A Doll's House By Henrik Ibsen Act II

NORA.
No; yesterday it was very noticeable. I must tell you that he suffers from a very dangerous disease. He has consumption of the spine, poor creature. His father was a horrible man who committed all sorts of excesses; and that is why his son was sickly from childhood, do you understand?

MRS. LINDE.
(dropping her sewing). But, my dearest Nora, how do you know anything about such things?

NORA.
(walking about). Pooh! When you have three children, you get visits now and then from — from married women, who know something of medical matters, and they talk about one thing and another.

MRS. LINDE.
(goes on sewing. A short silence). Does Doctor Rank come here every day?

NORA.
Every day regularly. He is Torvald's most intimate friend, and a great friend of mine too. He is just like one of the family.

MRS. LINDE.
But tell me this — is he perfectly sincere? I mean, isn't he the kind of a man that is very anxious to make himself agreeable?

NORA.
Not in the least. What makes you think that?

MRS. LINDE.
When you introduced him to me yesterday, he declared he had often heard my name mentioned in this house; but afterwards I noticed that your husband hadn't the slightest idea who I was. So how could Doctor Rank — ?

NORA.
That is quite right, Christine. Torvald is so absurdly fond of me that he wants me absolutely to himself, as he says. At first he used to seem almost jealous if I mentioned any of the dear folk at home, so naturally I gave up doing so. But I often talk about such things with Doctor Rank, because he likes hearing about them.

MRS. LINDE.
Listen to me, Nora. You are still very like a child in many ways, and I am older than you in many ways and have a little more experience. Let me tell you this — you ought to make an end of it with Doctor Rank.

NORA.
What ought I to make an end of?

MRS. LINDE.
Of two things, I think. Yesterday you talked some nonsense about a rich admirer who was to leave you money —

NORA.
An admirer who doesn't exist, unfortunately! But what then?

MRS. LINDE.
Is Doctor Rank a man of means?

NORA.
Yes, he is.

MRS. LINDE.
And has no one to provide for?

NORA.
No, no one; but —

MRS. LINDE.
And comes here every day?

NORA.
Yes, I told you so.

MRS. LINDE.
But how can this well-bred man be so tactless?

NORA.
I don't understand you at all.

MRS. LINDE.
Don't prevaricate, Nora. Do you suppose I don't guess who lent you the two hundred and fifty pounds.

NORA.
Are you out of your senses? How can you think of such a thing! A friend of ours, who comes here every day! Do you realise what a horribly painful position that would be?

MRS. LINDE.
Then it really isn't he?

NORA.
No, certainly not. It would never have entered into my head for a moment. Besides, he had no money to lend then; he came into his money afterwards.

MRS. LINDE.
Well, I think that was lucky for you, my dear Nora.

NORA.
No, it would never have come into my head to ask Doctor Rank. Although I am quite sure that if I had asked him —

MRS. LINDE.
But of course you won't.

NORA.
Of course not. I have no reason to think it could possibly be necessary. But I am quite sure that if I told Doctor Rank —

MRS. LINDE.
Behind your husband's back?

NORA.
I must make an end of it with the other one, and that will be behind his back too. I must make an end of it with him.

MRS. LINDE.
Yes, that is what I told you yesterday, but —

NORA.
(walking up and down). A man can put a thing like that straight much easier than a woman —

MRS. LINDE.
One's husband, yes.

NORA.
Nonsense! (Standing still.) When you pay off a debt you get your bond back, don't you?

MRS. LINDE.
Yes, as a matter of course.

NORA.
And can tear it into a hundred thousand pieces, and burn it up — the nasty, dirty paper!

MRS. LINDE.
(looks hard at her, lays down her sewing and gets up slowly). Nora, you are concealing something from me.

NORA.
Do I look as if I were?

MRS. LINDE.
Something has happened to you since yesterday morning. Nora, what is it?

NORA.
(going nearer to her). Christine! (Listens.) Hush! there's Torvald come home. Do you mind going in to the children for the present? Torvald can't bear to see dressmaking going on. Let Anne help you.

MRS. LINDE.
(gathering some of the things together). Certainly — but I am not going away from here till we have had it out with one another. (She goes into the room, on the left, as Helmer comes in from, the hall.)

NORA.
(going up to HELMAR). I have wanted you so much, Torvald dear.

HELMER.
Was that the dressmaker?

NORA.
No, it was Christine; she is helping me to put my dress in order. You will see I shall look quite smart.

HELMER.
Wasn't that a happy thought of mine, now?

NORA.
Splendid! But don't you think it is nice of me, too, to do as you wish?

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