PLAY IN FOUR ACTS.
A FAMILY-DRAMA IN THREE ACTS.
A DRAMATIC EPILOGUE.
room furnished comfortably and tastefully, but not extravagantly.
the back, a door to the right leads to the entrance-hall, another
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, armchairs 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
a rocking-chair; between the stove and the door, a small table.
Engravings on the wall; a cabinet with china and other small
a small book-case with well-bound books. The floors are carpeted,
a fire burns in the stove. It is winter.A
bell rings in the hall; shortly afterwards the door is heard to
humming a tune and in high spirits. She is in out-door 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
MAID who has opened
Hide the Christmas Tree carefully, Helen. Be sure the children do
see it till this evening, when it is dressed. (To
taking out her purse.)
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
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
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.
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
Yes, but, Torvald, this year we really can let ourselves go a
This is the first Christmas that we have not needed to
Still, you know, we can't spend money recklessly.Nora.
Yes, Torvald, we may be a wee bit more reckless now, mayn't we?
a tiny wee bit! You are going to have a big salary and earn lots
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 till 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
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
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
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
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
way for the short time longer that there need be any
(moving towards the
stove). As you
Come, come, my little skylark must not droop her wings. What is
Is my little squirrel out of temper? (Taking
out his purse.)
Nora, what do you think I have got here?Nora
There you are. (Gives
her some money.) Do
you think I don't know what a lot is wanted for housekeeping at
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 ah 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
And what is in this parcel?Nora
No, no! you mustn't see that till this evening.Helmer.
Very well. But now tell me, you extravagant little person, what
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.
(playing with his
coat buttons, and without raising her eyes to his).
If you really want to give me something, you might—you
Well, out with it!Nora
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
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
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
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
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.
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
That's very true,—all you can. But you can't save anything!Nora
(smiling quietly and
haven't any idea how many expenses we skylarks and squirrels have,
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.
You do, really. Look straight at me.Nora
(looks at him).
(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
be revealed tonight when the Christmas Tree is lit, no
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,
It is splendid to feel that one has a perfectly safe appointment,
a big enough income. It's delightful to think of, isn't it?Nora.
Do you remember last Christmas? For a full three weeks beforehand
shut yourself up every evening till 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
I didn't find it dull.Helmer
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
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 someone 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
HELMER). The doctor came at the same time, sir.Helmer.
Did he go straight into my room?Maid.
goes into his room. The
MAID ushers in
MRS. LINDE, who is
in traveling dress, and shuts the door.)Mrs
a dejected and timid voice).
How do you do, Nora?Nora
How do you do—Mrs.
Linde. You don't
recognize 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
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 arm-chair; 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.
suddenly and speaks seriously.)
What a thoughtless creature I am, chattering away like this. My
dear Christine, do forgive me.Mrs.
Linde. What do you
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
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
It was very bad of me, Christine. Poor thing, how you must have
suffered. And he left you nothing?Mrs.
And no children?Mrs.
Nothing at all, then?Mrs.
Linde. Not even any
sorrow or grief to live upon.Nora
incredulously at her).
But, Christine, is that possible?Mrs.
sadly and strokes her hair).
It sometimes happens, Nora.Nora.
So you are quite alone. How dreadfully sad that must be. I have
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
know we have just had a great piece of good luck?Mrs.
Linde. No, what is
Just fancy, my husband has been made manager of the Bank!Mrs.
husband? What good luck!Nora.
Yes tremendous! A barrister's profession is such an uncertain
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
the Bank at the New Year, and then he will have a big salary and
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.
Nora, Nora, haven't you learnt sense yet? In our schooldays you
a great spendthrift.Nora
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
Linde. You too?Nora.
Yes; odds and ends, needlework, crochet-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
and earn more than before. But during the first year he overworked
himself dreadfully. You see, he had to make money every way he
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
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
beautiful journey, and it saved Torvald's life. But it cost a
tremendous lot of money, Christine.Mrs.
Linde. So I should
It cost about two hundred and fifty pounds. That's a lot, isn't
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
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. I thought
your maid said the gentleman who arrived here just as I did, was
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.
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
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
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,
Linde. I believe he
was quite well off. But his business was a precarious one; and,
he died, it all went to pieces and there was nothing left.Nora.
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
either; they have got situations and can shift for
What a relief you must feel it—Mrs.
Linde. No, indeed;
I only feel my life unspeakably empty. No one to live for any more.
is why I could not stand the life in my little backwater any
I hope it may be easier here to find something which will busy me
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
now. You had far better go away to some watering-place.Mrs.
to the window). I
have no father to give me money for a journey, Nora.Nora
Oh, don't be angry with me.Mrs.
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
obliged to be always on the look-out for chances. One must live,
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,
you know so little of the burdens and troubles of life.Nora.
I—? I know so little of them?Mrs
My dear! Small household cares and that sort of thing!—You are a
(tosses her head and
crosses the stage).
You ought not to be so superior.Mrs.
You are just like all the others. They all think that I am
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.
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
Linde. Indeed, I
don't look down on any one. 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
Linde. I think I
have the right to be.Nora.
I think so, too. But now, listen to this; I too have something to
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
one in the world must know, Christine, except you.Mrs.
Linde. But what is
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.
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
Yes, that is what Torvald and all the others think, but—Mrs.
Papa didn't give us a shilling. It was I who procured the
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
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, hu! 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.
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
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
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
save him was to live in the south. Do you suppose I didn't try,
of all, to get what I wanted as if it were for myself? I told him
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
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
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
it would be for Torvald, with his manly independence, to know that
owed me anything! It would upset our mutual relations altogether;
beautiful happy home would no longer be what it is now.Mrs.
Linde. Do you mean
never to tell him about it?Nora
with a half smile.)
Yes—some day, 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,
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
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
been by no means easy for me to meet my engagements punctually. I
tell you that there is something that is called, in business,
quarterly interest, and another thing called payment in
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,
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
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
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
and sat writing every evening until quite late at night. Many a
I was desperately tired; but all the same it was a tremendous
pleasure to sit there working and earning money. It was like being
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
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
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,
I couldn't think of any way of procuring money. But it's all the
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
be free from care, quite free from care; to be able to play and
with the children; to be able to keep the house beautifully and
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.
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
(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.
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. Helmers; absolutely nothing
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.
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
Yes, he was.Mrs.
Linde. He is
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
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
wife for a little while. (Shuts
the door and sees
Mrs. LINDE.) I beg your pardon; I am afraid I am disturbing you
No, not at all. (Introducing
him.) Doctor Rank,
I have often heard Mrs. Linde's name mentioned here. I think I
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
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
who are morally diseased; one of them, and a bad case, too, is at
this very moment with Helmer—Mrs.
Whom do you mean?Rank.
A lawyer of the name of Krogstad, a fellow you don't know at all.
suffers from a diseased moral character, Mrs. Helmer; but even he
began talking of its being highly important that he should
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
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
put the person concerned into some lucrative position where they
keep their eye on him. Healthy natures are left out in the
Linde. Still I
think the sick are those who most need taking care of.Rank
there you are. That is the sentiment that is turning Society into a
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
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
Is that what you find so extremely amusing?Nora
humming). That's my
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
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
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
Well, why can't you say it?Nora,
No, I daren't; it's so shocking.Mrs.
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
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
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
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
What do you mean?Mrs.
Linde. No, really,
Christine is tremendously clever at book-keeping, and she is
frightfully anxious to work under some clever man, so as to perfect
Very sensible, Mrs. Linde.Nora.
And when she heard you had been appointed manager of the Bank—the
news was telegraphed, you know—she traveled 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,
And have had some experience of bookkeeping?Mrs.
Linde. Yes, a fair
Ah! well it's very likely I may be able to find something for
hands). What did I
tell you? What did I tell you?Helmer.
You have just come at a fortunate moment, Mrs. Linde.Mrs.
Linde. How am I to
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.
on her cloak). Yes,
I must go and look for a room.Helmer.
Oh, well then, we can walk down the street together.Nora
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! Good-bye, Nora dear, and many thanks.Nora.
Good-bye for the present. Of course you will come back this
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
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
Don't let us stand here in the draught.Helmer.
Come along, Mrs. Linde; the place will only be bearable for a
MRS. LINDE go
NURSE comes forward
with the children;
NORA shuts the hall
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
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
snow-balling? I wish I had been there too! No, no, I will take
things off, Anne; please let me do it, it is such fun. Go in now,
look half frozen. There is some hot coffee for you on 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,
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;
last Nora hides under the table the children rush in and look for
her, but do not see her; they hear her smothered laughter run to
table, lift up the cloth and find her. Shouts of laughter. She
forward and pretends to frighten them. Fresh laughter. Meanwhile
there has been a knock at the hall door, but none of them has
it. The door is half opened, and KROGSTAD appears. He waits a
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
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
Go in to nurse. What? No, the strange man won't do mother any harm.
When he has gone we will have another game. (She
takes the children into the room on the left, and shuts the door
after them.) You
want to speak to me?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
a Christmas you will spend.Nora.
What do you want? Today it is absolutely impossible for me—Krogstad.
We won't talk about that till later on. This is something
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
With a lady.Nora.
May I make so bold as to ask if it was a Mrs. Linde?Nora.
Just arrived in town?Nora.
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
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,
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
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
be careful to avoid offending anyone who—who—Krogstad.
Who has influence?Nora.
(changing his tone).
Mrs. Helmer, you will be so good as to use your influence on my
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
Oh, there is no necessity to keep up the pretence of ignorance. I
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 that.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!
should make you think I have any influence of that kind with my
Oh, I have known your husband from our student days. I don't
he is any more unassailable than other husbands.Nora.
If you speak slightly of my husband, I shall turn you out of the
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
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
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, 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
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
you at all.Krogstad.
Then it is because you haven't the will; but I have means to compel
You don't mean that you will tell my husband that I owe you
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
in such an ugly, clumsy way—that he should learn it from you! And
it would put me in a horribly disagreeable position—Krogstad.
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
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
(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
What do you mean?Krogstad.
When your husband was ill, you came to me to borrow two hundred and
I didn't know any one 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
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
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
Should? He did sign them.Krogstad.
I had left the date blank; that is to say your father should
have inserted the date on which he signed the paper. Do you
Yes, I think I remember—Krogstad.
Then I gave you the bond to send by post to your father. Is that
And you naturally did so at once, because five or six days
you brought me the bond with your father's signature. And then I
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. Helmer?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.
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 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
in one that I think I know. Well, of course it can be explained;
father may have forgotten to date his signature, and someone else
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;
that is genuine, I
suppose, Mrs. Helmer? It was your father himself who signed his
(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
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
husband's life was in danger—it was impossible.Krogstad.
It would have been better for you if you had given up your trip
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
I couldn't take that into account; I didn't trouble myself about
at all. I couldn't bear you, because you put so many heartless
difficulties in my way, although you knew what a dangerous
my husband was in.Krogstad.
Mrs. Helmer, you evidently do not realise clearly what it is that
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
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.
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
in, 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
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
(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 already?Helmer.
Yes. Has anyone been here?Nora.
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
say a good word for him.Nora.
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
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?
to tell me a lie into the bargain?Nora.
Didn't you tell me no one had been here? (Shakes
his finger at her.)
My little song-bird must never do that again. A song-bird must have
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 papers.)Nora
(after a short
pause, during which she busies herself with the Christmas Tree).
I am looking forward tremendously to the fancy dress ball at the
Stensborgs' the day after tomorrow.Helmer.
And I am tremendously curious to see what you are going to surprise
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.
What are all those papers?Helmer.
I have got authority from the retiring manager to undertake the
necessary changes in the staff and in the rearrangement of the
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.
(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
What is that? Tell me.Nora.
There is no one has such good taste as you. And I do so want to
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
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
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 means?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
to condemn a man altogether because of a single false step of that
No you wouldn't, would you, Torvald?Helmer.
Many a man has been able to retrieve his character, if he has
confessed his fault and taken his punishment.Nora.
But Krogstad did nothing of that sort; he got himself out of it by
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 everyone, how he has to wear a mask in the presence
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,
Because such an atmosphere of lies infects and poisons the whole
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
Why do you only say—mother?Helmer.
It seems most commonly to be the mother's influence, though
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
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;
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,
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
No, no, no! Don't let them come in to me! You stay with them,
Very well, ma'am. (Shuts
(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.