A Doll's House By Henrik Ibsen Act III

MRS. LINDE.
Yes, unfortunately I came too late, you had already gone upstairs; and I thought I couldn't go away again without having seen you.

HELMER.
(taking off NORA'S shawl). Yes, take a good look at her. I think she is worth looking at. Isn't she charming, Mrs. Linde?

MRS. LINDE.
Yes, indeed she is.

HELMER.
Doesn't she look remarkably pretty? Everyone thought so at the dance. But she is terribly self-willed, this sweet little person. What are we to do with her? You will hardly believe that I had almost to bring her away by force.

NORA.
Torvald, you will repent not having let me stay, even if it were only for half an hour.

HELMER.
Listen to her, Mrs. Linde! She had danced her Tarantella, and it had been a tremendous success, as it deserved — although possibly the performance was a trifle too realistic — little more so, I mean, than was strictly compatible with the limitations of art. But never mind about that! The chief thing is, she had made a success — she had made a tremendous success. Do you think I was going to let her remain there after that, and spoil the effect? No, indeed! I took my charming little Capri maiden — my capricious little Capri maiden, I should say — on my arm; took one quick turn round the room; a curtsey on either side, and, as they say in novels, the beautiful apparition disappeared. An exit ought always to be effective, Mrs. Linde; but that is what I cannot make Nora understand. Pooh! this room is hot. (Throws his domino on a chair, and opens the door of his room.) Hullo! it's all dark in here. Oh, of course — excuse me — . (He goes in, and lights some candles.)

NORA.
(in a hurried and breathless whisper). Well?

MRS. LINDE.
(in a low voice). I have had a talk with him.

NORA.
Yes, and —

MRS. LINDE.
Nora, you must tell your husband all about it.

NORA.
(in an expressionless voice). I knew it.

MRS. LINDE.
You have nothing to be afraid of as far as Krogstad is concerned; but you must tell him.

NORA.
I won't tell him.

MRS. LINDE.
Then the letter will.

NORA.
Thank you, Christine. Now I know what I must do. Hush — !

HELMER.
(coming in again). Well, Mrs. Linde, have you admired her?

MRS. LINDE.
Yes, and now I will say good-night.

HELMER.
What, already? Is this yours, this knitting?

MRS. LINDE.
(taking it). Yes, thank you, I had very nearly forgotten it.

HELMER.
So you knit?

MRS. LINDE.
Of course.

HELMER.
Do you know, you ought to embroider?

MRS. LINDE.
Really? Why?

HELMER.
Yes, it's far more becoming. Let me show you. You hold the embroidery thus in your left hand, and use the needle with the right — like this — with a long, easy sweep. Do you see?

MRS. LINDE.
Yes, perhaps —

HELMER.
But in the case of knitting — that can never be anything but ungraceful; look here — the arms close together, the knitting-needles going up and down — it has a sort of Chinese effect — . That was really excellent champagne they gave us.

MRS. LINDE.
Well, — good-night, Nora, and don't be self-willed any more.

HELMER.
That's right, Mrs. Linde.

MRS. LINDE.
Good-night, Mr. Helmer.

HELMER.
(accompanying her to the door). Good-night, good-night. I hope you will get home all right. I should be very happy to — but you haven't any great distance to go. Good-night, good-night. (She goes out; he shuts the door after her and comes in again.) Ah! — at last we have got rid of her. She is a frightful bore, that woman.

NORA.
Aren't you very tired, Torvald?

HELMER.
No, not in the least.

NORA.
Nor sleepy?

HELMER.
Not a bit. On the contrary, I feel extraordinarily lively. And you? — you really look both tired and sleepy.

NORA.
Yes, I am very tired. I want to go to sleep at once.

HELMER.
There, you see it was quite right of me not to let you stay there any longer.

NORA.
Everything you do is quite right, Torvald.

HELMER.
(kissing her on the forehead). Now my little skylark is speaking reasonably. Did you notice what good spirits Rank was in this evening?

NORA.
Really? Was he? I didn't speak to him at all.

HELMER.
And I very little, but I have not for a long time seen him in such good form. (Looks for a while at her and then goes nearer to her.) It is delightful to be at home by ourselves again, to be all alone with you — you fascinating, charming little darling!

NORA.
Don't look at me like that, Torvald.

HELMER.
Why shouldn't I look at my dearest treasure? — at all the beauty that is mine, all my very own?

NORA.
(going to the other side of the table). You mustn't say things like that to me tonight.

HELMER.
(following her). You have still got the Tarantella in your blood, I see. And it makes you more captivating than ever. Listen — the guests are beginning to go now. (In a lower voice.) Nora — soon the whole house will be quiet.

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