A Doll's House By Henrik Ibsen Act II

KROGSTAD.
Certainly — all the respect he deserves. But since you have kept the matter so carefully to yourself, I make bold to suppose that you have a little clearer idea than you had yesterday, of what it actually is that you have done?

NORA.
More than you could ever teach me.

KROGSTAD.
Yes, such a bad lawyer as I am.

NORA.
What is it you want of me?

KROGSTAD.
Only to see how you were, Mrs. Helmer. I have been thinking about you all day long. A mere cashier — a quill-driver, a — well, a man like me — even he has a little of what is called feeling, you know.

NORA.
Show it, then; think of my little children.

KROGSTAD.
Have you and your husband thought of mine? But never mind about that. I only wanted to tell you that you need not take this matter too seriously. In the first place there will be no accusation made on my part.

NORA.
No, of course not; I was sure of that.

KROGSTAD.
The whole thing can be arranged amicably; there is no reason why anyone should know anything about it. It will remain a secret between us three.

NORA.
My husband must never get to know anything about it.

KROGSTAD.
How will you be able to prevent it? Am I to understand that you can pay the balance that is owing?

NORA.
No, not just at present.

KROGSTAD.
Or perhaps that you have some expedient for raising the money soon?

NORA.
No expedient that I mean to make use of.

KROGSTAD.
Well, in any case, it would have been of no use to you now. If you stood there with ever so much money in your hand, I would never part with your bond.

NORA.
Tell me what purpose you mean to put it to.

KROGSTAD.
I shall only preserve it — keep it in my possession. No one who is not concerned in the matter shall have the slightest hint of it. So that if the thought of it has driven you to any desperate resolution —

NORA.
It has.

KROGSTAD.
If you had it in your mind to run away from your home —

NORA.
I had.

KROGSTAD.
Or even something worse —

NORA.
How could you know that?

KROGSTAD.
Give up the idea.

NORA.
How did you know I had thought of that?

KROGSTAD.
Most of us think of that at first. I did, too — but I hadn't the courage.

NORA.
(faintly). No more had I.

KROGSTAD.
(in a tone of relief). No, that's it, isn't it — you hadn't the courage either?

NORA.
No, I haven't — I haven't.

KROGSTAD.
Besides, it would have been a great piece of folly. Once the first storm at home is over — . I have a letter for your husband in my pocket.

NORA.
Telling him everything?

KROGSTAD.
In as lenient a manner as I possibly could.

NORA.
(quickly). He mustn't get the letter. Tear it up. I will find some means of getting money.

KROGSTAD.
Excuse me, Mrs. Helmer, but I think I told you just how —

NORA.
I am not speaking of what I owe you. Tell me what sum you are asking my husband for, and I will get the money.

KROGSTAD.
I am not asking your husband for a penny.

NORA.
What do you want, then?

KROGSTAD.
I will tell you. I want to rehabilitate myself, Mrs. Helmer; I want to get on; and in that your husband must help me. For the last year and a half I have not had a hand in anything dishonourable, and all that time I have been struggling in most restricted circumstances. I was content to work my way up step by step. Now I am turned out, and I am not going to be satisfied with merely being taken into favour again. I want to get on, I tell you. I want to get into the Bank again, in a higher position. Your husband must make a place for me —

NORA.
That he will never do!

KROGSTAD.
He will; I know him; he dare not protest. And as soon as I am in there again with him, then you will see! Within a year I shall be the manager's right hand. It will be Nils Krogstad and not Torvald Helmer who manages the Bank.

NORA.
That's a thing you will never see!

KROGSTAD.
Do you mean that you will — ?

NORA.
I have courage enough for it now.

KROGSTAD.
Oh, you can't frighten me. A fine, spoilt lady like you —

NORA.
You will see, you will see.

KROGSTAD.
Under the ice, perhaps? Down into the cold, coal-black water? And then, in the spring, to float up to the surface, all horrible and unrecognizable, with your hair fallen out —

NORA.
You can't frighten me.

KROGSTAD.
Nor you me. People don't do such things, Mrs. Helmer. Besides, what use would it be? I should have him completely in my power all the same.

NORA.
Afterwards? When I am no longer —

KROGSTAD.
Have you forgot that it is I who have the keeping of your reputation? (Nora stands speechlessly looking at him.) Well, now, I have warned you. Do not do anything foolish. When Helmer has had my letter, I shall expect a message from him. And be sure you remember that it is your husband himself who has forced me into such ways as this again. I will never forgive him for that. Good-bye, Mrs. Helmer. (Exit through the hall.)

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