A Doll's House By Henrik Ibsen Act II

NORA.
Yes, that's the saddest part of it all.

RANK.
(with a searching look at her). Hm! —

NORA.
(after a short pause). Why did you smile?

RANK.
No, it was you that laughed.

NORA.
No, it was you that smiled, Doctor Rank!

RANK.
(rising). You are a greater rascal than I thought.

NORA.
I am in a silly mood today.

RANK.
So it seems.

NORA.
(putting her hands on his shoulders). Dear, dear Doctor Rank, death mustn't take you away from Torvald and me.

RANK.
It is a loss you would easily recover from. Those who are gone are soon forgotten.

NORA.
(looking at him anxiously). Do you believe that?

RANK.
People form new ties, and then —

NORA.
Who will form new ties?

RANK.
Both you and Helmer, when I am gone. You yourself are already on the high road to it, I think. What did that Mrs. Linde want here last night?

NORA.
Oho! — you don't mean to say you are jealous of poor Christine?

RANK.
Yes, I am. She will be my successor in this house. When I am done for, this woman will —

NORA.
Hush! don't speak so loud. She is in that room.

RANK.
To-day again. There, you see.

NORA.
She has only come to sew my dress for me. Bless my soul, how unreasonable you are! (Sits down on the sofa.) Be nice now, Doctor Rank, and to-morrow you will see how beautifully I shall dance, and you can imagine I am doing it all for you — and for Torvald too, of course. (Takes various things out of the box.) Doctor Rank, come and sit down here, and I will show you something.

RANK.
(sitting down). What is it?

NORA.
Just look at those.

RANK.
Silk stockings.

NORA.
Flesh-coloured. Aren't they lovely? It is so dark here now, but to-morrow — . No, no, no! you must only look at the feet. Oh, well, you may have leave to look at the legs too.

RANK.
Hm! —

NORA.
Why are you looking so critical? Don't you think they will fit me?

RANK.
I have no means of forming an opinion about that.

NORA.
(looks at him for a moment). For shame! (Hits him lightly on the ear with the stockings.) That's to punish you. (Folds them up again.)

RANK.
And what other nice things am I to be allowed to see?

NORA.
Not a single thing more, for being so naughty. (She looks among the things, humming to herself.)

RANK.
(after a short silence). When I am sitting here, talking to you as intimately as this, I cannot imagine for a moment what would have become of me if I had never come into this house.

NORA.
(smiling). I believe you do feel thoroughly at home with us.

RANK.
(in a lower voice, looking straight in front of him). And to be obliged to leave it all —

NORA.
Nonsense, you are not going to leave it.

RANK.
(as before). And not be able to leave behind one the slightest token of one's gratitude, scarcely even a fleeting regret — nothing but an empty place which the first comer can fill as well as any other.

NORA.
And if I asked you now for a — ? No!

RANK.
For what?

NORA.
For a big proof of your friendship —

RANK.
Yes, yes.

NORA.
I mean a tremendously big favour —

RANK.
Would you really make me so happy for once?

NORA.
Ah, but you don't know what it is yet.

RANK.
No — but tell me.

NORA.
I really can't, Doctor Rank. It is something out of all reason; it means advice, and help, and a favour —

RANK.
The bigger a thing it is the better. I can't conceive what it is you mean. Do tell me. Haven't I your confidence?

NORA.
More than anyone else. I know you are my truest and best friend, and so I will tell you what it is. Well, Doctor Rank, it is something you must help me to prevent. You know how devotedly, how inexpressibly deeply Torvald loves me; he would never for a moment hesitate to give his life for me.

RANK.
(leaning toward her). Nora — do you think he is the only one — ?

NORA.
(with a slight start). The only one — ?

RANK.
The only one who would gladly give his life for your sake.

NORA.
(sadly). Is that it?

RANK.
I was determined you should know it before I went away, and there will never be a better opportunity than this. Now you know it, Nora. And now you know, too, that you can trust me as you would trust no one else.

NORA.
(rises deliberately and quietly). Let me pass.

RANK.
(makes room for her to pass him, but sits still). Nora!

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