A Doll's House By Henrik Ibsen Act I

NORA.
What do you want here, then?

KROGSTAD.
A word with you.

NORA.
With me? — (To the children, gently.) 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 of 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 different. 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 the street —

NORA.
Yes?

KROGSTAD.
With a lady.

NORA.
What then?

KROGSTAD.
May I make so bold as to ask if it was a Mrs. Linde?

NORA.
It was.

KROGSTAD.
Just arrived in town?

NORA.
Yes, today.

KROGSTAD.
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 ask 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, Mrs. Linde is 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 the stage). 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 really be careful to avoid offending anyone who — who —

KROGSTAD.
Who has influence?

NORA.
Exactly.

KROGSTAD.
(changing his tone). Mrs. Helmer, you will be so good as to use your influence on my behalf.

NORA.
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 you?

KROGSTAD.
Oh, there is no necessity to keep up the pretence of ignorance. I can 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! What should make you think I have any influence of that kind with my husband?

KROGSTAD.
Oh, I have known your husband from our student days. I don't suppose he is any more unassailable than other husbands.

NORA.
If you speak slightly of my husband, I shall turn you out of the house.

KROGSTAD.
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.
(controlling 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 indiscretion.

NORA.
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 as 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.

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