A Doll's House By Henrik Ibsen Act I

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 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, Mrs. Linde?

MRS. LINDE.
Yes.

HELMER.
And have had some experience of bookkeeping?

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 you?

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 room.

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! Good-bye, Nora dear, and many thanks.

NORA.
Good-bye 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 staircase.)

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 snow-balling? 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 look 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. He 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.

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