A Doll's House By Henrik Ibsen Act I

HELMER.
And what is in this parcel?

NORA.
(crying out). No, no! you mustn't see that till 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 —

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 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 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 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?

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