A Doll's House By Henrik Ibsen Act II

NORA.
(at the hall door). Helen, bring in the lamp. (Goes over to the stove.) Dear Doctor Rank, that was really horrid of you.

RANK.
To have loved you as much as anyone else does? Was that horrid?

NORA.
No, but to go and tell me so. There was really no need —

RANK.
What do you mean? Did you know — ? (MAID enters with lamp, puts it down on the table, and goes out.) Nora — Mrs. Helmer — tell me, had you any idea of this?

NORA.
Oh, how do I know whether I had or whether I hadn't. I really can't tell you — To think you could be so clumsy, Doctor Rank! We were getting on so nicely.

RANK.
Well, at all events you know now that you can command me, body and soul. So won't you speak out?

NORA.
(looking at him). After what happened?

RANK.
I beg you to let me know what it is.

NORA.
I can't tell you anything now.

RANK.
Yes, yes. You mustn't punish me in that way. Let me have permission to do for you whatever a man may do.

NORA.
You can do nothing for me now. Besides, I really don't need any help at all. You will find that the whole thing is merely fancy on my part. It really is so — of course it is! (Sits down in the rocking-chair, and looks at him with a smile.) You are a nice sort of man, Doctor Rank! — don't you feel ashamed of yourself, now the lamp has come?

RANK.
Not a bit. But perhaps I had better go — forever?

NORA.
No, indeed, you shall not. Of course you must come here just as before. You know very well Torvald can't do without you.

RANK.
Yes, but you?

NORA.
Oh, I am always tremendously pleased when you come.

RANK.
It is just that, that put me on the wrong track. You are a riddle to me. I have often thought that you would almost as soon be in my company as in Helmer's.

NORA.
Yes — you see there are some people one loves best, and others whom one would almost always rather have as companions.

RANK.
Yes, there is something in that.

NORA.
When I was at home, of course I loved papa best. But I always thought it tremendous fun if I could steal down into the maids' room, because they never moralized at all, and talked to each other about such entertaining things.

RANK.
I see — it is their place I have taken.

NORA.
(jumping-up and going to him). Oh, dear, nice Doctor Rank, I never meant that at all. But surely you can understand that being with Torvald is a little like being with papa — (Enter MAID from the hall.)

MAID.
If you please, ma'am. (Whispers and hands her a card.)

NORA.
(glancing at the card). Oh! (Puts it in her pocket.)

RANK.
Is there anything wrong?

NORA.
No, no, not in the least. It is only something — It is my new dress —

RANK.
What? Your dress is lying there.

NORA.
Oh, yes, that one; but this is another. I ordered it. Torvald mustn't know about it —

RANK.
Oho! Then that was the great secret.

NORA.
Of course. Just go in to him; he is sitting in the inner room. Keep him as long as —

RANK.
Make your mind easy; I won't let him escape. (Goes into HELMER'S room.)

NORA.
(to the MAID). And he is standing waiting in the kitchen?

MAID.
Yes; he came up the back stairs.

NORA.
But didn't you tell him no one was in?

MAID.
Yes, but it was no good.

NORA.
He won't go away?

MAID.
No; he says he won't until he has seen you, ma'am.

NORA.
Well, let him come in — but quietly. Helen, you mustn't say anything about it to any one. It is a surprise for my husband.

MAID.
Yes, ma'am, I quite understand. (Exit.)

NORA.
This dreadful thing is going to happen. It will happen in spite of me! No, no, no, it can't happen — it shan't happen! (She bolts the door of HELMER'S room. The MAID opens the hall door for KROGSTAD and shuts it after him. He is wearing a fur coat, high boots and a fur cap.)

NORA.
(advancing towards him). Speak low — my husband is at home.

KROGSTAD.
No matter about that.

NORA.
What do you want of me?

KROGSTAD.
An explanation of something.

NORA.
Make haste then. What is it?

KROGSTAD.
You know, I suppose, that I have got my dismissal.

NORA.
I couldn't prevent it, Mr. Krogstad. I fought as hard as I could on your side, but it was no good.

KROGSTAD.
Does your husband love you so little, then? He knows what I can expose you to, and yet he ventures —

NORA.
How can you suppose that he has any knowledge of the sort?

KROGSTAD.
I didn't suppose so at all. It would not be the least like our dear Torvald Helmer to show so much courage —

NORA.
Mr. Krogstad, a little respect for my husband, please.

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