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Complete 7 questions
A DOLL’S HOUSE- Assignment
WORTH UP TO 50 POINTS-SO WORK ON IT CAREFULLY!
Due March 26, 2021

1. WHY DID NORA THINK SHE LIVED IN A ‘DOLL’S HOUSE’ WITH HER HUSBAND FOR EIGHT YEARS? HOW DID IBSEN MANIPULALTE THE DIALOGUE TO REVEAL THIS SITUATION?

2. HOW DID TORVALD, NORA’S HUSBAND, STIFLE HER EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT?

3. DO YOU FIND THE CHANGE IN NILS KROGSTAD BELIEVABLE IN THIS PLAY?

4. DO YOU THINK NORA’S DECISION TO LEAVE HER HUSBAND AND CHILDREN IS AN EFFECTIVE ENDING FOR THIS PLAY? WOULD YOU CHANGE IT?

5. WHAT DO YOU THINK IBSEN’S MESSAGE IS CONCERNING WOMEN AND NINETEENTH CENTURY WESTERN SOCIETY AT THE TIME IT WAS WRITTEN, IN 1879? DO YOU THINK HE WOULD ADVOCATE SOME OF THE IDEAS THAT, SAY, JOHN STUART MILL HELD?

6. WHAT CHOICES DID NINETEENTH CENTURY WOMEN HAVE IN DETERMINING A LIFE PATH?

7. HOW DOES NORA COME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT HER LIFE IS INAUTHENTIC? IS THIS ENDING A REALISTIC ONE FOR THIS PLAY? WHY OR WHY NOT?

A DOLL’S HOUSE

BY
HENRIK IBSEN

1879

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen.

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CONTENTS
Dramatis Personae

Act I

Act II

Act III

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

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.]

1

ACT I

[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 door.]

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?

2

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 bought.

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 economise.

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
were.

3

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-time?

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 evening.

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–

4

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 might–

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 money?

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

5

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?

6

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.

7

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.

8

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 possible?

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 luck?

9

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 finger at
her.] But “Nora, Nora” is not so silly as you think. We have not been in a
position for me to waste money. We have both had to work.

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?

10

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 every day. No, Torvald
has not had an hour’s illness since then, and our children are strong and
healthy and so am I. [Jumps up and claps her hands.] Christine! Christine! it’s
good to be alive and happy!–But how horrid of me; I am talking of nothing

11

but my own affairs. [Sits on a stool near her, and rests her arms on her
knees.] You mustn’t be angry with me. Tell me, is it really true that you did
not love your husband? Why did you marry him?

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, then?

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

12

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 troubles.

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?

13

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 brothers?

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 money.

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?

14

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 consent.

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 life?

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

15

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?

16

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

17

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 about?

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 …

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