A Doll's House By Henrik Ibsen Act I

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 all 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?

MRS. 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 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?

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, 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. 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 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?

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

Dr. Rank characterizes Krogstad as




Quiz