). As you please, Torvald.

Helmer (following her). Come, come, my little skylark must not

droop her wings. What is this! Is my little squirrel out of

temper? (Taking out his purse.) Nora, what do you think I have

got here?

Nora (turning round quickly). Money!

Helmer. There you are. (Gives her some money.) Do you think I

don't know what a lot is wanted for housekeeping at Christmas-


Nora (counting). Ten shillings--a pound--two pounds! Thank you,

thank you, Torvald; that will keep me going for a long time.

Helmer. Indeed it must.

Nora. Yes, yes, it will. But come here and let me show you what I

have bought. And all so cheap! Look, here is a new suit for Ivar,

and a sword; and a horse and a trumpet for Bob; and a doll and

dolly's bedstead for Emmy,--they are very plain, but anyway she

will soon break them in pieces. And here are dress-lengths and

handkerchiefs for the maids; old Anne ought really to have

something better.

Helmer. And what is in this parcel?

Nora (crying out). No, no! you mustn't see that until this


Helmer. Very well. But now tell me, you extravagant little

person, what would you like for yourself?

Nora. For myself? Oh, I am sure I don't want anything.

Helmer. Yes, but you must. Tell me something reasonable that you

would particularly like to have.

Nora. No, I really can't think of anything--unless, Torvald--

Helmer. Well?

Nora (playing with his coat buttons, and without raising her eyes

to his). If you really want to give me something, you might--you


Helmer. Well, out with it!

Nora (speaking quickly). You might give me money, Torvald. Only

just as much as you can afford; and then one of these days I will

buy something with it.

Helmer. But, Nora--Nora. Oh, do! dear Torvald; please, please do!

Then I will wrap it up in beautiful gilt paper and hang it on the

Christmas Tree. Wouldn't that be fun?

Helmer. What are little people called that are always wasting


Nora. Spendthrifts--I know. Let us do as you suggest, Torvald,

and then I shall have time to think what I am most in want of.

That is a very sensible plan, isn't it?

Helmer (smiling). Indeed it is--that is to say, if you were

really to save out of the money I give you, and then really buy

something for yourself. But if you spend it all on the

housekeeping and any number of unnecessary things, then I merely

have to pay up again.

Nora. Oh but, Torvald--

Helmer. You can't deny it, my dear little Nora. (Puts his arm

round her waist.) It's a sweet little spendthrift, but she uses

up a deal of money. One would hardly believe how expensive such

little persons are!

Nora. It's a shame to say that. I do really save all I can.

Helmer (laughing). That's very true,--all you can. But you can't

save anything!

Nora (smiling quietly and happily). You haven't any idea how many

expenses we skylarks and squirrels have, Torvald.

Helmer. You are an odd little soul. Very like your father. You

always find some new way of wheedling money out of me, and, as

soon as you have got it, it seems to melt in your hands. You

never know where it has gone. Still, one must take you as you

are. It is in the blood; for indeed it is true that you can

inherit these things, Nora.

Nora. Ah, I wish I had inherited many of papa's qualities.

Helmer. And I would not wish you to be anything but just what you

are, my sweet little skylark. But, do you know, it strikes me

that you are looking rather--what shall I say--rather uneasy today?

Nora. Do I?

Helmer. You do, really. Look straight at me.

Nora (looks at him). Well?

Helmer (wagging his finger at her). Hasn't Miss Sweet Tooth been

breaking rules in town today?

Nora. No; what makes you think that?

Helmer. Hasn't she paid a visit to the confectioner's?

Nora. No, I assure you, Torvald--

Helmer. Not been nibbling sweets?

Nora. No, certainly not.

Helmer. Not even taken a bite at a macaroon or two?

Nora. No, Torvald, I assure you really--

Helmer. There, there, of course I was only joking.

Nora (going to the table on the right). I should not think of

going against your wishes.

Helmer. No, I am sure of that; besides, you gave me your word--

(Going up to her.) Keep your little Christmas secrets to

yourself, my darling. They will all be revealed tonight when the

Christmas Tree is lit, no doubt.

Nora. Did you remember to invite Doctor Rank?

Helmer. No. But there is no need; as a matter of course he will

come to dinner with us. However, I will ask him when he comes in

this morning. I have ordered some good wine. Nora, you can't

think how I am looking forward to this evening.

Nora. So am I! And how the children will enjoy themselves, Torvald!

Helmer. It is splendid to feel that one has a perfectly safe

appointment, and a big enough income. It's delightful to think

of, isn't it?

Nora. It's wonderful!

Helmer. Do you remember last Christmas? For a full three weeks

beforehand you shut yourself up every evening until long after

midnight, making ornaments for the Christmas Tree, and all the

other fine things that were to be a surprise to us. It was the

dullest three weeks I ever spent!

Nora. I didn't find it dull.

Helmer (smiling). But there was precious little result, Nora.

Nora. Oh, you shouldn't tease me about that again. How could I

help the cat's going in and tearing everything to pieces?

Helmer. Of course you couldn't, poor little girl. You had the

best of intentions to please us all, and that's the main thing.

But it is a good thing that our hard times are over.

Nora. Yes, it is really wonderful.

Helmer. This time I needn't sit here and be dull all alone, and

you needn't ruin your dear eyes and your pretty little hands--

Nora (clapping her hands). No, Torvald, I needn't any longer,

need I!  It's wonderfully lovely to hear you say so! (Taking his

arm.) Now I will tell you how I have been thinking we ought to

arrange things, Torvald. As soon as Christmas is over--(A bell

rings in the hall.) There's the bell. (She tidies the room a

little.) There's some one at the door. What a nuisance!

Helmer. If it is a caller, remember I am not at home.

Maid (in the doorway). A lady to see you, ma'am,--a stranger.

Nora. Ask her to come in.

Maid (to HELMER). The doctor came at the same time, sir.

Helmer. Did he go straight into my room?

Maid. Yes, sir.

(HELMER goes into his room. The MAID ushers in Mrs. LINDE, who is

in travelling dress, and shuts the door.) Mrs. Linde (in a

dejected and timid voice). How do you do, Nora?

Nora (doubtfully). How do you do--Mrs. Linde. You don't recognise

me, I suppose.

Nora. No, I don't know--yes, to be sure, I seem to--(Suddenly.)

Yes! Christine! Is it really you?

Mrs. Linde. Yes, it is I.

Nora. Christine! To think of my not recognising you! And yet how

could I--(In a gentle voice.) How you have altered, Christine!

Mrs. Linde. Yes, I have indeed. In nine, ten long years--

Nora. Is it so long since we met? I suppose it is. The last eight

years have been a happy time for me, I can tell you. And so now

you have come into the town, and have taken this long journey in

winter--that was plucky of you.

Mrs. Linde. I arrived by steamer this morning.

Nora. To have some fun at Christmas-time, of course. How

delightful! We will have such fun together! But take off your

things. You are not cold, I hope. (Helps her.) Now we will sit

down by the stove, and be cosy. No, take this armchair; I will

sit here in the rocking-chair. (Takes her hands.) Now you look

like your old self again; it was only the first moment--You are a

little paler, Christine, and perhaps a little thinner.

Mrs. Linde. And much, much older, Nora.

Nora. Perhaps a little older; very, very little; certainly not

much. (Stops suddenly and speaks seriously.) What a thoughtless

creature I am, chattering away like this. My poor, dear Christine,

do forgive me.

Mrs. Linde. What do you mean, Nora?

Nora (gently). Poor Christine, you are a widow.

Mrs. Linde. Yes; it is three years ago now.

Nora. Yes, I knew; I saw it in the papers. I assure you,

Christine, I meant ever so often to write to you at the time, but

I always put it off and something always prevented me.

Mrs. Linde. I quite understand, dear.

Nora. It was very bad of me, Christine. Poor thing, how you must

have suffered. And he left you nothing?

Mrs. Linde. No.

Nora. And no children?

Mrs. Linde. No.

Nora. Nothing at all, then.

Mrs. Linde. Not even any sorrow or grief to live upon.

Nora (looking incredulously at her). But, Christine, is that


Mrs. Linde (smiles sadly and strokes her hair). It sometimes

happens, Nora.

Nora. So you are quite alone. How dreadfully sad that must be. I

have three lovely children. You can't see them just now, for they

are out with their nurse. But now you must tell me all about it.

Mrs. Linde. No, no; I want to hear about you.

Nora. No, you must begin. I mustn't be selfish today; today I

must only think of your affairs. But there is one thing I must

tell you. Do you know we have just had a great piece of good


Mrs. Linde. No, what is it?

Nora. Just fancy, my husband has been made manager of the Bank!

Mrs. Linde. Your husband? What good luck!

Nora. Yes, tremendous! A barrister's profession is such an

uncertain thing, especially if he won't undertake unsavoury

cases; and naturally Torvald has never been willing to do that,

and I quite agree with him. You may imagine how pleased we are!

He is to take up his work in the Bank at the New Year, and then

he will have a big salary and lots of commissions. For the future

we can live quite differently--we can do just as we like. I feel

so relieved and so happy, Christine! It will be splendid to have

heaps of money and not need to have any anxiety, won't it?

Mrs. Linde. Yes, anyhow I think it would be delightful to have

what one needs.

Nora. No, not only what one needs, but heaps and heaps of money.

Mrs. Linde (smiling). Nora, Nora, haven't you learned sense yet?

In our schooldays you were a great spendthrift.

Nora (laughing). Yes, that is what Torvald says now. (Wags her

linger at her.) But "Nora, Nora" is not so silly as you think. We

have not been in a position for me to waste money. We have both

had to work.

Mrs. Linde. You too?

Nora. Yes; odds and ends, needlework, crotchet-work, embroidery,

and that kind of thing. (Dropping her voice.) And other things as

well. You know Torvald left his office when we were married?

There was no prospect of promotion there, and he had to try and

earn more than before. But during the first year he over-worked

himself dreadfully. You see, he had to make money every way he

could, and he worked early and late; but he couldn't stand it,

and fell dreadfully ill, and the doctors said it was necessary

for him to go south.

Mrs. Linde. You spent a whole year in Italy, didn't you?

Nora.  Yes. It was no easy matter to get away, I can tell you. It was

just after Ivar was born; but naturally we had to go. It was a

wonderfully beautiful journey, and it saved Torvald's life. But

it cost a tremendous lot of money, Christine.

Mrs. Linde. So I should think.

Nora. It cost about two hundred and fifty pounds. That's a lot,

isn't it?

Mrs. Linde. Yes, and in emergencies like that it is lucky to have

the money.

Nora. I ought to tell you that we had it from papa.

Mrs. Linde. Oh, I see. It was just about that time that he died,

wasn't it?

Nora. Yes; and, just think of it, I couldn't go and nurse him. I

was expecting little Ivar's birth every day and I had my poor

sick Torvald to look after. My dear, kind father--I never saw him

again, Christine. That was the saddest time I have known since

our marriage.

Mrs. Linde. I know how fond you were of him. And then you went

off to Italy?

Nora. Yes; you see we had money then, and the doctors insisted on

our going, so we started a month later.

Mrs. Linde. And your husband came back quite well?

Nora. As sound as a bell!

Mrs. Linde. But--the doctor?

Nora. What doctor?

Mrs. Linde. I thought your maid said the gentleman who arrived

here just as I did, was the doctor?

Nora. Yes, that was Doctor Rank, but he doesn't come here

professionally. He is our greatest friend, and comes in at least

once everyday. No, Torvald has not had an hour's illness since

then, and our children are strong and healthy and so am I. (Jumps

up and claps her hands.) Christine! Christine! it's good to be

alive and happy!--But how horrid of me; I am talking of nothing

but my own affairs. (Sits on a stool near her, and rests her arms

on her knees.) You mustn't be angry with me. Tell me, is it

really true that you did not love your husband? Why did you marry


Mrs. Linde. My mother was alive then, and was bedridden and

helpless, and I had to provide for my two younger brothers; so I

did not think I was justified in refusing his offer.

Nora. No, perhaps you were quite right. He was rich at that time,


Mrs. Linde. I believe he was quite well off. But his business was

a precarious one; and, when he died, it all went to pieces and

there was nothing left.

Nora. And then?--

Mrs. Linde. Well, I had to turn my hand to anything I could find-

-first a small shop, then a small school, and so on. The last

three years have seemed like one long working-day, with no rest.

Now it is at an end, Nora. My poor mother needs me no more, for

she is gone; and the boys do not need me either; they have got

situations and can shift for themselves.

Nora. What a relief you must feel if--

Mrs. Linde. No, indeed; I only feel my life unspeakably empty. No

one to live for anymore. (Gets up restlessly.) That was why I

could not stand the life in my little backwater any longer. I

hope it may be easier here to find something which will busy me

and occupy my thoughts. If only I could have the good luck to get

some regular work--office work of some kind--

Nora. But, Christine, that is so frightfully tiring, and you look

tired out now. You had far better go away to some watering-place.

Mrs. Linde (walking to the window). I have no father to give me

money for a journey, Nora.

Nora (rising). Oh, don't be angry with me!

Mrs. Linde (going up to her). It is you that must not be angry

with me, dear. The worst of a position like mine is that it makes

one so bitter. No one to work for, and yet obliged to be always

on the lookout for chances. One must live, and so one becomes

selfish. When you told me of the happy turn your fortunes have

taken--you will hardly believe it--I was delighted not so much on

your account as on my own.

Nora. How do you mean?--Oh, I understand. You mean that perhaps

Torvald could get you something to do.

Mrs. Linde. Yes, that was what I was thinking of.

Nora. He must, Christine. Just leave it to me; I will broach the

subject very cleverly--I will think of something that will please

him very much. It will make me so happy to be of some use to you.

Mrs. Linde. How kind you are, Nora, to be so anxious to help me!

It is doubly kind in you, for you know so little of the burdens

and troubles of life.

Nora. I--? I know so little of them?

Mrs. Linde (smiling). My dear! Small household cares and that

sort of thing!--You are a child, Nora.

Nora (tosses her head and crosses the stage). You ought not to be

so superior.

Mrs. Linde. No?

Nora. You are just like the others. They all think that I am

incapable of anything really serious--

Mrs. Linde. Come, come--

Nora.--that I have gone through nothing in this world of cares.

Mrs. Linde. But, my dear Nora, you have just told me all your


Nora. Pooh!--those were trifles. (Lowering her voice.) I have not

told you the important thing.

Mrs. Linde. The important thing? What do you mean?

Nora. You look down upon me altogether, Christine--but you ought

not to. You are proud, aren't you, of having worked so hard and

so long for your mother?

Mrs. Linde. Indeed, I don't look down on anyone. But it is true

that I am both proud and glad to think that I was privileged to

make the end of my mother's life almost free from care.

Nora. And you are proud to think of what you have done for your


Mrs. Linde. I think I have the right to be.

Nora. I think so, too. But now, listen to this; I too have

something to be proud and glad of.

Mrs. Linde. I have no doubt you have. But what do you refer to?

Nora. Speak low. Suppose Torvald were to hear! He mustn't on any

account--no one in the world must know, Christine, except you.

Mrs. Linde. But what is it?

Nora. Come here. (Pulls her down on the sofa beside her.) Now I

will show you that I too have something to be proud and glad of.

It was I who saved Torvald's life.

Mrs. Linde. "Saved"? How?

Nora. I told you about our trip to Italy. Torvald would never

have recovered if he had not gone there--

Mrs. Linde. Yes, but your father gave you the necessary funds.

Nora (smiling). Yes, that is what Torvald and all the others

think, but--

Mrs. Linde. But--

Nora. Papa didn't give us a shilling. It was I who procured the


Mrs. Linde. You? All that large sum?

Nora. Two hundred and fifty pounds. What do you think of that?

Mrs. Linde. But, Nora, how could you possibly do it? Did you win

a prize in the Lottery?

Nora (contemptuously). In the Lottery? There would have been no

credit in that.

Mrs. Linde. But where did you get it from, then? Nora (humming

and smiling with an air of mystery). Hm, hm! Aha!

Mrs. Linde. Because you couldn't have borrowed it.

Nora. Couldn't I? Why not?

Mrs. Linde. No, a wife cannot borrow without her husband's


Nora (tossing her head). Oh, if it is a wife who has any head for

business--a wife who has the wit to be a little bit clever--

Mrs. Linde. I don't understand it at all, Nora.

Nora. There is no need you should. I never said I had borrowed

the money. I may have got it some other way. (Lies back on the

sofa.) Perhaps I got it from some other admirer. When anyone is

as attractive as I am--

Mrs. Linde. You are a mad creature.

Nora. Now, you know you're full of curiosity, Christine.

Mrs. Linde. Listen to me, Nora dear. Haven't you been a little

bit imprudent?

Nora (sits up straight). Is it imprudent to save your husband's


Mrs. Linde. It seems to me imprudent, without his knowledge, to--

Nora. But it was absolutely necessary that he should not know! My

goodness, can't you understand that? It was necessary he should

have no idea what a dangerous condition he was in. It was to me

that the doctors came and said that his life was in danger, and

that the only thing to save him was to live in the south. Do you

suppose I didn't try, first of all, to get what I wanted as if it

were for myself? I told him how much I should love to travel

abroad like other young wives; I tried tears and entreaties with

him; I told him that he ought to remember the condition I was in,

and that he ought to be kind and indulgent to me; I even hinted

that he might raise a loan. That nearly made him angry, Christine.

He said I was thoughtless, and that it was his duty as my husband

not to indulge me in my whims and caprices--as I believe he called

them. Very well, I thought, you must be saved--and that was how

I came to devise a way out of the difficulty--

Mrs. Linde. And did your husband never get to know from your

father that the money had not come from him?

Nora. No, never. Papa died just at that time. I had meant to let

him into the secret and beg him never to reveal it. But he was so

ill then--alas, there never was any need to tell him.

Mrs. Linde. And since then have you never told your secret to

your husband?

Nora. Good Heavens, no! How could you think so? A man who has

such strong opinions about these things! And besides, how painful

and humiliating it would be for Torvald, with his manly

independence, to know that he owed me anything! It would upset

our mutual relations altogether; our beautiful happy home would

no longer be what it is now.

Mrs. Linde. Do you mean never to tell him about it?

Nora (meditatively, and with a half smile). Yes--someday,

perhaps, after many years, when I am no longer as nice-looking as

I am now. Don't laugh at me! I mean, of course, when Torvald is

no longer as devoted to me as he is now; when my dancing and

dressing-up and reciting have palled on him; then it may be a

good thing to have something in reserve--(Breaking off.) What

nonsense! That time will never come. Now, what do you think of my

great secret, Christine? Do you still think I am of no use? I can

tell you, too, that this affair has caused me a lot of worry. It

has been by no means easy for me to meet my engagements

punctually. I may tell you that there is something that is

called, in business, quarterly interest, and another thing called

payment in installments, and it is always so dreadfully difficult

to manage them. I have had to save a little here and there, where

I could, you understand. I have not been able to put aside much

from my housekeeping money, for Torvald must have a good table. I

couldn't let my children be shabbily dressed; I have felt obliged

to use up all he gave me for them, the sweet little darlings!

Mrs. Linde. So it has all had to come out of your own necessaries

of life, poor Nora?

Nora. Of course. Besides, I was the one responsible for it. Whenever

Torvald has given me money for new dresses and such things, I have

never spent more than half of it; I have always bought the simplest

and cheapest things. Thank Heaven, any clothes look well on me,

and so Torvald has never noticed it. But it was often very hard

on me, Christine--because it is delightful to be really well

dressed, isn't it?

Mrs. Linde. Quite so.

Nora. Well, then I have found other ways of earning money. Last

winter I was lucky enough to get a lot of copying to do; so I

locked myself up and sat writing every evening until quite late

at night. Many a time I was desperately tired; but all the same

it was a tremendous pleasure to sit there working and earning

money. It was like being a man.

Mrs. Linde. How much have you been able to pay off in that way?

Nora. I can't tell you exactly. You see, it is very difficult to

keep an account of a business matter of that kind. I only know

that I have paid every penny that I could scrape together. Many a

time I was at my wits' end. (Smiles.) Then I used to sit here and

imagine that a rich old gentleman had fallen in love with me--

Mrs. Linde. What! Who was it?

Nora. Be quiet!--that he had died; and that when his will was

opened it contained, written in big letters, the instruction:

"The lovely Mrs. Nora Helmer is to have all I possess paid over

to her at once in cash."

Mrs. Linde. But, my dear Nora--who could the man be?

Nora. Good gracious, can't you understand? There was no old

gentleman at all; it was only something that I used to sit here

and imagine, when I couldn't think of any way of procuring money.

But it's all the same now; the tiresome old person can stay where

he is, as far as I am concerned; I don't care about him or his

will either, for I am free from care now. (Jumps up.) My

goodness, it's delightful to think of, Christine! Free from care!

To be able to be free from care, quite free from care; to be able

to play and romp with the children; to be able to keep the house

beautifully and have everything just as Torvald likes it! And,

think of it, soon the spring will come and the big blue sky!

Perhaps we shall be able to take a little trip--perhaps I shall

see the sea again! Oh, it's a wonderful thing to be alive and be

happy. (A bell is heard in the hall.)

Mrs. Linde (rising). There is the bell; perhaps I had better go.

Nora. No, don't go; no one will come in here; it is sure to be

for Torvald.

Servant (at the hall door). Excuse me, ma'am--there is a

gentleman to see the master, and as the doctor is with him--Nora.

Who is it?

Krogstad (at the door). It is I, Mrs. Helmer. (Mrs. LINDE starts,

trembles, and turns to the window.)

Nora (takes a step towards him, and speaks in a strained, low

voice). You? What is it? What do you want to see my husband


Krogstad. Bank business--in a way. I have a small post in the

Bank, and I hear your husband is to be our chief now--

Nora. Then it is--

Krogstad. Nothing but dry business matters, Mrs. Helmer;

absolutely nothing else.

Nora. Be so good as to go into the study, then. (She bows

indifferently to him and shuts the door into the hall; then comes

back and makes up the fire in the stove.)

Mrs. Linde. Nora--who was that man?

Nora. A lawyer, of the name of Krogstad.

Mrs. Linde. Then it really was he.

Nora. Do you know the man?

Mrs. Linde. I used to-- many years ago. At one time he was a

solicitor's clerk in our town.

Nora. Yes, he was.

Mrs. Linde. He is greatly altered.

Nora. He made a very unhappy marriage.

Mrs. Linde. He is a widower now, isn't he?

Nora. With several children. There now, it is burning up. Shuts

the door of the stove and moves the rocking-chair aside.)

Mrs. Linde. They say he carries on various kinds of business.

Nora. Really! Perhaps he does; I don't know anything about it.

But don't let us think of business; it is so tiresome.

Doctor Rank (comes out of HELMER'S study. Before he shuts the

door he calls to him). No, my dear fellow, I won't disturb you; I

would rather go in to your wife for a little while. (Shuts the

door and sees Mrs. LINDE.) I beg your pardon; I am afraid I am

disturbing you too.

Nora. No, not at all. (Introducing him). Doctor Rank, Mrs. Linde.

Rank. I have often heard Mrs. Linde's name mentioned here. I

think I passed you on the stairs when I arrived, Mrs. Linde?

Mrs. Linde. Yes, I go up very slowly; I can't manage stairs well.

Rank. Ah! some slight internal weakness?

Mrs. Linde. No, the fact is I have been overworking myself.

Rank. Nothing more than that? Then I suppose you have come to

town to amuse yourself with our entertainments?

Mrs. Linde. I have come to look for work.

Rank. Is that a good cure for overwork?

Mrs. Linde. One must live, Doctor Rank.

Rank. Yes, the general opinion seems to be that it is necessary.

Nora. Look here, Doctor Rank--you know you want to live.

Rank. Certainly. However wretched I may feel, I want to prolong

the agony as long as possible. All my patients are like that. And

so are those who are morally diseased; one of them, and a bad

case too, is at this very moment with Helmer--

Mrs. Linde (sadly). Ah!

Nora. Whom do you mean?

Rank. A lawyer of the name of Krogstad, a fellow you don't know

at all. He suffers from a diseased moral character, Mrs. Helmer;

but even he began talking of its being highly important that he

should live.

Nora. Did he? What did he want to speak to Torvald about?

Rank. I have no idea; I only heard that it was something about

the Bank.

Nora. I didn't know this--what's his name--Krogstad had anything

to do with the Bank.

Rank. Yes, he has some sort of appointment there. (To Mrs.

LINDE.) I don't know whether you find also in your part of the

world that there are certain people who go zealously snuffing

about to smell out moral corruption, and, as soon as they have

found some, put the person concerned into some lucrative position

where they can keep their eye on him. Healthy natures are left

out in the cold.

Mrs. Linde. Still I think the sick are those who most need taking

care of.

Rank (shrugging his shoulders). Yes, there you are. That is the

sentiment that is turning Society into a sick-house.

(NORA, who has been absorbed in her thoughts, breaks out into

smothered laughter and claps her hands.)

Rank. Why do you laugh at that? Have you any notion what Society

really is?

Nora. What do I care about tiresome Society? I am laughing at

something quite different, something extremely amusing. Tell me,

Doctor Rank, are all the people who are employed in the Bank

dependent on Torvald now?

Rank. Is that what you find so extremely amusing?

Nora (smiling and humming). That's my affair! (Walking about the

room.) It's perfectly glorious to think that we have--that

Torvald has so much power over so many people. (Takes the packet

from her pocket.) Doctor Rank, what do you say to a macaroon?

Rank. What, macaroons? I thought they were forbidden here.

Nora. Yes, but these are some Christine gave me.

Mrs. Linde. What! I?--

Nora. Oh, well, don't be alarmed! You couldn't know that Torvald

had forbidden them. I must tell you that he is afraid they will

spoil my teeth. But, bah!--once in a way--That's so, isn't it,

Doctor Rank? By your leave! (Puts a macaroon into his mouth.) You

must have one too, Christine. And I shall have one, just a little

one-or at most two. (Walking about.) I am tremendously happy.

There is just one thing in the world now that I should dearly

love to do.

Rank. Well, what is that?

Nora. It's something I should dearly love to say, if Torvald

could hear me.

Rank. Well, why can't you say it?

Nora. No, I daren't; it's so shocking.

Mrs. Linde. Shocking?

Rank. Well, I should not advise you to say it. Still, with us you

might. What is it you would so much like to say if Torvald could

hear you?

Nora. I should just love to say--Well, I'm damned!

Rank. Are you mad?

Mrs. Linde. Nora, dear--!

Rank. Say it, here he is!

Nora (hiding the packet). Hush! Hush! Hush! (HELMER comes out of

his room, with his coat over his arm and his hat in his hand.)

Nora. Well, Torvald dear, have you got rid of him?

Helmer. Yes, he has just gone.

Nora. Let me introduce you--this is Christine, who has come to town.

Helmer. Christine--? Excuse me, but I don't know--

Nora. Mrs. Linde, dear; Christine Linde.

Helmer. Of course. A school friend of my wife's, I presume?

Mrs. Linde. Yes, we have known each other since then.

Nora. And just think, she has taken a long journey in order to see you.

Helmer. What do you mean? Mrs. Linde. No, really, I--

Nora. Christine is tremendously clever at book-keeping, and she

is frightfully anxious to work under some clever man, so as to

perfect herself--

Helmer. Very sensible, Mrs. Linde.

Nora. And when she heard you had been appointed manager of the

Bank--the news was telegraphed, you know--she travelled here as

quick as she could. Torvald, I am sure you will be able to do

something for Christine, for my sake, won't you?

Helmer. Well, it is not altogether impossible. I presume you are

a widow, Mrs. Linde?

Mrs. Linde. Yes.

Helmer. And have had some experience of book-keeping?

Mrs. Linde. Yes, a fair amount.

Helmer. Ah! well, it's very likely I may be able to find

something for you--

Nora (clapping her hands). What did I tell you? What did I tell


Helmer. You have just come at a fortunate moment, Mrs. Linde.

Mrs. Linde. How am I to thank you?

Helmer. There is no need. (Puts on his coat.) But today you must

excuse me--

Rank. Wait a minute; I will come with you. (Brings his fur coat

from the hall and warms it at the fire.)

Nora. Don't be long away, Torvald dear.

Helmer. About an hour, not more.

Nora. Are you going too, Christine?

Mrs. Linde (putting on her cloak). Yes, I must go and look for a


Helmer. Oh, well then, we can walk down the street together.

Nora (helping her). What a pity it is we are so short of space

here; I am afraid it is impossible for us--

Mrs. Linde. Please don't think of it! Goodbye, Nora dear, and

many thanks.

Nora. Goodbye for the present. Of course you will come back this

evening. And you too, Dr. Rank. What do you say? If you are well

enough? Oh, you must be! Wrap yourself up well. (They go to the

door all talking together. Children's voices are heard on the


Nora. There they are! There they are! (She runs to open the door.

The NURSE comes in with the children.) Come in! Come in! (Stoops

and kisses them.) Oh, you sweet blessings! Look at them,

Christine! Aren't they darlings?

Rank. Don't let us stand here in the draught.

Helmer. Come along, Mrs. Linde; the place will only be bearable

for a mother now!

(RANK, HELMER, and Mrs. LINDE go downstairs. The NURSE comes

forward with the children; NORA shuts the hall door.)

Nora. How fresh and well you look! Such red cheeks like apples

and roses. (The children all talk at once while she speaks to

them.) Have you had great fun? That's splendid! What, you pulled

both Emmy and Bob along on the sledge? --both at once?--that was

good. You are a clever boy, Ivar. Let me take her for a little,

Anne. My sweet little baby doll! (Takes the baby from the MAID

and dances it up and down.) Yes, yes, mother will dance with Bob

too. What! Have you been snowballing? I wish I had been there

too! No, no, I will take their things off, Anne; please let me do

it, it is such fun. Go in now, you look half frozen. There is

some hot coffee for you on the stove.

(The NURSE goes into the room on the left. NORA takes off the

children's things and throws them about, while they all talk to

her at once.)

Nora. Really! Did a big dog run after you? But it didn't bite

you? No, dogs don't bite nice little dolly children. You mustn't

look at the parcels, Ivar. What are they? Ah, I daresay you would

like to know. No, no--it's something nasty! Come, let us have a

game! What shall we play at? Hide and Seek? Yes, we'll play Hide

and Seek. Bob shall hide first. Must I hide? Very well, I'll hide

first. (She and the children laugh and shout, and romp in and out

of the room; at last NORA hides under the table, the children

rush in and out for her, but do not see her; they hear her

smothered laughter, run to the table, lift up the cloth and find

her. Shouts of laughter. She crawls forward and pretends to

frighten them. Fresh laughter. Meanwhile there has been a knock

at the hall door, but none of them has noticed it. The door is

half opened, and KROGSTAD appears, lie waits a little; the game

goes on.)

Krogstad. Excuse me, Mrs. Helmer.

Nora (with a stifled cry, turns round and gets up on to her

knees). Ah! what do you want?

Krogstad. Excuse me, the outer door was ajar; I suppose someone

forgot to shut it.

Nora (rising). My husband is out, Mr. Krogstad.

Krogstad. I know that.

Nora. What do you want here, then?

Krogstad. A word with you.

Nora. With me?--(To the children, gently.) Go in to nurse. What?

No, the strange man won't do mother any harm. When he has gone we

will have another game. (She takes the children into the room on

the left, and shuts the door after them.) You want to speak to


Krogstad. Yes, I do.

Nora. Today? It is not the first of the month yet.

Krogstad. No, it is Christmas Eve, and it will depend on yourself

what sort of a Christmas you will spend.

Nora. What do you mean? Today it is absolutely impossible for me--

Krogstad. We won't talk about that until later on. This is

something different. I presume you can give me a moment?

Nora. Yes--yes, I can--although--

Krogstad. Good. I was in Olsen's Restaurant and saw your husband

going down the street--

Nora. Yes?

Krogstad. With a lady.

Nora. What then?

Krogstad. May I make so bold as to ask if it was a Mrs. Linde?

Nora. It was.

Krogstad. Just arrived in town?

Nora. Yes, today.

Krogstad. She is a great friend of yours, isn't she?

Nora. She is. But I don't see--

Krogstad. I knew her too, once upon a time.

Nora. I am aware of that.

Krogstad. Are you? So you know all about it; I thought as much.

Then I can ask you, without beating about the bush--is Mrs. Linde

to have an appointment in the Bank?

Nora. What right have you to question me, Mr. Krogstad?--You, one

of my husband's subordinates! But since you ask, you shall know.

Yes, Mrs. Linde is to have an appointment. And it was I who

pleaded her cause, Mr. Krogstad, let me tell you that.

Krogstad. I was right in what I thought, then.

Nora (walking up and down the stage). Sometimes one has a tiny

little bit of influence, I should hope. Because one is a woman,

it does not necessarily follow that--. When anyone is in a

subordinate position, Mr. Krogstad, they should really be careful

to avoid offending anyone who--who--

Krogstad. Who has influence?

Nora. Exactly.

Krogstad (changing his tone). Mrs. Helmer, you will be so good as

to use your influence on my behalf.

Nora. What? What do you mean?

Krogstad. You will be so kind as to see that I am allowed to keep

my subordinate position in the Bank.

Nora. What do you mean by that? Who proposes to take your post

away from you?

Krogstad. Oh, there is no necessity to keep up the pretence of

ignorance. I can quite understand that your friend is not very

anxious to expose herself to the chance of rubbing shoulders with

me; and I quite understand, too, whom I have to thank for being

turned off.

Nora. But I assure you--

Krogstad. Very likely; but, to come to the point, the time has

come when I should advise you to use your influence to prevent


Nora. But, Mr. Krogstad, I have no influence.

Krogstad. Haven't you? I thought you said yourself just now--

Nora. Naturally I did not mean you to put that construction on

it. I! What should make you think I have any influence of that

kind with my husband?

Krogstad. Oh, I have known your husband from our student days. I

don't suppose he is any more unassailable than other husbands.

Nora. If you speak slightingly of my husband, I shall turn you

out of the house.

Krogstad. You are bold, Mrs. Helmer.

Nora. I am not afraid of you any longer. As soon as the New Year

comes, I shall in a very short time be free of the whole thing.

Krogstad (controlling himself). Listen to me, Mrs. Helmer. If

necessary) I am prepared to fight for my small post in the Bank

as if I were fighting for my life.

Nora. So it seems.

Krogstad. It is not only for the sake of the money; indeed, that

weighs least with me in the matter. There is another reason--

well, I may as well tell you. My position is this. I daresay you

know, like everybody else, that once, many years ago, I was

guilty of an indiscretion.

Nora. I think I have heard something of the kind.

Krogstad. The matter never came into court; but every way seemed

to be closed to me after that. So I took to the business that you

know of. I had to do something; and, honestly, I don't think I've

been one of the worst. But now I must cut myself free from all

that. My sons are growing up; for their sake I must try and win

back as much respect as I can in the town. This post in the Bank

was like the first step up for me-- and now your husband is going

to kick me downstairs again into the mud.

Nora. But you must believe me, Mr. Krogstad; it is not in my

power to help you at all.

Krogstad. Then it is because you haven't the will; but I have

means to compel you.

Nora. You don't mean that you will tell my husband that I owe you


Krogstad. Hm!--suppose I were to tell him?

Nora. It would be perfectly infamous of you. (Sobbing.) To think

of his learning my secret, which has been my joy and pride, in

such an ugly, clumsy way-- that he should learn it from you! And

it would put me in a horribly disagreeable position--

Krogstad. Only disagreeable?

Nora (impetuously). Well, do it, then!--and it will be the worse

for you. My husband will see for himself what a blackguard you

are, and you certainly won't keep your post then.

Krogstad. I asked you if it was only a disagreeable scene at home

that you were afraid of?

Nora. If my husband does get to know of it, of course he will at

once pay you what is still owing, and we shall have nothing more

to do with you.

Krogstad (coming a step nearer). Listen to me, Mrs. Helmer.

Either you have a very bad memory or you know very little of

business. I shall be obliged to remind you of a few details.

Nora. What do you mean?

Krogstad. When your husband was ill, you came to me to borrow two

hundred and fifty pounds.

Nora. I didn't know anyone else to go to.

Krogstad. I promised to get you that amount--

Nora. Yes, and you did so.

Krogstad. I promised to get you that amount, on certain

conditions. Your mind was so taken up with your husband's

illness, and you were so anxious to get the money for your

journey, that you seem to have paid no attention to the conditions

of our bargain. Therefore it will not be amiss if I remind you of

them. Now, I promised to get the money on the security of a bond

which I drew up.

Nora. Yes, and which I signed.

Krogstad. Good. But below your signature there were a few lines

constituting your father a surety for the money; those lines your

father should have signed.

Nora. Should? He did sign them.

Krogstad. I had left the date blank; that is to say, your father

should himself have inserted the date on which he signed the paper.

Do you remember that?

Nora. Yes, I think I remember--

Krogstad. Then I gave you the bond to send by post to your

father. Is that not so?

Nora. Yes.

Krogstad. And you naturally did so at once, because five or six

days afterwards you brought me the bond with your father's

signature. And then I gave you the money.

Nora. Well, haven't I been paying it off regularly?

Krogstad. Fairly so, yes. But--to come back to the matter in

hand--that must have been a very trying time for you, Mrs.


Nora. It was, indeed.

Krogstad. Your father was very ill, wasn't he?

Nora. He was very near his end.

Krogstad. And died soon afterwards?

Nora. Yes.

Krogstad. Tell me, Mrs. Helmer, can you by any chance remember

what day your father died?--on what day of the month, I mean.

Nora. Papa died on the 29th of September.

Krogstad. That is correct; I have ascertained it for myself. And,

as that is so, there is a discrepancy (taking a paper from his

pocket) which I cannot account for.

Nora. What discrepancy? I don't know--

Krogstad. The discrepancy consists, Mrs. Helmer, in the fact that

your father signed this bond three days after his death.

Nora. What do you mean? I don't understand--

Krogstad. Your father died on the 29th of September. But, look

here; your father has dated his signature the 2nd of October. It

is a discrepancy, isn't it? (NORA is silent.) Can you explain it

to me? (NORA is still silent.) It is a remarkable thing, too,

that the words "2nd of October," as well as the year, are not

written in your father's handwriting but in one that I think I

know. Well, of course it can be explained; your father may have

forgotten to date his signature, and someone else may have dated

it haphazard before they knew of his death. There is no harm in

that. It all depends on the signature of the name; and that is

genuine, I suppose, Mrs. Helmer? It was your father himself who

signed his name here?

Nora (after a short pause, throws her head up and looks defiantly

at him). No, it was not. It was I that wrote papa's name.

Krogstad. Are you aware that is a dangerous confession?

Nora. In what way? You shall have your money soon.

Krogstad. Let me ask you a question; why did you not send the

paper to your father?

Nora. It was impossible; papa was so ill. If I had asked him for

his signature, I should have had to tell him what the money was

to be used for; and when he was so ill himself I couldn't tell

him that my husband's life was in danger-- it was impossible.

Krogstad. It would have been better for you if you had given up

your trip abroad.

Nora. No, that was impossible. That trip was to save my husband's

life; I couldn't give that up.

Krogstad. But did it never occur to you that you were committing

a fraud on me?

Nora. I couldn't take that into account; I didn't trouble myself

about you at all. I couldn't bear you, because you put so many

heartless difficulties in my way, although you knew what a dangerous

condition my husband was in.

Krogstad. Mrs. Helmer, you evidently do not realise clearly what

it is that you have been guilty of. But I can assure you that my

one false step, which lost me all my reputation, was nothing more

or nothing worse than what you have done.

Nora. You? Do you ask me to believe that you were brave enough to

run a risk to save your wife's life?

Krogstad. The law cares nothing about motives.

Nora. Then it must be a very foolish law.

Krogstad. Foolish or not, it is the law by which you will be judged,

if I produce this paper in court.

Nora. I don't believe it. Is a daughter not to be allowed to

spare her dying father anxiety and care? Is a wife not to be

allowed to save her husband's life? I don't know much about law;

but I am certain that there must be laws permitting such things

as that. Have you no knowledge of such laws-- you who are a

lawyer? You must be a very poor lawyer, Mr. Krogstad.

Krogstad. Maybe. But matters of business--such business as you

and I have had together--do you think I don't understand that?

Very well. Do as you please. But let me tell you this--if I lose

my position a second time, you shall lose yours with me. (He

bows, and goes out through the hall.)

Nora (appears buried in thought for a short time, then tosses her

head). Nonsense! Trying to frighten me like that!--I am not so

silly as he thinks. (Begins to busy herself putting the children's

things in order.) And yet--? No, it's impossible! I did it for love's sake.

The Children (in the doorway on the left). Mother, the stranger

man has gone out through the gate.

Nora. Yes, dears, I know. But, don't tell anyone about the stranger

man. Do you hear? Not even papa.

Children. No, mother; but will you come and play again?

Nora. No, no,--not now.

Children. But, mother, you promised us.

Nora. Yes, but I can't now. Run away in; I have such a lot to do.

Run away in, my sweet little darlings. (She gets them into the

room by degrees and shuts the door on them; then sits down on the

sofa, takes up a piece of needlework and sews a few stitches, but

soon stops.) No! (Throws down the work, gets up, goes to the hall

door and calls out.) Helen! bring the Tree in. (Goes to the table

on the left, opens a drawer, and stops again.) No, no! it is

quite impossible!

Maid (coming in with the Tree). Where shall I put it, ma'am?

Nora. Here, in the middle of the floor.

Maid. Shall I get you anything else?

Nora. No, thank you. I have all I want. [Exit MAID.]

Nora (begins dressing the tree). A candle here-and flowers here--

The horrible man! It's all nonsense--there's nothing wrong. The

tree shall be splendid! I will do everything I can think of to

please you, Torvald!--I will sing for you, dance for you--(HELMER

comes in with some papers under his arm.) Oh! are you back


Helmer. Yes. Has anyone been here?

Nora. Here? No.

Helmer. That is strange. I saw Krogstad going out of the gate.

Nora. Did you? Oh yes, I forgot, Krogstad was here for a moment.

Helmer. Nora, I can see from your manner that he has been here

begging you to say a good word for him.

Nora. Yes.

Helmer. And you were to appear to do it of your own accord; you

were to conceal from me the fact of his having been here; didn't

he beg that of you too?

Nora. Yes, Torvald, but--

Helmer. Nora, Nora, and you would be a party to that sort of

thing? To have any talk with a man like that, and give him any

sort of promise? And to tell me a lie into the bargain?

Nora. A lie--?

Helmer. Didn't you tell me no one had been here? (Shakes his

finger at her.) My little songbird must never do that again. A

songbird must have a clean beak to chirp with-- no false notes!

(Puts his arm round her waist.) That is so, isn't it? Yes, I am

sure it is. (Lets her go.) We will say no more about it. (Sits

down by the stove.) How warm and snug it is here! (Turns over his


Nora (after a short pause, during which she busies herself with

the Christmas Tree.) Torvald!

Helmer. Yes.

Nora. I am looking forward tremendously to the fancy-dress ball

at the Stenborgs' the day after tomorrow.

Helmer. And I am tremendously curious to see what you are going

to surprise me with.

Nora. It was very silly of me to want to do that.

Helmer. What do you mean?

Nora. I can't hit upon anything that will do; everything I think

of seems so silly and insignificant.

Helmer. Does my little Nora acknowledge that at last?

Nora (standing behind his chair with her arms on the back of it).

Are you very busy, Torvald?

Helmer. Well--Nora. What are all those papers?

Helmer. Bank business.

Nora. Already?

Helmer. I have got authority from the retiring manager to

undertake the necessary changes in the staff and in the

rearrangement of the work; and I must make use of the

Christmas week for that, so as to have everything in order

for the new year.

Nora. Then that was why this poor Krogstad--

Helmer. Hm!

Nora (leans against the back of his chair and strokes his hair).

If you hadn't been so busy I should have asked you a tremendously

big favour, Torvald.

Helmer. What is that? Tell me.

Nora. There is no one has such good taste as you. And I do so

want to look nice at the fancy-dress ball. Torvald, couldn't you

take me in hand and decide what I shall go as, and what sort of a

dress I shall wear?

Helmer. Aha! so my obstinate little woman is obliged to get

someone to come to her rescue?

Nora. Yes, Torvald, I can't get along a bit without your help.

Helmer. Very well, I will think it over, we shall manage to hit

upon something.

Nora. That is nice of you. (Goes to the Christmas Tree. A short

pause.) How pretty the red flowers look--. But, tell me, was it

really something very bad that this Krogstad was guilty of?

Helmer. He forged someone's name. Have you any idea what that


Nora. Isn't it possible that he was driven to do it by necessity?

Helmer. Yes; or, as in so many cases, by imprudence. I am not so

heartless as to condemn a man altogether because of a single false

step of that kind.

Nora. No, you wouldn't, would you, Torvald?

Helmer. Many a man has been able to retrieve his character, if he

has openly confessed his fault and taken his punishment.

Nora. Punishment--?

Helmer. But Krogstad did nothing of that sort; he got himself out

of it by a cunning trick, and that is why he has gone under altogether.

Nora. But do you think it would--?

Helmer. Just think how a guilty man like that has to lie and play

the hypocrite with every one, how he has to wear a mask in the

presence of those near and dear to him, even before his own wife

and children. And about the children-- that is the most terrible

part of it all, Nora.

Nora. How?

Helmer. Because such an atmosphere of lies infects and poisons

the whole 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?

Helmer. My dear, I have often seen it in the course of my life as

a lawyer. Almost everyone who has gone to the bad early in life

has had a deceitful mother.

Nora. Why do you only say-- mother?

Helmer. It seems most commonly to be the mother's influence,

though naturally a bad father's would have the same result. Every

lawyer is familiar with the fact. This Krogstad, now, has been

persistently poisoning his own children with lies and

dissimulation; that is why I say he has lost all moral character.

(Holds out his hands to her.) That is why my sweet little Nora

must promise me not to plead his cause. Give me your hand on it.

Come, come, what is this? Give me your hand. There now, that's

settled. I assure you it would be quite impossible for me to work

with him; I literally feel physically ill when I am in the company

of such people.

Nora (takes her hand out of his and goes to the opposite side of

the Christmas Tree). How hot it is in here; and I have such a lot

to do.

Helmer (getting up and putting his papers in order). Yes, and I

must try and read through some of these before dinner; and I must

think about your costume, too. And it is just possible I may have

something ready in gold paper to hang up on the Tree. (Puts his

hand on her head.) My precious little singing-bird! (He goes into

his room and shuts the door after him.)

Nora (after a pause, whispers). No, no--it isn't true. It's

impossible; it must be impossible.

(The NURSE opens the door on the left.)

Nurse. The little ones are begging so hard to be allowed to come

in to mamma.

Nora. No, no, no! Don't let them come in to me! You stay with

them, Anne.

Nurse. Very well, ma'am. (Shuts the door.)

Nora (pale with terror). Deprave my little children? Poison my

home? (A short pause. Then she tosses her head.) It's not true.

It can't possibly be true.


(THE SAME SCENE.--THE Christmas Tree is in the corner by the

piano, stripped of its ornaments and with burnt-down candle-ends

on its dishevelled branches. NORA'S cloak and hat are lying on

the sofa. She is alone in the room, walking about uneasily. She

stops by the sofa and takes up her cloak.)

Nora (drops her cloak). Someone is coming now! (Goes to the door

and listens.) No--it is no one. Of course, no one will come today,

Christmas Day--nor tomorrow either. But, perhaps--(opens

the door and looks out). No, nothing in the letterbox; it is

quite empty. (Comes forward.) What rubbish! of course he can't be

in earnest about it. Such a thing couldn't happen; it is

impossible--I have three little children.

(Enter the NURSE from the room on the left, carrying a big

cardboard box.)

Nurse. At last I have found the box with the fancy dress.

Nora. Thanks; put it on the table.

Nurse (doing so). But it is very much in want of mending.

Nora. I should like to tear it into a hundred thousand pieces.

Nurse. What an idea! It can easily be put in order--just a little


Nora. Yes, I will go and get Mrs. Linde to come and help me with


Nurse. What, out again? In this horrible weather? You will catch

cold, ma'am, and make yourself ill.

Nora. Well, worse than that might happen. How are the children?

Nurse. The poor little souls are playing with their Christmas

presents, but--

Nora. Do they ask much for me?

Nurse. You see, they are so accustomed to have their mamma with


Nora. Yes, but, nurse, I shall not be able to be so much with

them now as I was before.

Nurse. Oh well, young children easily get accustomed to anything.

Nora. Do you think so? Do you think they would forget their

mother if she went away altogether?

Nurse. Good heavens!--went away altogether?

Nora. Nurse, I want you to tell me something I have often

wondered about--how could you have the heart to put your own

child out among strangers?

Nurse. I was obliged to, if I wanted to be little Nora's nurse.

Nora. Yes, but how could you be willing to do it?

Nurse. What, when I was going to get such a good place by it? A

poor girl who has got into trouble should be glad to. Besides,

that wicked man didn't do a single thing for me.

Nora. But I suppose your daughter has quite forgotten you.

Nurse. No, indeed she hasn't. She wrote to me when she was

confirmed, and when she was married.

Nora (putting her arms round her neck). Dear old Anne, you were a

good mother to me when I was little.

Nurse. Little Nora, poor dear, had no other mother but me. Nora.

And if my little ones had no other mother, I am sure you would--

What nonsense I am talking! (Opens the box.) Go in to them. Now I

must--. You will see tomorrow how charming I shall look.

Nurse. I am sure there will be no one at the ball so charming as

you, ma'am. (Goes into the room on the left.)

Nora (begins to unpack the box, but soon pushes it away from

her). If only I dared go out. If only no one would come. If only

I could be sure nothing would happen here in the meantime. Stuff

and nonsense! No one will come. Only I mustn't think about it. I

will brush my muff. What lovely, lovely gloves! Out of my thoughts,

out of my thoughts! One, two, three, four, five, six--

(Screams.) Ah! there is someone coming--. (Makes a movement

towards the door, but stands irresolute.)

(Enter MRS. LINDE from the hall, where she has taken off her

cloak and hat.)

Nora. Oh, it's you, Christine. There is no one else out there, is

there? How good of you to come!

Mrs. Linde. I heard you were up asking for me.

Nora. Yes, I was passing by. As a matter of fact, it is something

you could help me with. Let us sit down here on the sofa. Look

here. Tomorrow evening there is to be a fancy-dress ball at the

Stenborgs', who live above us; and Torvald wants me to go as a

Neapolitan fisher-girl, and dance the Tarantella that I learned at


Mrs. Linde. I see; you are going to keep up the character.

Nora. Yes, Torvald wants me to. Look, here is the dress; Torvald had

it made for me there, but now it is all so torn, and I haven't any


Mrs. Linde. We will easily put that right. It is only some of the

trimming come unsewn here and there. Needle and thread? Now then,

that's all we want.

Nora. It is nice of you.

Mrs. Linde (sewing). So you are going to be dressed up tomorrow

Nora. I will tell you what--I shall come in for a moment and see

you in your fine feathers. But I have completely forgotten to

thank you for a delightful evening yesterday.

Nora (gets up, and crosses the stage). Well, I don't think

yesterday was as pleasant as usual. You ought to have come to

town a little earlier, Christine. Certainly Torvald does

understand how to make a house dainty and attractive.

Mrs. Linde. And so do you, it seems to me; you are not your

father's daughter for nothing. But tell me, is Doctor Rank always

as depressed as he was yesterday?

Nora. No; yesterday it was very noticeable. I must tell you that

he suffers from a very dangerous disease. He has consumption of

the spine, poor creature. His father was a horrible man who

committed all sorts of excesses; and that is why his son was

sickly from childhood, do you understand?

Mrs. Linde (dropping her sewing). But, my dearest Nora, how do

you know anything about such things?

Nora (walking about). Pooh! When you have three children, you get

visits now and then from--from married women, who know something

of medical matters, and they talk about one thing and another.

Mrs. Linde (goes on sewing. A short silence). Does Doctor Rank

come here everyday?

Nora. Everyday regularly. He is Torvald's most intimate friend,

and a great friend of mine too. He is just like one of the family.

Mrs. Linde. But tell me this--is he perfectly sincere? I mean, isn't

he the kind of man that is very anxious to make himself agreeable?

Nora. Not in the least. What makes you think that?

Mrs. Linde. When you introduced him to me yesterday, he declared he

had often heard my name mentioned in this house; but afterwards I

noticed that your husband hadn't the slightest idea who I was.

So how could Doctor Rank--?

Nora. That is quite right, Christine. Torvald is so absurdly fond

of me that he wants me absolutely to himself, as he says. At first

he used to seem almost jealous if I mentioned any of the dear folk

at home, so naturally I gave up doing so. But I often talk about

such things with Doctor Rank, because he likes hearing about them.

Mrs. Linde. Listen to me, Nora. You are still very like a child

in many things, and I am older than you in many ways and have a

little more experience. Let me tell you this--you ought to make

an end of it with Doctor Rank.

Nora. What ought I to make an end of?

Mrs. Linde. Of two things, I think. Yesterday you talked some

nonsense about a rich admirer who was to leave you money--

Nora. An admirer who doesn't exist, unfortunately! But what then?

Mrs. Linde. Is Doctor Rank a man of means?

Nora. Yes, he is.

Mrs. Linde. And has no one to provide for?

Nora. No, no one; but--

Mrs. Linde. And comes here everyday?

Nora. Yes, I told you so.

Mrs. Linde. But how can this well-bred man be so tactless?

Nora. I don't understand you at all.

Mrs. Linde. Don't prevaricate, Nora. Do you suppose I don't guess

who lent you the two hundred and fifty pounds?

Nora. Are you out of your senses? How can you think of such a thing!

A friend of ours, who comes here everyday! Do you realise what a

horribly painful position that would be?

Mrs. Linde. Then it really isn't he?

Nora. No, certainly not. It would never have entered into my head

for a moment. Besides, he had no money to lend then; he came into

his money afterwards.

Mrs. Linde. Well, I think that was lucky for you, my dear Nora.

Nora. No, it would never have come into my head to ask Doctor

Rank. Although I am quite sure that if I had asked him--

Mrs. Linde. But of course you won't.

Nora. Of course not. I have no reason to think it could possibly

be necessary. But I am quite sure that if I told Doctor Rank--

Mrs. Linde. Behind your husband's back?

Nora. I must make an end of it with the other one, and that will

be behind his back too. I must make an end of it with him.

Mrs. Linde. Yes, that is what I told you yesterday, but--

Nora (walking up and down). A man can put a thing like that

straight much easier than a woman--

Mrs. Linde. One's husband, yes.

Nora. Nonsense! (Standing still.) When you pay off a debt you get

your bond back, don't you?

Mrs. Linde. Yes, as a matter of course.

Nora. And can tear it into a hundred thousand pieces, and burn it

up--the nasty dirty paper!

Mrs. Linde (looks hard at her, lays down her sewing and gets up

slowly). Nora, you are concealing something from me.

Nora. Do I look as if I were?

Mrs. Linde. Something has happened to you since yesterday morning.

Nora, what is it?

Nora (going nearer to her). Christine! (Listens.) Hush! there's

Torvald come home. Do you mind going in to the children for the

present? Torvald can't bear to see dressmaking going on. Let Anne

help you.

Mrs. Linde (gathering some of the things together). Certainly --

but I am not going away from here until we have had it out with

one another. (She goes into the room on the left, as HELMER comes

in from the hail.)

Nora (going up to HELMER). I have wanted you so much, Torvald


Helmer. Was that the dressmaker?

Nora. No, it was Christine; she is helping me to put my dress in

order. You will see I shall look quite smart.

Helmer. Wasn't that a happy thought of mine, now?

Nora. Splendid! But don't you think it is nice of me, too, to do

as you wish?

Helmer. Nice?--because you do as your husband wishes? Well, well,

you little rogue, I am sure you did not mean it in that way. But

I am not going to disturb you; you will want to be trying on your

dress, I expect.

Nora. I suppose you are going to work.

Helmer. Yes. (Shows her a bundle of papers.) Look at that. I have

just been into the bank. (Turns to go into his room.)

Nora. Torvald.

Helmer. Yes.

Nora. If your little squirrel were to ask you for something very,

very prettily--?

Helmer. What then?

Nora. Would you do it?

Helmer. I should like to hear what it is, first.

Nora. Your squirrel would run about and do all her tricks if you

would be nice, and do what she wants.

Helmer. Speak plainly.

Nora. Your skylark would chirp about in every room, with her song

rising and falling--

Helmer. Well, my skylark does that anyhow.

Nora. I would play the fairy and dance for you in the moonlight,


Helmer. Nora--you surely don't mean that request you made to me

this morning?

Nora (going near him). Yes, Torvald, I beg you so earnestly--

Helmer. Have you really the courage to open up that question again?

Nora. Yes, dear, you must do as I ask; you must let Krogstad keep

his post in the bank.

Helmer. My dear Nora, it is his post that I have arranged Mrs.

Linde shall have.

Nora. Yes, you have been awfully kind about that; but you could

just as well dismiss some other clerk instead of Krogstad.

Helmer. This is simply incredible obstinacy! Because you chose to

give him a thoughtless promise that you would speak for him, I am

expected to--

Nora. That isn't the reason, Torvald. It is for your own sake.

This fellow writes in the most scurrilous newspapers; you have

told me so yourself. He can do you an unspeakable amount of harm.

I am frightened to death of him--

Helmer. Ah, I understand; it is recollections of the past that

scare you.

Nora. What do you mean?

Helmer. Naturally you are thinking of your father.

Nora. Yes--yes, of course. Just recall to your mind what these

malicious creatures wrote in the papers about papa, and how

horribly they slandered him. I believe they would have procured

his dismissal if the Department had not sent you over to inquire

into it, and if you had not been so kindly disposed and helpful

to him.

Helmer. My little Nora, there is an important difference between

your father and me. Your father's reputation as a public official

was not above suspicion. Mine is, and I hope it will continue to

be so, as long as I hold my office.

Nora. You never can tell what mischief these men may contrive. We

ought to be so well off, so snug and happy here in our peaceful

home, and have no cares--you and I and the children, Torvald!

That is why I beg you so earnestly--

Helmer. And it is just by interceding for him that you make it

impossible for me to keep him. It is already known at the Bank

that I mean to dismiss Krogstad. Is it to get about now that the

new manager has changed his mind at his wife's bidding--

Nora. And what if it did?

Helmer. Of course!--if only this obstinate little person can get

her way! Do you suppose I am going to make myself ridiculous before

my whole staff, to let people think that I am a man to be swayed by

all sorts of outside influence? I should very soon feel the

consequences of it, I can tell you! And besides, there is one thing

that makes it quite impossible for me to have Krogstad in the Bank

as long as I am manager.

Nora. Whatever is that?

Helmer. His moral failings I might perhaps have overlooked, if


Nora. Yes, you could--couldn't you?

Helmer. And I hear he is a good worker, too. But I knew him when

we were boys. It was one of those rash friendships that so often

prove an incubus in afterlife. I may as well tell you plainly,

we were once on very intimate terms with one another. But this

tactless fellow lays no restraint on himself when other people

are present. On the contrary, he thinks it gives him the right to

adopt a familiar tone with me, and every minute it is "I say,

Helmer, old fellow!" and that sort of thing. I assure you it is

extremely painful for me. He would make my position in the Bank


Nora. Torvald, I don't believe you mean that.

Helmer. Don't you? Why not?

Nora. Because it is such a narrow-minded way of looking at


Helmer. What are you saying? Narrow-minded? Do you think I am


Nora. No, just the opposite, dear--and it is exactly for that


Helmer. It's the same thing. You say my point of view is narrow-

minded, so I must be so too. Narrow-minded! Very well--I must put

an end to this. (Goes to the hall door and calls.) Helen!

Nora. What are you going to do?

Helmer (looking among his papers). Settle it. (Enter MAID.) Look

here; take this letter and go downstairs with it at once. Find a

messenger and tell him to deliver it, and be quick. The address

is on it, and here is the money.

Maid. Very well, sir. (Exit with the letter.)

Helmer (putting his papers together). Now then, little Miss


Nora (breathlessly). Torvald--what was that letter?

Helmer. Krogstad's dismissal.

Nora. Call her back, Torvald! There is still time. Oh Torvald,

call her back! Do it for my sake--for your own sake--for the

children's sake! Do you hear me, Torvald? Call her back! You

don't know what that letter can bring upon us.

Helmer. It's too late.

Nora. Yes, it's too late.

Helmer. My dear Nora, I can forgive the anxiety you are in,

although really it is an insult to me. It is, indeed. Isn't

it an insult to think that I should be afraid of a starving

quill-driver's vengeance? But I forgive you nevertheless,

because it is such eloquent witness to your great love for

me. (Takes her in his arms.) And that is as it should be,

my own darling Nora. Come what will, you may be sure I shall

have both courage and strength if they be needed. You will

see I am man enough to take everything upon myself.

Nora (in a horror-stricken voice). What do you mean by that?

Helmer. Everything, I say--

Nora (recovering herself). You will never have to do that.

Helmer. That's right. Well, we will share it, Nora, as man

and wife should. That is how it shall be. (Caressing her.)

Are you content now? There! There!--not these frightened dove's

eyes! The whole thing is only the wildest fancy!--Now, you must

go and play through the Tarantella and practise with your

tambourine. I shall go into the inner office and shut the door,

and I shall hear nothing; you can make as much noise as you

please. (Turns back at the door.) And when Rank comes, tell him

where he will find me. (Nods to her, takes his papers and goes

into his room, and shuts the door after him.)

Nora (bewildered with anxiety, stands as if rooted to the spot,

and whispers). He was capable of doing it. He will do it. He will

do it in spite of everything.--No, not that! Never, never!

Anything rather than that I Oh, for some help, some way out of

it! (The door-bell rings.) Doctor Rank! Anything rather than

that--anything, whatever it is! (She puts her hands over her

face, pulls herself together, goes to the door and opens it. RANK

is standing without, hanging up his coat. During the following

dialogue it begins to grow dark.)

Nora. Good day, Doctor Rank. I knew your ring. But you mustn't

go in to Torvald now; I think he is busy with something.

Rank. And you?

Nora (brings him in and shuts the door after him). Oh, you know

very well I always have time for you.

Rank. Thank you. I shall make use of as much of it as I can.

Nora. What do you mean by that? As much of it as you can?

Rank. Well, does that alarm you?

Nora. It was such a strange way of putting it. Is anything likely

to happen?

Rank. Nothing but what I have long been prepared for. But I

certainly didn't expect it to happen so soon.

Nora (gripping him by the arm). What have you found out? Doctor

Rank, you must tell me.

Rank (sitting down by the stove). It is all up with me. And it

can't be helped.

Nora (with a sigh of relief). Is it about yourself?

Rank. Who else? It is no use lying to one's self. I am the most

wretched of all my patients, Mrs. Helmer. Lately I have been

taking stock of my internal economy. Bankrupt! Probably within

a month I shall lie rotting in the churchyard.

Nora. What an ugly thing to say!

Rank. The thing itself is cursedly ugly, and the worst of it is

that I shall have to face so much more that is ugly before that.

I shall only make one more examination of myself; when I have

done that, I shall know pretty certainly when it will be that the

horrors of dissolution will begin. There is something I want to

tell you. Helmer's refined nature gives him an unconquerable

disgust at everything that is ugly; I won't have him in my sick-


Nora. Oh, but, Doctor Rank--

Rank. I won't have him there. Not on any account. I bar my door

to him. As soon as I am quite certain that the worst has come, I

shall send you my card with a black cross on it, and then you

will know that the loathsome end has begun.

Nora. You are quite absurd today. And I wanted you so much to be

in a really good humour.

Rank. With death stalking beside me?--To have to pay this penalty

for another man's sin? Is there any justice in that? And in

every single family, in one way or another, some such inexorable

retribution is being exacted--

Nora (putting her hands over her ears). Rubbish! Do talk of

something cheerful.

Rank. Oh, it's a mere laughing matter, the whole thing. My poor

innocent spine has to suffer for my father's youthful amusements.

Nora (sitting at the table on the left). I suppose you mean that

he was too partial to asparagus and pate de foie gras, don't you?

Rank. Yes, and to truffles.

Nora. Truffles, yes. And oysters too, I suppose?

Rank. Oysters, of course, that goes without saying.

Nora. And heaps of port and champagne. It is sad that all these

nice things should take their revenge on our bones.

Rank. Especially that they should revenge themselves on the unlucky

bones of those who have not had the satisfaction of enjoying them.

Nora. Yes, that's the saddest part of it all.

Rank (with a searching look at her). Hm!--

Nora (after a short pause). Why did you smile?

Rank. No, it was you that laughed.

Nora. No, it was you that smiled, Doctor Rank!

Rank (rising). You are a greater rascal than I thought.

Nora. I am in a silly mood today.

Rank. So it seems.

Nora (putting her hands on his shoulders). Dear, dear Doctor

Rank, death mustn't take you away from Torvald and me.

Rank. It is a loss you would easily recover from. Those who are

gone are soon forgotten.

Nora (looking at him anxiously). Do you believe that?

Rank. People form new ties, and then--

Nora. Who will form new ties?

Rank. Both you and Helmer, when I am gone. You yourself are

already on the high road to it, I think. What did that Mrs. Linde

want here last night?

Nora. Oho!--you don't mean to say you are jealous of poor


Rank. Yes, I am. She will be my successor in this house. When I

am done for, this woman will--

Nora. Hush! don't speak so loud. She is in that room.

Rank. Today again. There, you see.

Nora. She has only come to sew my dress for me. Bless my soul,

how unreasonable you are! (Sits down on the sofa.) Be nice now,

Doctor Rank, and tomorrow you will see how beautifully I shall

dance, and you can imagine I am doing it all for you--and for

Torvald too, of course. (Takes various things out of the box.)

Doctor Rank, come and sit down here, and I will show you something.

Rank (sitting down). What is it?

Nora. Just look at those!

Rank. Silk stockings.

Nora. Flesh-coloured. Aren't they lovely? It is so dark here now,

but tomorrow--. No, no, no! you must only look at the feet. Oh

well, you may have leave to look at the legs too.

Rank. Hm!--Nora. Why are you looking so critical? Don't you think

they will fit me?

Rank. I have no means of forming an opinion about that.

Nora (looks at him for a moment). For shame! (Hits him lightly on the

ear with the stockings.) That's to punish you. (Folds them up again.)

Rank. And what other nice things am I to be allowed to see?

Nora. Not a single thing more, for being so naughty. (She looks

among the things, humming to herself.)

Rank (after a short silence). When I am sitting here, talking to

you as intimately as this, I cannot imagine for a moment what

would have become of me if I had never come into this house.

Nora (smiling). I believe you do feel thoroughly at home with us.

Rank (in a lower voice, looking straight in front of him). And to

be obliged to leave it all--

Nora. Nonsense, you are not going to leave it.

Rank (as before). And not be able to leave behind one the slightest

token of one's gratitude, scarcely even a fleeting regret--nothing

but an empty place which the first comer can fill as well as any other.

Nora. And if I asked you now for a--? No!

Rank. For what?

Nora. For a big proof of your friendship--

Rank. Yes, yes!

Nora. I mean a tremendously big favour--

Rank. Would you really make me so happy for once?

Nora. Ah, but you don't know what it is yet.

Rank. No--but tell me.

Nora. I really can't, Doctor Rank. It is something out of all

reason; it means advice, and help, and a favour--

Rank. The bigger a thing it is the better. I can't conceive what

it is you mean. Do tell me. Haven't I your confidence?

Nora. More than anyone else. I know you are my truest and best

friend, and so I will tell you what it is. Well, Doctor Rank, it

is something you must help me to prevent. You know how devotedly,

how inexpressibly deeply Torvald loves me; he would never for a

moment hesitate to give his life for me.

Rank (leaning towards her). Nora--do you think he is the only


Nora (with a slight start). The only one--?

Rank. The only one who would gladly give his life for your sake.

Nora (sadly). Is that it?

Rank. I was determined you should know it before I went away, and

there will never be a better opportunity than this. Now you know

it, Nora. And now you know, too, that you can trust me as you

would trust no one else.

Nora (rises, deliberately and quietly). Let me pass.

Rank (makes room for her to pass him, but sits still). Nora!

Nora (at the hall door). Helen, bring in the lamp. (Goes over to

the stove.) Dear Doctor Rank, that was really horrid of you.

Rank. To have loved you as much as anyone else does? Was that


Nora. No, but to go and tell me so. There was really no need--

Rank. What do you mean? Did you know--? (MAID enters with lamp,

puts it down on the table, and goes out.) Nora--Mrs. Helmer--tell

me, had you any idea of this?

Nora. Oh, how do I know whether I had or whether I hadn't? I

really can't tell you--To think you could be so clumsy, Doctor Rank!

We were getting on so nicely.

Rank. Well, at all events you know now that you can command me,

body and soul. So won't you speak out?

Nora (looking at him). After what happened?

Rank. I beg you to let me know what it is.

Nora. I can't tell you anything now.

Rank. Yes, yes. You mustn't punish me in that way. Let me have

permission to do for you whatever a man may do.

Nora. You can do nothing for me now. Besides, I really don't need

any help at all. You will find that the whole thing is merely fancy

on my part. It really is so--of course it is! (Sits down in the

rocking-chair, and looks at him with a smile.) You are a nice sort

of man, Doctor Rank!--don't you feel ashamed of yourself, now the

lamp has come?

Rank. Not a bit. But perhaps I had better go--for ever?

Nora. No, indeed, you shall not. Of course you must come here

just as before. You know very well Torvald can't do without you.

Rank. Yes, but you?

Nora. Oh, I am always tremendously pleased when you come.

Rank. It is just that, that put me on the wrong track. You are a

riddle to me. I have often thought that you would almost as soon

be in my company as in Helmer's.

Nora. Yes--you see there are some people one loves best, and

others whom one would almost always rather have as companions.

Rank. Yes, there is something in that.

Nora. When I was at home, of course I loved papa best. But I

always thought it tremendous fun if I could steal down into the

maids' room, because they never moralised at all, and talked to

each other about such entertaining things.

Rank. I see--it is their place I have taken.

Nora (jumping up and going to him). Oh, dear, nice Doctor Rank, I

never meant that at all. But surely you can understand that being

with Torvald is a little like being with papa--(Enter MAID from

the hall.)

Maid. If you please, ma'am. (Whispers and hands her a card.)

Nora (glancing at the card). Oh! (Puts it in her pocket.)

Rank. Is there anything wrong?

Nora. No, no, not in the least. It is only something--it is my

new dress--

Rank. What? Your dress is lying there.

Nora. Oh, yes, that one; but this is another. I ordered it.

Torvald mustn't know about it--

Rank. Oho! Then that was the great secret.

Nora. Of course. Just go in to him; he is sitting in the inner

room. Keep him as long as--

Rank. Make your mind easy; I won't let him escape.

(Goes into HELMER'S room.)

Nora (to the MAID). And he is standing waiting in the kitchen?

Maid. Yes; he came up the back stairs.

Nora. But didn't you tell him no one was in?

Maid. Yes, but it was no good.

Nora. He won't go away?

Maid. No; he says he won't until he has seen you, ma'am.

Nora. Well, let him come in--but quietly. Helen, you mustn't say

anything about it to anyone. It is a surprise for my husband.

Maid. Yes, ma'am, I quite understand. (Exit.)

Nora. This dreadful thing is going to happen! It will happen in

spite of me! No, no, no, it can't happen--it shan't happen! (She

bolts the door of HELMER'S room. The MAID opens the hall door for

KROGSTAD and shuts it after him. He is wearing a fur coat, high

boots and a fur cap.)

Nora (advancing towards him). Speak low--my husband is at home.

Krogstad. No matter about that.

Nora. What do you want of me?

Krogstad. An explanation of something.

Nora. Make haste then. What is it?

Krogstad. You know, I suppose, that I have got my dismissal.

Nora. I couldn't prevent it, Mr. Krogstad. I fought as hard as I

could on your side, but it was no good.

Krogstad. Does your husband love you so little, then? He knows

what I can expose you to, and yet he ventures--

Nora. How can you suppose that he has any knowledge of the sort?

Krogstad. I didn't suppose so at all. It would not be the least

like our dear Torvald Helmer to show so much courage--

Nora. Mr. Krogstad, a little respect for my husband, please.

Krogstad. Certainly--all the respect he deserves. But since you

have kept the matter so carefully to yourself, I make bold to

suppose that you have a little clearer idea, than you had

yesterday, of what it actually is that you have done?

Nora. More than you could ever teach me.

Krogstad. Yes, such a bad lawyer as I am.

Nora. What is it you want of me?

Krogstad. Only to see how you were, Mrs. Helmer. I have been

thinking about you all day long. A mere cashier, a quill-driver,

a--well, a man like me--even he has a little of what is called

feeling, you know.

Nora. Show it, then; think of my little children.

Krogstad. Have you and your husband thought of mine? But never

mind about that. I only wanted to tell you that you need not

take this matter too seriously. In the first place there will

be no accusation made on my part.

Nora. No, of course not; I was sure of that.

Krogstad. The whole thing can be arranged amicably; there is

no reason why anyone should know anything about it. It will

remain a secret between us three.

Nora. My husband must never get to know anything about it.

Krogstad. How will you be able to prevent it? Am I to understand

that you can pay the balance that is owing?

Nora. No, not just at present.

Krogstad. Or perhaps that you have some expedient for raising the

money soon?

Nora. No expedient that I mean to make use of.

Krogstad. Well, in any case, it would have been of no use to you

now. If you stood there with ever so much money in your hand, I

would never part with your bond.

Nora. Tell me what purpose you mean to put it to.

Krogstad. I shall only preserve it--keep it in my possession. No

one who is not concerned in the matter shall have the slightest

hint of it. So that if the thought of it has driven you to any

desperate resolution--

Nora. It has.

Krogstad. If you had it in your mind to run away from your home--

Nora. I had.

Krogstad. Or even something worse--

Nora. How could you know that?

Krogstad. Give up the idea.

Nora. How did you know I had thought of that?

Krogstad. Most of us think of that at first. I did, too--but I

hadn't the courage.

Nora (faintly). No more had I.

Krogstad (in a tone of relief). No, that's it, isn't it--you

hadn't the courage either?

Nora. No, I haven't--I haven't.

Krogstad. Besides, it would have been a great piece of folly.

Once the first storm at home is over--. I have a letter for your

husband in my pocket.

Nora. Telling him everything?

Krogstad. In as lenient a manner as I possibly could.

Nora (quickly). He mustn't get the letter. Tear it up. I will

find some means of getting money.

Krogstad. Excuse me, Mrs. Helmer, but I think I told you just


Nora. I am not speaking of what I owe you. Tell me what sum you

are asking my husband for, and I will get the money.

Krogstad. I am not asking your husband for a penny.

Nora. What do you want, then?

Krogstad. I will tell you. I want to rehabilitate myself,

Mrs. Helmer; I want to get on; and in that your husband must

help me. For the last year and a half I have not had a hand

in anything dishonourable, amid all that time I have been

struggling in most restricted circumstances. I was content

to work my way up step by step. Now I am turned out, and I

am not going to be satisfied with merely being taken into

favour again. I want to get on, I tell you. I want to get

into the Bank again, in a higher position. Your husband

must make a place for me--

Nora. That he will never do!

Krogstad. He will; I know him; he dare not protest. And as soon

as I am in there again with him, then you will see! Within a year

I shall be the manager's right hand. It will be Nils Krogstad

and not Torvald Helmer who manages the Bank.

Nora. That's a thing you will never see!

Krogstad. Do you mean that you will--?

Nora. I have courage enough for it now.

Krogstad. Oh, you can't frighten me. A fine, spoilt lady like you--

Nora. You will see, you will see.

Krogstad. Under the ice, perhaps? Down into the cold, coal-black

water? And then, in the spring, to float up to the surface, all

horrible and unrecognisable, with your hair fallen out--

Nora. You can't frighten me.

Krogstad. Nor you me. People don't do such things, Mrs. Helmer.

Besides, what use would it be? I should have him completely in my

power all the same.

Nora. Afterwards? When I am no longer--

Krogstad. Have you forgotten that it is I who have the keeping of

your reputation? (NORA stands speechlessly looking at him.) Well,

now, I have warned you. Do not do anything foolish. When Helmer

has had my letter, I shall expect a message from him. And be sure

you remember that it is your husband himself who has forced me

into such ways as this again. I will never forgive him for that.

Goodbye, Mrs. Helmer. (Exit through the hall.)

Nora (goes to the hall door, opens it slightly and listens.) He

is going. He is not putting the letter in the box. Oh no, no!

that's impossible! (Opens the door by degrees.) What is that? He

is standing outside. He is not going downstairs. Is he

hesitating? Can he--? (A letter drops into the box; then

KROGSTAD'S footsteps are heard, until they die away as he goes

downstairs. NORA utters a stifled cry, and runs across the room

to the table by the sofa. A short pause.)

Nora. In the letter-box. (Steals across to the hall door.) There

it lies--Torvald, Torvald, there is no hope for us now!

(Mrs. LINDE comes in from the room on the left, carrying the


Mrs. Linde. There, I can't see anything more to mend now. Would

you like to try it on--?

Nora (in a hoarse whisper). Christine, come here.

Mrs. Linde (throwing the dress down on the sofa). What is the

matter with you? You look so agitated!

Nora. Come here. Do you see that letter? There, look--you can see

it through the glass in the letter-box.

Mrs. Linde. Yes, I see it.

Nora. That letter is from Krogstad.

Mrs. Linde. Nora--it was Krogstad who lent you the money!

Nora. Yes, and now Torvald will know all about it.

Mrs. Linde. Believe me, Nora, that's the best thing for both of you.

Nora. You don't know all. I forged a name.

Mrs. Linde. Good heavens--!

Nora. I only want to say this to you, Christine--you must be my


Mrs. Linde. Your witness? What do you mean? What am I to--?

Nora. If I should go out of my mind--and it might easily happen--

Mrs. Linde. Nora!

Nora. Or if anything else should happen to me--anything, for

instance, that might prevent my being here--

Mrs. Linde. Nora! Nora! you are quite out of your mind.

Nora. And if it should happen that there were some one who wanted

to take all the responsibility, all the blame, you understand--

Mrs. Linde. Yes, yes--but how can you suppose--?

Nora. Then you must be my witness, that it is not true, Christine.

I am not out of my mind at all; I am in my right senses now, and

I tell you no one else has known anything about it; I, and I

alone, did the whole thing. Remember that.

Mrs. Linde. I will, indeed. But I don't understand all this.

Nora. How should you understand it? A wonderful thing is going

to happen!

Mrs. Linde. A wonderful thing?

Nora. Yes, a wonderful thing!--But it is so terrible, Christine;

it mustn't happen, not for all the world.

Mrs. Linde. I will go at once and see Krogstad.

Nora. Don't go to him; he will do you some harm.

Mrs. Linde. There was a time when he would gladly do anything for

my sake.

Nora. He?

Mrs. Linde. Where does he live?

Nora. How should I know--? Yes (feeling in her pocket), here is

his card. But the letter, the letter--!

Helmer (calls from his room, knocking at the door). Nora! Nora

(cries out anxiously). Oh, what's that? What do you want?

Helmer. Don't be so frightened. We are not coming in; you have

locked the door. Are you trying on your dress?

Nora. Yes, that's it. I look so nice, Torvald.

Mrs. Linde (who has read the card). I see he lives at the corner here.

Nora. Yes, but it's no use. It is hopeless. The letter is lying

there in the box.

Mrs. Linde. And your husband keeps the key?

Nora. Yes, always.

Mrs. Linde. Krogstad must ask for his letter back unread, he must

find some pretence--

Nora. But it is just at this time that Torvald generally--

Mrs. Linde. You must delay him. Go in to him in the meantime. I

will come back as soon as I can. (She goes out hurriedly through

the hall door.)

Nora (goes to HELMER'S door, opens it and peeps in). Torvald!

Helmer (from the inner room). Well? May I venture at last to come

into my own room again? Come along, Rank, now you will see--

(Halting in the doorway.) But what is this?

Nora. What is what, dear?

Helmer. Rank led me to expect a splendid transformation.

Rank (in the doorway). I understood so, but evidently I was


Nora. Yes, nobody is to have the chance of admiring me in my

dress until tomorrow.

Helmer. But, my dear Nora, you look so worn out. Have you been

practising too much?

Nora. No, I have not practised at all.

Helmer. But you will need to--

Nora. Yes, indeed I shall, Torvald. But I can't get on a bit

without you to help me; I have absolutely forgotten the whole


Helmer. Oh, we will soon work it up again.

Nora. Yes, help me, Torvald. Promise that you will! I am so

nervous about it--all the people--. You must give yourself up to

me entirely this evening. Not the tiniest bit of business--you

mustn't even take a pen in your hand. Will you promise, Torvald dear?

Helmer. I promise. This evening I will be wholly and absolutely

at your service, you helpless little mortal. Ah, by the way,

first of all I will just-- (Goes towards the hall door.)

Nora. What are you going to do there?

Helmer. Only see if any letters have come.

Nora. No, no! don't do that, Torvald!

Helmer. Why not?

Nora. Torvald, please don't. There is nothing there.

Helmer. Well, let me look. (Turns to go to the letter-box. NORA,

at the piano, plays the first bars of the Tarantella. HELMER

stops in the doorway.) Aha!

Nora. I can't dance tomorrow if I don't practise with you.

Helmer (going up to her). Are you really so afraid of it, dear?

Nora. Yes, so dreadfully afraid of it. Let me practise at once;

there is time now, before we go to dinner. Sit down and play for

me, Torvald dear; criticise me, and correct me as you play.

Helmer. With great pleasure, if you wish me to. (Sits down at the


Nora (takes out of the box a tambourine and a long variegated

shawl. She hastily drapes the shawl round her. Then she springs

to the front of the stage and calls out). Now play for me! I am

going to dance!

(HELMER plays and NORA dances. RANK stands by the piano behind

HELMER, and looks on.)

Helmer (as he plays). Slower, slower!

Nora. I can't do it any other way.

Helmer. Not so violently, Nora!

Nora. This is the way.

Helmer (stops playing). No, no--that is not a bit right.

Nora (laughing and swinging the tambourine). Didn't I tell you


Rank. Let me play for her.

Helmer (getting up). Yes, do. I can correct her better then.

(RANK sits down at the piano and plays. NORA dances more and more

wildly. HELMER has taken up a position beside the stove, and

during her dance gives her frequent instructions. She does not

seem to hear him; her hair comes down and falls over her

shoulders; she pays no attention to it, but goes on dancing.

Enter Mrs. LINDE.)

Mrs. Linde (standing as if spell-bound in the doorway). Oh!--

Nora (as she dances). Such fun, Christine!

Helmer. My dear darling Nora, you are dancing as if your life

depended on it.

Nora. So it does.

Helmer. Stop, Rank; this is sheer madness. Stop, I tell you!

(RANK stops playing, and NORA suddenly stands still. HELMER goes

up to her.) I could never have believed it. You have forgotten

everything I taught you.

Nora (throwing away the tambourine). There, you see.

Helmer. You will want a lot of coaching.

Nora. Yes, you see how much I need it. You must coach me up to

the last minute. Promise me that, Torvald!

Helmer. You can depend on me.

Nora. You must not think of anything but me, either today or

tomorrow; you mustn't open a single letter--not even open the


Helmer. Ah, you are still afraid of that fellow--

Nora. Yes, indeed I am.

Helmer. Nora, I can tell from your looks that there is a letter

from him lying there.

Nora. I don't know; I think there is; but you must not read

anything of that kind now. Nothing horrid must come between us

until this is all over.

Rank (whispers to HELMER). You mustn't contradict her.

Helmer (taking her in his arms). The child shall have her way.

But tomorrow night, after you have danced--

Nora. Then you will be free. (The MAID appears in the doorway to

the right.)

Maid. Dinner is served, ma'am.

Nora. We will have champagne, Helen.

Maid. Very good, ma'am. [Exit.

Helmer. Hullo!--are we going to have a banquet?

Nora. Yes, a champagne banquet until the small hours. (Calls out.)

And a few macaroons, Helen--lots, just for once!

Helmer. Come, come, don't be so wild and nervous. Be my own

little skylark, as you used.

Nora. Yes, dear, I will. But go in now and you too, Doctor Rank.

Christine, you must help me to do up my hair.

Rank (whispers to HELMER as they go out). I suppose there is

nothing--she is not expecting anything?

Helmer. Far from it, my dear fellow; it is simply nothing more

than this childish nervousness I was telling you of. (They go

into the right-hand room.)

Nora. Well!

Mrs. Linde. Gone out of town.

Nora. I could tell from your face.

Mrs. Linde. He is coming home tomorrow evening. I wrote a note

for him.

Nora. You should have let it alone; you must prevent nothing.

After all, it is splendid to be waiting for a wonderful thing to


Mrs. Linde. What is it that you are waiting for?

Nora. Oh, you wouldn't understand. Go in to them, I will come in

a moment. (Mrs. LINDE goes into the dining-room. NORA stands

still for a little while, as if to compose herself. Then she

looks at her watch.) Five o'clock. Seven hours until midnight; and

then four-and-twenty hours until the next midnight. Then the

Tarantella will be over. Twenty-four and seven? Thirty-one hours

to live.

Helmer (from the doorway on the right). Where's my little skylark?

Nora (going to him with her arms outstretched). Here she is!


(THE SAME SCENE.--The table has been placed in the middle of the

stage, with chairs around it. A lamp is burning on the table. The

door into the hall stands open. Dance music is heard in the room

above. Mrs. LINDE is sitting at the table idly turning over the

leaves of a book; she tries to read, but does not seem able to

collect her thoughts. Every now and then she listens intently for

a sound at the outer door.)

Mrs. Linde (looking at her watch). Not yet--and the time is

nearly up. If only he does not--. (Listens again.) Ah, there he is.

(Goes into the hall and opens the outer door carefully.

Light footsteps are heard on the stairs. She whispers.)

Come in. There is no one here.

Krogstad (in the doorway). I found a note from you at home. What

does this mean?

Mrs. Linde. It is absolutely necessary that I should have a talk

with you.

Krogstad. Really? And is it absolutely necessary that it should

be here?

Mrs. Linde. It is impossible where I live; there is no private

entrance to my rooms. Come in; we are quite alone. The maid is

asleep, and the Helmers are at the dance upstairs.

Krogstad (coming into the room). Are the Helmers really at a

dance tonight?

Mrs. Linde. Yes, why not?

Krogstad. Certainly--why not?

Mrs. Linde. Now, Nils, let us have a talk.

Krogstad. Can we two have anything to talk about?

Mrs. Linde. We have a great deal to talk about.

Krogstad. I shouldn't have thought so.

Mrs. Linde. No, you have never properly understood me.

Krogstad. Was there anything else to understand except what

was obvious to all the world--a heartless woman jilts a man

when a more lucrative chance turns up?

Mrs. Linde. Do you believe I am as absolutely heartless as

all that? And do you believe that I did it with a light heart?

Krogstad. Didn't you?

Mrs. Linde. Nils, did you really think that?

Krogstad. If it were as you say, why did you write to me as you

did at the time?

Mrs. Linde. I could do nothing else. As I had to break with you,

it was my duty also to put an end to all that you felt for me.

Krogstad (wringing his hands). So that was it. And all this--only

for the sake of money!

Mrs. Linde. You must not forget that I had a helpless mother and

two little brothers. We couldn't wait for you, Nils; your

prospects seemed hopeless then.

Krogstad. That may be so, but you had no right to throw me over

for anyone else's sake.

Mrs. Linde. Indeed I don't know. Many a time did I ask myself if

I had the right to do it.

Krogstad (more gently). When I lost you, it was as if all the

solid ground went from under my feet. Look at me now--I am a shipwrecked

man clinging to a bit of wreckage.

Mrs. Linde. But help may be near.

Krogstad. It was near; but then you came and stood in my way.

Mrs. Linde. Unintentionally, Nils. It was only today that I

learned it was your place I was going to take in the Bank.

Krogstad. I believe you, if you say so. But now that you know it,

are you not going to give it up to me?

Mrs. Linde. No, because that would not benefit you in the least.

Krogstad. Oh, benefit, benefit--I would have done it whether or no.

Mrs. Linde. I have learned to act prudently. Life, and hard, bitter

necessity have taught me that.

Krogstad. And life has taught me not to believe in fine speeches.

Mrs. Linde. Then life has taught you something very reasonable.

But deeds you must believe in?

Krogstad. What do you mean by that?

Mrs. Linde. You said you were like a shipwrecked man clinging to

some wreckage.

Krogstad. I had good reason to say so.

Mrs. Linde. Well, I am like a shipwrecked woman clinging to some

wreckage--no one to mourn for, no one to care for.

Krogstad. It was your own choice.

Mrs. Linde. There was no other choice--then.

Krogstad. Well, what now?

Mrs. Linde. Nils, how would it be if we two shipwrecked people

could join forces?

Krogstad. What are you saying?

Mrs. Linde. Two on the same piece of wreckage would stand a

better chance than each on their own.

Krogstad. Christine I...

Mrs. Linde. What do you suppose brought me to town?

Krogstad. Do you mean that you gave me a thought?

Mrs. Linde. I could not endure life without work. All my life, as

long as I can remember, I have worked, and it has been my greatest

and only pleasure. But now I am quite alone in the world--my life

is so dreadfully empty and I feel so forsaken. There is not the

least pleasure in working for one's self. Nils, give me someone and

something to work for.

Krogstad. I don't trust that. It is nothing but a woman's

overstrained sense of generosity that prompts you to make such an

offer of yourself.

Mrs. Linde. Have you ever noticed anything of the sort in me?

Krogstad. Could you really do it? Tell me--do you know all about

my past life?

Mrs. Linde. Yes.

Krogstad. And do you know what they think of me here?

Mrs. Linde. You seemed to me to imply that with me you might have

been quite another man.

Krogstad. I am certain of it.

Mrs. Linde. Is it too late now?

Krogstad. Christine, are you saying this deliberately? Yes, I am

sure you are. I see it in your face. Have you really the courage,


Mrs. Linde. I want to be a mother to someone, and your children

need a mother. We two need each other. Nils, I have faith in your

real character--I can dare anything together with you.

Krogstad (grasps her hands). Thanks, thanks, Christine! Now I

shall find a way to clear myself in the eyes of the world. Ah,

but I forgot--

Mrs. Linde (listening). Hush! The Tarantella! Go, go!

Krogstad. Why? What is it?

Mrs. Linde. Do you hear them up there? When that is over, we may

expect them back.

Krogstad. Yes, yes--I will go. But it is all no use. Of course

you are not aware what steps I have taken in the matter of the


Mrs. Linde. Yes, I know all about that.

Krogstad. And in spite of that have you the courage to--?

Mrs. Linde. I understand very well to what lengths a man like you

might be driven by despair.

Krogstad. If I could only undo what I have done!

Mrs. Linde. You cannot. Your letter is lying in the letter-box


Krogstad. Are you sure of that?

Mrs. Linde. Quite sure, but--

Krogstad (with a searching look at her). Is that what it all

means?--that you want to save your friend at any cost? Tell me

frankly. Is that it?

Mrs. Linde. Nils, a woman who has once sold herself for another's

sake, doesn't do it a second time.

Krogstad. I will ask for my letter back.

Mrs. Linde. No, no.

Krogstad. Yes, of course I will. I will wait here until Helmer

comes; I will tell him he must give me my letter back--that it

only concerns my dismissal--that he is not to read it--

Mrs. Linde. No, Nils, you must not recall your letter.

Krogstad. But, tell me, wasn't it for that very purpose that you

asked me to meet you here?

Mrs. Linde. In my first moment of fright, it was. But twenty-four

hours have elapsed since then, and in that time I have witnessed

incredible things in this house. Helmer must know all about it.

This unhappy secret must be disclosed; they must have a complete

understanding between them, which is impossible with all this

concealment and falsehood going on.

Krogstad. Very well, if you will take the responsibility. But

there is one thing I can do in any case, and I shall do it at


Mrs. Linde (listening). You must be quick and go! The dance is

over; we are not safe a moment longer.

Krogstad. I will wait for you below.

Mrs. Linde. Yes, do. You must see me back to my door...

Krogstad. I have never had such an amazing piece of good fortune

in my life! (Goes out through the outer door. The door between

the room and the hall remains open.)

Mrs. Linde (tidying up the room and laying her hat and cloak

ready). What a difference! what a difference! Someone to work

for and live for--a home to bring comfort into. That I will do,

indeed. I wish they would be quick and come--(Listens.) Ah, there

they are now. I must put on my things. (Takes up her hat and

cloak. HELMER'S and NORA'S voices are heard outside; a key is

turned, and HELMER brings NORA almost by force into the hall. She

is in an Italian costume with a large black shawl around her; he

is in evening dress, and a black domino which is flying open.)

Nora (hanging back in the doorway, and struggling with him). No,

no, no!--don't take me in. I want to go upstairs again; I don't

want to leave so early.

Helmer. But, my dearest Nora--

Nora. Please, Torvald dear--please, please--only an hour more.

Helmer. Not a single minute, my sweet Nora. You know that was our

agreement. Come along into the room; you are catching cold

standing there. (He brings her gently into the room, in spite of

her resistance.)

Mrs. Linde. Good evening.

Nora. Christine!

Helmer. You here, so late, Mrs. Linde?

Mrs. Linde. Yes, you must excuse me; I was so anxious to see Nora

in her dress.

Nora. Have you been sitting here waiting for me?

Mrs. Linde. Yes, unfortunately I came too late, you had already

gone upstairs; and I thought I couldn't go away again without

having seen you.

Helmer (taking off NORA'S shawl). Yes, take a good look at her. I

think she is worth looking at. Isn't she charming, Mrs. Linde?

Mrs. Linde. Yes, indeed she is.

Helmer. Doesn't she look remarkably pretty? Everyone thought so

at the dance. But she is terribly self-willed, this sweet little

person. What are we to do with her? You will hardly believe that

I had almost to bring her away by force.

Nora. Torvald, you will repent not having let me stay, even if it

were only for half an hour.

Helmer. Listen to her, Mrs. Linde! She had danced her Tarantella,

and it had been a tremendous success, as it deserved--although

possibly the performance was a trifle too realistic--a little

more so, I mean, than was strictly compatible with the limitations

of art. But never mind about that! The chief thing is, she had made

a success--she had made a tremendous success. Do you think I was going

to let her remain there after that, and spoil the effect? No, indeed!

I took my charming little Capri maiden--my capricious little

Capri maiden, I should say--on my arm; took one quick turn

round the room; a curtsey on either side, and, as they say in

novels, the beautiful apparition disappeared. An exit ought always

to be effective, Mrs. Linde; but that is what I cannot make Nora

understand. Pooh! this room is hot. (Throws his domino on a

chair, and opens the door of his room.) Hullo! it's all dark

in here. Oh, of course--excuse me--. (He goes in, and lights

some candles.)

Nora (in a hurried and breathless whisper). Well?

Mrs. Linde (in a low voice). I have had a talk with him.

Nora. Yes, and--

Mrs. Linde. Nora, you must tell your husband all about it.

Nora (in an expressionless voice). I knew it.

Mrs. Linde. You have nothing to be afraid of as far as Krogstad

is concerned; but you must tell him.

Nora. I won't tell him.

Mrs. Linde. Then the letter will.

Nora. Thank you, Christine. Now I know what I must do. Hush--!

Helmer (coming in again). Well, Mrs. Linde, have you admired her?

Mrs. Linde. Yes, and now I will say goodnight.

Helmer. What, already? Is this yours, this knitting?

Mrs. Linde (taking it). Yes, thank you, I had very nearly forgotten it.

Helmer. So you knit?

Mrs. Linde. Of course.

Helmer. Do you know, you ought to embroider.

Mrs. Linde. Really? Why?

Helmer. Yes, it's far more becoming. Let me show you. You hold

the embroidery thus in your left hand, and use the needle with

the right--like this--with a long, easy sweep. Do you see?

Mrs. Linde. Yes, perhaps--

Helmer. But in the case of knitting--that can never be anything

but ungraceful; look here--the arms close together, the knitting-

needles going up and down--it has a sort of Chinese effect--.

That was really excellent champagne they gave us.

Mrs. Linde. Well,--goodnight, Nora, and don't be self-willed any


Helmer. That's right, Mrs. Linde.

Mrs. Linde. Goodnight, Mr. Helmer.

Helmer (accompanying her to the door). Goodnight, goodnight. I

hope you will get home all right. I should be very happy to--but

you haven't any great distance to go. Goodnight, goodnight.

(She goes out; he shuts the door after her, and comes in again.)

Ah!--at last we have got rid of her. She is a frightful bore,

that woman.

Nora. Aren't you very tired, Torvald?

Helmer. No, not in the least.

Nora. Nor sleepy?

Helmer. Not a bit. On the contrary, I feel extraordinarily lively.

And you?--you really look both tired and sleepy.

Nora. Yes, I am very tired. I want to go to sleep at once.

Helmer. There, you see it was quite right of me not to let you

stay there any longer.

Nora. Everything you do is quite right, Torvald.

Helmer (kissing her on the forehead). Now my little skylark is

speaking reasonably. Did you notice what good spirits Rank was in

this evening?

Nora. Really? Was he? I didn't speak to him at all.

Helmer. And I very little, but I have not for a long time seen

him in such good form. (Looks for a while at her and then goes

nearer to her.) It is delightful to be at home by ourselves again,

to be all alone with you--you fascinating, charming little darling!

Nora. Don't look at me like that, Torvald.

Helmer. Why shouldn't I look at my dearest treasure?--at all the

beauty that is mine, all my very own?

Nora (going to the other side of the table). You mustn't say

things like that to me tonight.

Helmer (following her). You have still got the Tarantella in your

blood, I see. And it makes you more captivating than ever.

Listen--the guests are beginning to go now. (In a lower voice.)

Nora--soon the whole house will be quiet.

Nora. Yes, I hope so.

Helmer. Yes, my own darling Nora. Do you know, when I am out at a

party with you like this, why I speak so little to you, keep away

from you, and only send a stolen glance in your direction now and

then?--do you know why I do that? It is because I make believe to

myself that we are secretly in love, and you are my secretly

promised bride, and that no one suspects there is anything between us.

Nora. Yes, yes--I know very well your thoughts are with me all

the time.

Helmer. And when we are leaving, and I am putting the shawl over

your beautiful young shoulders--on your lovely neck--then I imagine

that you are my young bride and that we have just come from the

wedding, and I am bringing you for the first time into our

home--to be alone with you for the first time--quite alone with

my shy little darling! All this evening I have longed for nothing

but you. When I watched the seductive figures of the Tarantella,

my blood was on fire; I could endure it no longer, and that was

why I brought you down so early--

Nora. Go away, Torvald! You must let me go. I won't--

Helmer. What's that? You're joking, my little Nora! You won't--

you won't? Am I not your husband--? (A knock is heard at the

outer door.)

Nora (starting). Did you hear--?

Helmer (going into the hall). Who is it?

Rank (outside). It is I. May I come in for a moment?

Helmer (in a fretful whisper). Oh, what does he want now?

(Aloud.) Wait a minute! (Unlocks the door.) Come, that's kind of

you not to pass by our door.

Rank. I thought I heard your voice, and felt as if I should like

to look in. (With a swift glance round.) Ah, yes!--these dear

familiar rooms. You are very happy and cosy in here, you two.

Helmer. It seems to me that you looked after yourself pretty well

upstairs too.

Rank. Excellently. Why shouldn't I? Why shouldn't one enjoy

everything in this world?--at any rate as much as one can, and as

long as one can. The wine was capital--

Helmer. Especially the champagne.

Rank. So you noticed that too? It is almost incredible how much I

managed to put away!

Nora. Torvald drank a great deal of champagne tonight too.

Rank. Did he?

Nora. Yes, and he is always in such good spirits afterwards.

Rank. Well, why should one not enjoy a merry evening after a

well-spent day?

Helmer. Well spent? I am afraid I can't take credit for that.

Rank (clapping him on the back). But I can, you know!

Nora. Doctor Rank, you must have been occupied with some

scientific investigation today.

Rank. Exactly.

Helmer. Just listen!--little Nora talking about scientific


Nora. And may I congratulate you on the result?

Rank. Indeed you may.

Nora. Was it favourable, then?

Rank. The best possible, for both doctor and patient--certainty.

Nora (quickly and searchingly). Certainty?

Rank. Absolute certainty. So wasn't I entitled to make a merry

evening of it after that?

Nora. Yes, you certainly were, Doctor Rank. Helmer. I think so

too, so long as you don't have to pay for it in the morning.

Rank. Oh well, one can't have anything in this life without

paying for it.

Nora. Doctor Rank--are you fond of fancy-dress balls?

Rank. Yes, if there is a fine lot of pretty costumes.

Nora. Tell me--what shall we two wear at the next?

Helmer. Little featherbrain!--are you thinking of the next


Rank. We two? Yes, I can tell you. You shall go as a good fairy--

Helmer. Yes, but what do you suggest as an appropriate costume

for that?

Rank. Let your wife go dressed just as she is in everyday life.

Helmer. That was really very prettily turned. But can't you tell

us what you will be?

Rank. Yes, my dear friend, I have quite made up my mind about that.

Helmer. Well?

Rank. At the next fancy-dress ball I shall be invisible.

Helmer. That's a good joke!

Rank. There is a big black hat--have you never heard of hats that

make you invisible? If you put one on, no one can see you.

Helmer (suppressing a smile). Yes, you are quite right.

Rank. But I am clean forgetting what I came for. Helmer, give me

a cigar--one of the dark Havanas.

Helmer. With the greatest pleasure. (Offers him his case.)

Rank (takes a cigar and cuts off the end). Thanks.

Nora (striking a match). Let me give you a light.

Rank. Thank you. (She holds the match for him to light his

cigar.) And now goodbye!

Helmer. Goodbye, goodbye, dear old man!

Nora. Sleep well, Doctor Rank.

Rank. Thank you for that wish.

Nora. Wish me the same.

Rank. You? Well, if you want me to sleep well! And thanks for the

light. (He nods to them both and goes out.)

Helmer (in a subdued voice). He has drunk more than he ought.

Nora (absently). Maybe. (HELMER takes a bunch of keys out of his

pocket and goes into the hall.) Torvald! what are you going to do


Helmer. Emptying the letter-box; it is quite full; there will be no

room to put the newspaper in tomorrow morning.

Nora. Are you going to work tonight?

Helmer. You know quite well I'm not. What is this? Someone has

been at the lock.

Nora. At the lock--?

Helmer. Yes, someone has. What can it mean? I should never have

thought the maid--. Here is a broken hairpin. Nora, it is one of


Nora (quickly). Then it must have been the children--

Helmer. Then you must get them out of those ways. There, at last

I have got it open. (Takes out the contents of the letter-box,

and calls to the kitchen.) Helen!--Helen, put out the light over

the front door. (Goes back into the room and shuts the door into

the hall. He holds out his hand full of letters.) Look at that--

look what a heap of them there are. (Turning them over.) What on

earth is that?

Nora (at the window). The letter--No! Torvald, no!

Helmer. Two cards--of Rank's.

Nora. Of Doctor Rank's?

Helmer (looking at them). Doctor Rank. They were on the top. He

must have put them in when he went out.

Nora. Is there anything written on them?

Helmer. There is a black cross over the name. Look there--what an

uncomfortable idea! It looks as if he were announcing his own death.

Nora. It is just what he is doing.

Helmer. What? Do you know anything about it? Has he said anything

to you?

Nora. Yes. He told me that when the cards came it would be his

leave-taking from us. He means to shut himself up and die.

Helmer. My poor old friend! Certainly I knew we should not have

him very long with us. But so soon! And so he hides himself away

like a wounded animal.

Nora. If it has to happen, it is best it should be without a

word--don't you think so, Torvald?

Helmer (walking up and down). He had so grown into our lives. I

can't think of him as having gone out of them. He, with his

sufferings and his loneliness, was like a cloudy background to

our sunlit happiness. Well, perhaps it is best so. For him,

anyway. (Standing still.) And perhaps for us too, Nora. We

two are thrown quite upon each other now. (Puts his arms round

her.) My darling wife, I don't feel as if I could hold you tight

enough. Do you know, Nora, I have often wished that you might be

threatened by some great danger, so that I might risk my life's

blood, and everything, for your sake.

Nora (disengages herself, and says firmly and decidedly). Now you

must read your letters, Torvald.

Helmer. No, no; not tonight. I want to be with you, my darling wife.

Nora. With the thought of your friend's death--

Helmer. You are right, it has affected us both. Something ugly

has come between us--the thought of the horrors of death.

We must try and rid our minds of that. Until then--we will

each go to our own room.

Nora (hanging on his neck). Goodnight, Torvald--Goodnight!

Helmer (kissing her on the forehead). Goodnight, my little

singing-bird. Sleep sound, Nora. Now I will read my letters

through. (He takes his letters and goes into his room, shutting

the door after him.)

Nora (gropes distractedly about, seizes HELMER'S domino, throws

it round her, while she says in quick, hoarse, spasmodic

whispers). Never to see him again. Never! Never! (Puts her shawl

over her head.) Never to see my children again either--never

again. Never! Never!--Ah! the icy, black water--the unfathomable

depths--If only it were over! He has got it now--now he is reading

it. Goodbye, Torvald and my children! (She is about to rush out

through the hall, when HELMER opens his door hurriedly and stands

with an open letter in his hand.)

Helmer. Nora!

Nora. Ah!--Helmer. What is this? Do you know what is in this letter?

Nora. Yes, I know. Let me go! Let me get out!

Helmer (holding her back). Where are you going?

Nora (trying to get free). You shan't save me, Torvald!

Helmer (reeling). True? Is this true, that I read here? Horrible!

No, no--it is impossible that it can be true.

Nora. It is true. I have loved you above everything else in the world.

Helmer. Oh, don't let us have any silly excuses.

Nora (taking a step towards him). Torvald--!

Helmer. Miserable creature--what have you done?

Nora. Let me go. You shall not suffer for my sake. You shall not

take it upon yourself.

Helmer. No tragic airs, please. (Locks the hall door.) Here you

shall stay and give me an explanation. Do you understand what you

have done? Answer me! Do you understand what you have done?

Nora (looks steadily at him and says with a growing look of

coldness in her face). Yes, now I am beginning to understand


Helmer (walking about the room). What a horrible awakening! All

these eight years--she who was my joy and pride--a hypocrite, a

liar--worse, worse--a criminal! The unutterable ugliness of it

all!--For shame! For shame! (NORA is silent and looks steadily at

him. He stops in front of her.) I ought to have suspected that

something of the sort would happen. I ought to have foreseen it.

All your father's want of principle--be silent!--all your father's

want of principle has come out in you. No religion, no morality,

no sense of duty--. How I am punished for having winked at what he did!

I did it for your sake, and this is how you repay me.

Nora. Yes, that's just it.

Helmer. Now you have destroyed all my happiness. You have ruined

all my future. It is horrible to think of! I am in the power of

an unscrupulous man; he can do what he likes with me, ask anything

he likes of me, give me any orders he pleases--I dare not refuse.

And I must sink to such miserable depths because of a thoughtless woman!

Nora. When I am out of the way, you will be free.

Helmer. No fine speeches, please. Your father had always plenty

of those ready, too. What good would it be to me if you were out

of the way, as you say? Not the slightest. He can make the affair

known everywhere; and if he does, I may be falsely suspected of

having been a party to your criminal action. Very likely people

will think I was behind it all--that it was I who prompted you!

And I have to thank you for all this--you whom I have cherished

during the whole of our married life. Do you understand now what

it is you have done for me?

Nora (coldly and quietly). Yes.

Helmer. It is so incredible that I can't take it in. But we must

come to some understanding. Take off that shawl. Take it off, I

tell you. I must try and appease him some way or another. The

matter must be hushed up at any cost. And as for you and me, it

must appear as if everything between us were just as before-- but

naturally only in the eyes of the world. You will still remain in

my house, that is a matter of course. But I shall not allow you

to bring up the children; I dare not trust them to you. To think

that I should be obliged to say so to one whom I have loved so

dearly, and whom I still--. No, that is all over. From this moment

happiness is not the question; all that concerns us is to save the

remains, the fragments, the appearance--

(A ring is heard at the front-door bell.)

Helmer (with a start). What is that? So late! Can the worst--?

Can he--? Hide yourself, Nora. Say you are ill.

(NORA stands motionless. HELMER goes and unlocks the hall door.)

Maid (half-dressed, comes to the door). A letter for the mistress.

Helmer. Give it to me. (Takes the letter, and shuts the door.)

Yes, it is from him. You shall not have it; I will read it myself.

Nora. Yes, read it.

Helmer (standing by the lamp). I scarcely have the courage to do

it. It may mean ruin for both of us. No, I must know. (Tears open

the letter, runs his eye over a few lines, looks at a paper

enclosed, and gives a shout of joy.) Nora! (She looks at him

questioningly.) Nora!--No, I must read it once again--. Yes, it

is true! I am saved! Nora, I am saved!

Nora. And I?

Helmer. You too, of course; we are both saved, both you and I.

Look, he sends you your bond back. He says he regrets and repents--

that a happy change in his life--never mind what he says! We

are saved, Nora! No one can do anything to you. Oh, Nora,

Nora!--no, first I must destroy these hateful things. Let

me see--. (Takes a look at the bond.) No, no, I won't look

at it. The whole thing shall be nothing but a bad dream to

me. (Tears up the bond and both letters, throws them all

into the stove, and watches them burn.) There--now it doesn't

exist any longer. He says that since Christmas Eve you--.

These must have been three dreadful days for you, Nora.

Nora. I have fought a hard fight these three days.

Helmer. And suffered agonies, and seen no way out but--. No, we

won't call any of the horrors to mind. We will only shout with

joy, and keep saying, "It's all over! It's all over!" Listen to

me, Nora. You don't seem to realise that it is all over. What is

this?--such a cold, set face! My poor little Nora, I quite

understand; you don't feel as if you could believe that I have

forgiven you. But it is true, Nora, I swear it; I have forgiven

you everything. I know that what you did, you did out of love for me.

Nora. That is true.

Helmer. You have loved me as a wife ought to love her husband. Only

you had not sufficient knowledge to judge of the means you used. But

do you suppose you are any the less dear to me, because you don't

understand how to act on your own responsibility? No, no; only lean

on me; I will advise you and direct you. I should not be a man if

this womanly helplessness did not just give you a double

attractiveness in my eyes. You must not think anymore about the

hard things I said in my first moment of consternation, when

I thought everything was going to overwhelm me. I have forgiven

you, Nora; I swear to you I have forgiven you.

Nora. Thank you for your forgiveness. (She goes out through the

door to the right.)

Helmer. No, don't go--. (Looks in.) What are you doing in there?

Nora (from within). Taking off my fancy dress.

Helmer (standing at the open door). Yes, do. Try and calm yourself,

and make your mind easy again, my frightened little singing-bird. Be

at rest, and feel secure; I have broad wings to shelter you under.

(Walks up and down by the door.) How warm and cosy our home is,

Nora. Here is shelter for you; here I will protect you like a

hunted dove that I have saved from a hawk's claws; I will bring

peace to your poor beating heart. It will come, little by little,

Nora, believe me. Tomorrow morning you will look upon it all quite

differently; soon everything will be just as it was before.

Very soon you won't need me to assure you that I have forgiven

you; you will yourself feel the certainty that I have done so.

Can you suppose I should ever think of such a thing as

repudiating you, or even reproaching you? You have no

idea what a true man's heart is like, Nora. There is something so

indescribably sweet and satisfying, to a man, in the knowledge

that he has forgiven his wife--forgiven her freely, and with all

his heart. It seems as if that had made her, as it were, doubly

his own; he has given her a new life, so to speak; and she has

in a way become both wife and child to him. So you shall be for

me after this, my little scared, helpless darling. Have no

anxiety about anything, Nora; only be frank and open with me,

and I will serve as will and conscience both to you--. What

is this? Not gone to bed? Have you changed your things?

Nora (in everyday dress). Yes, Torvald, I have changed my things now.

Helmer. But what for?--so late as this.

Nora. I shall not sleep tonight.

Helmer. But, my dear Nora--

Nora (looking at her watch). It is not so very late. Sit down

here, Torvald. You and I have much to say to one another. (She

sits down at one side of the table.)

Helmer. Nora--what is this?--this cold, set face? Nora. Sit down.

It will take some time; I have a lot to talk over with you.

Helmer (sits down at the opposite side of the table). You alarm

me, Nora!--and I don't understand you.

Nora. No, that is just it. You don't understand me, and I have

never understood you either--before tonight. No, you mustn't

interrupt me. You must simply listen to what I say. Torvald,

this is a settling of accounts.

Helmer. What do you mean by that?

Nora (after a short silence). Isn't there one thing that strikes

you as strange in our sitting here like this?

Helmer. What is that?

Nora. We have been married now eight years. Does it not occur

to you that this is the first time we two, you and I, husband

and wife, have had a serious conversation?

Helmer. What do you mean by serious?

Nora. In all these eight years--longer than that--from the very

beginning of our acquaintance, we have never exchanged a word on

any serious subject.

Helmer. Was it likely that I would be continually and forever

telling you about worries that you could not help me to bear?

Nora. I am not speaking about business matters. I say that we

have never sat down in earnest together to try and get at the

bottom of anything.

Helmer. But, dearest Nora, would it have been any good to you?

Nora. That is just it; you have never understood me. I have been

greatly wronged, Torvald--first by papa and then by you.

Helmer. What! By us two--by us two, who have loved you better

than anyone else in the world?

Nora (shaking her head). You have never loved me. You have only

thought it pleasant to be in love with me.

Helmer. Nora, what do I hear you saying?

Nora. It is perfectly true, Torvald. When I was at home with

papa, he told me his opinion about everything, and so I

had the same opinions; and if I differed from him I

concealed the fact, because he would not have liked it.

He called me his doll-child, and he played with me just

as I used to play with my dolls. And when I came to

live with you--

Helmer. What sort of an expression is that to use about our marriage?

Nora (undisturbed). I mean that I was simply transferred from

papa's hands into yours. You arranged everything according to

your own taste, and so I got the same tastes as your else I

pretended to, I am really not quite sure which--I think

sometimes the one and sometimes the other. When I look back

on it, it seems to me as if I had been living here like a

poor woman--just from hand to mouth. I have existed merely

to perform tricks for you, Torvald. But you would have it

so. You and papa have committed a great sin against me.

It is your fault that I have made nothing of my life.

Helmer. How unreasonable and how ungrateful you are, Nora! Have

you not been happy here?

Nora. No, I have never been happy. I thought I was, but it has

never really been so.

Helmer. Not--not happy!

Nora. No, only merry. And you have always been so kind to me.

But our home has been nothing but a playroom. I have been

your doll-wife, just as at home I was papa's doll-child; and

here the children have been my dolls. I thought it great fun

when you played with me, just as they thought it great fun

when I played with them. That is what our marriage has been, Torvald.

Helmer. There is some truth in what you say--exaggerated and

strained as your view of it is. But for the future it shall be

different. Playtime shall be over, and lesson-time shall begin.

Nora. Whose lessons? Mine, or the children's?

Helmer. Both yours and the children's, my darling Nora.

Nora. Alas, Torvald, you are not the man to educate me into being

a proper wife for you.

Helmer. And you can say that!

Nora. And I--how am I fitted to bring up the children?

Helmer. Nora!

Nora. Didn't you say so yourself a little while ago-- that you

dare not trust me to bring them up?

Helmer. In a moment of anger! Why do you pay any heed to that?

Nora. Indeed, you were perfectly right. I am not fit for the

task. There is another task I must undertake first. I must

try and educate myself--you are not the man to help me in

that. I must do that for myself. And that is why I am

going to leave you now.

Helmer (springing up). What do you say?

Nora. I must stand quite alone, if I am to understand myself and

everything about me. It is for that reason that I cannot remain

with you any longer.

Helmer. Nora, Nora!

Nora. I am going away from here now, at once. I am sure Christine

will take me in for the night--

Helmer. You are out of your mind! I won't allow it! I forbid you!

Nora. It is no use forbidding me anything any longer. I will take

with me what belongs to myself. I will take nothing from you,

either now or later.

Helmer. What sort of madness is this!

Nora. Tomorrow I shall go home-- I mean, to my old home. It will

be easiest for me to find something to do there.

Helmer. You blind, foolish woman!

Nora. I must try and get some sense, Torvald.

Helmer. To desert your home, your husband and your children! And

you don't consider what people will say!

Nora. I cannot consider that at all. I only know that it is

necessary for me.

Helmer. It's shocking. This is how you would neglect your most

sacred duties.

Nora. What do you consider my most sacred duties?

Helmer. Do I need to tell you that? Are they not your duties to

your husband and your children?

Nora. I have other duties just as sacred.

Helmer. That you have not. What duties could those be?

Nora. Duties to myself.

Helmer. Before all else, you are a wife and a mother.

Nora. I don't believe that any longer. I believe that before all

else I am a reasonable human being, just as you are-- or, at all

events, that I must try and become one. I know quite well,

Torvald, that most people would think you right, and that

views of that kind are to be found in books; but I can no

longer content myself with what most people say, or with

what is found in books. I must think over things for myself

and get to understand them.

Helmer. Can you not understand your place in your own home?

Have you not a reliable guide in such matters as that?--have

you no religion?

Nora. I am afraid, Torvald, I do not exactly know what religion is.

Helmer. What are you saying?

Nora. I know nothing but what the clergyman said, when I went

to be confirmed. He told us that religion was this, and that,

and the other. When I am away from all this, and am alone,

I will look into that matter too. I will see if what the

clergyman said is true, or at all events if it is true for me.

Helmer. This is unheard of in a girl of your age! But if religion

cannot lead you aright, let me try and awaken your conscience. I

suppose you have some moral sense? Or-- answer me-- am I to think you

have none?

Nora. I assure you, Torvald, that is not an easy question to answer.

I really don't know. The thing perplexes me altogether. I only

know that you and I look at it in quite a different light.

I am learning, too, that the law is quite another thing from

what I supposed; but I find it impossible to convince myself

that the law is right. According to it a woman has no right

to spare her old dying father, or to save her husband's

life. I can't believe that.

Helmer. You talk like a child. You don't understand the

conditions of the world in which you live.

Nora. No, I don't. But now I am going to try. I am going

to see if I can make out who is right, the world or I.

Helmer. You are ill, Nora; you are delirious; I almost think you

are out of your mind.

Nora. I have never felt my mind so clear and certain as tonight.

Helmer. And is it with a clear and certain mind that you forsake

your husband and your children?

Nora. Yes, it is.

Helmer. Then there is only one possible explanation.

Nora. What is that?

Helmer. You do not love me anymore.

Nora. No, that is just it.

Helmer. Nora!--and you can say that?

Nora. It gives me great pain, Torvald, for you have always been

so kind to me, but I cannot help it. I do not love you any more.

Helmer (regaining his composure). Is that a clear and certain

conviction too?

Nora. Yes, absolutely clear and certain. That is the reason why I

will not stay here any longer.

Helmer. And can you tell me what I have done to forfeit your love?

Nora. Yes, indeed I can. It was tonight, when the wonderful thing did not

happen; then I saw you were not the man I had thought you were.

Helmer. Explain yourself better. I don't understand you.

Nora. I have waited so patiently for eight years; for, goodness

knows, I knew very well that wonderful things don't happen every

day. Then this horrible misfortune came upon me; and then I felt

quite certain that the wonderful thing was going to happen at last.

When Krogstad's letter was lying out there, never for a moment

did I imagine that you would consent to accept this man's

conditions. I was so absolutely certain that you would say

to him: Publish the thing to the whole world. And when that was done--

Helmer. Yes, what then?--when I had exposed my wife to shame and


Nora. When that was done, I was so absolutely certain, you would

come forward and take everything upon yourself, and say: I am the

guilty one.

Helmer. Nora--!

Nora. You mean that I would never have accepted such a sacrifice

on your part? No, of course not. But what would my assurances have

been worth against yours? That was the wonderful thing which I

hoped for and feared; and it was to prevent that, that I wanted

to kill myself.

Helmer. I would gladly work night and day for you, Nora--bear

sorrow and want for your sake. But no man would sacrifice his

honour for the one he loves.

Nora. It is a thing hundreds of thousands of women have done.

Helmer. Oh, you think and talk like a heedless child.

Nora. Maybe. But you neither think nor talk like the man I

could bind myself to. As soon as your fear was over--and it

was not fear for what threatened me, but for what might happen

to you--when the whole thing was past, as far as you were

concerned it was exactly as if nothing at all had happened.

Exactly as before, I was your little skylark, your doll,

which you would in future treat with doubly gentle care,

because it was so brittle and fragile. (Getting up.)

Torvald--it was then it dawned upon me that for eight

years I had been living here with a strange man, and had

borne him three children--. Oh, I can't bear to think

of it! I could tear myself into little bits!

Helmer (sadly). I see, I see. An abyss has opened between us--there

is no denying it. But, Nora, would it not be possible to fill it up?

Nora. As I am now, I am no wife for you.

Helmer. I have it in me to become a different man.

Nora. Perhaps-- if your doll is taken away from you.

Helmer. But to part!--to part from you! No, no, Nora, I can't

understand that idea.

Nora (going out to the right). That makes it all the more certain

that it must be done. (She comes back with her cloak and hat and

a small bag which she puts on a chair by the table.)

Helmer. Nora, Nora, not now! Wait until tomorrow.

Nora (putting on her cloak). I cannot spend the night in a

strange man's room.

Helmer. But can't we live here like brother and sister--?

Nora (putting on her hat). You know very well that would not last

long. (Puts the shawl round her.) Goodbye, Torvald. I won't see

the little ones. I know they are in better hands than mine. As

I am now, I can be of no use to them.

Helmer. But some day, Nora-- some day?

Nora. How can I tell? I have no idea what is going to become of me.

Helmer. But you are my wife, whatever becomes of you.

Nora. Listen, Torvald. I have heard that when a wife deserts her

husband's house, as I am doing now, he is legally freed from all

obligations towards her. In any case, I set you free from all your

obligations. You are not to feel yourself bound in the slightest

way, any more than I shall. There must be perfect freedom on

both sides. See, here is your ring back. Give me mine.

Helmer. That too?

Nora. That too.

Helmer. Here it is.

Nora. That's right. Now it is all over. I have put the keys here.

The maids know all about everything in the house-- better than I do.

Tomorrow, after I have left her, Christine will come here and

pack up my own things that I brought with me from home. I will

have them sent after me.

Helmer. All over! All over!--Nora, shall you never think of me again?

Nora. I know I shall often think of you, the children, and this house.

Helmer. May I write to you, Nora?

Nora. No--never. You must not do that.

Helmer. But at least let me send you--

Nora. Nothing--nothing--

Helmer. Let me help you if you are in want.

Nora. No. I can receive nothing from a stranger.

Helmer. Nora--can I never be anything more than a stranger to you?

Nora (taking her bag). Ah, Torvald, the most wonderful thing of

all would have to happen.

Helmer. Tell me what that would be!

Nora. Both you and I would have to be so changed that--. Oh, Torvald,

I don't believe any longer in wonderful things happening.

Helmer. But I will believe in it. Tell me! So changed that--?

Nora. That our life together would be a real wedlock. Goodbye.

(She goes out through the hall.)

Helmer (sinks down on a chair at the door and buries his face in

his hands). Nora! Nora! (Looks round, and rises.) Empty. She is gone. (A hope

flashes across his mind.) The most wonderful thing of all--?

(The sound of a door shutting is heard from below.)