A Doll's House By Henrik Ibsen Act III

MRS. LINDE.
Have you ever noticed anything of the sort in me?

KROGSTAD.
Could you really do it? Tell me — do you know all about my past life?

MRS. LINDE.
Yes.

KROGSTAD.
And do you know what they think of me here?

MRS. LINDE.
You seemed to me to imply that with me you might have been quite another man.

KROGSTAD.
I am certain of it.

MRS. LINDE.
Is it too late now?

KROGSTAD.
Christine, are you saying this deliberately? Yes, I am sure you are. I see it in your face. Have you really the courage, then — ?

MRS. LINDE.
I want to be a mother to someone, and your children need a mother. We two need each other. Nils, I have faith in your real character — I can dare anything together with you.

KROGSTAD.
(grasps her hands). Thanks, thanks, Christine! Now I shall find a way to clear myself in the eyes of the world. Ah, but I forgot —

MRS. LINDE.
(listening). Hush! The Tarantella! Go, go!

KROGSTAD.
Why? What is it?

MRS. LINDE.
Do you hear them up there? When that is over, we may expect them back.

KROGSTAD.
Yes, yes — I will go. But it is all no use. Of course you are not aware what steps I have taken in the matter of the Helmers.

MRS. LINDE.
Yes, I know all about that.

KROGSTAD.
And in spite of that have you the courage to — ?

MRS. LINDE.
I understand very well to what lengths a man like you might be driven by despair.

KROGSTAD.
If I could only undo what I have done!

MRS. LINDE.
You cannot. Your letter is lying in the letter-box now.

KROGSTAD.
Are you sure of that?

MRS. LINDE.
Quite sure, but —

KROGSTAD.
(with a searching look at her). Is that what it all means? — that you want to save your friend at any cost? Tell me frankly. Is that it?

MRS. LINDE.
Nils, a woman who has once sold herself for another's sake, doesn't do it a second time.

KROGSTAD.
I will ask for my letter back.

MRS. LINDE.
No, no.

KROGSTAD.
Yes, of course I will. I will wait here till Helmer comes; I will tell him he must give me my letter back — that it only concerns my dismissal — that he is not to read it —

MRS. LINDE.
No, Nils, you must not recall your letter.

KROGSTAD.
But, tell me, wasn't it for that very purpose that you asked me to meet you here?

MRS. LINDE.
In my first moment of fright, it was. But twenty-four hours have elapsed since then, and in that time I have witnessed incredible things in this house. Helmer must know all about it. This unhappy secret must be enclosed; they must have a complete understanding between them, which is impossible with all this concealment and falsehood going on.

KROGSTAD.
Very well, if you will take the responsibility. But there is one thing I can do in any case, and I shall do it at once.

MRS. LINDE.
(listening). You must be quick and go! The dance is over; we are not safe a moment longer.

KROGSTAD.
I will wait for you below.

MRS. LINDE.
Yes, do. You must see me back to my door.

KROGSTAD.
I have never had such an amazing piece of good fortune in my life! (Goes out through the outer door. The door between the room and the hall remains open.)

MRS. LINDE.
(tidying up the room and laying her hat and cloak ready). What a difference! What a difference! Someone to work for and live for — a home to bring comfort into. That I will do, indeed. I wish they would be quick and come. (Listens.) Ah, there they are now. I must put on my things. (Takes up her hat and cloak. HELMER'S and NORA'S voices are heard outside; a key is turned, and HELMER brings NORA almost by force into the hall. She is in an Italian costume with a large black shawl round her; he is in evening dress, and a black domino which is flying open.)

NORA.
(hanging back in the doorway, and struggling with him). No, no, no! — don't take me in. I want to go upstairs again; I don't want to leave so early.

HELMER.
But, my dearest Nora —

NORA.
Please, Torvald dear — please, please — only an hour more.

HELMER.
Not a single minute, my sweet Nora. You know that was our agreement. Come along into the room; you are catching cold standing there. (He brings her gently into the room, in spite of her resistance.)

MRS. LINDE.
Good evening.

NORA.
Christine!

HELMER.
You here, so late, Mrs. Linde?

MRS. LINDE.
Yes, you must excuse me; I was so anxious to see Nora in her dress.

NORA.
Have you been sitting here waiting for me?

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