A Doll's House By Henrik Ibsen Act III

NORA.
Yes, I hope so.

HELMER.
Yes, my own darling Nora. Do you know, when I am out at a party with you like this, why I speak so little to you, keep away from you, and only send a stolen glance in your direction now and then? — do you know why I do that? It is because I make believe to myself that we are secretly in love, and you are my secretly promised bride, and that no one suspects there is anything between us.

NORA.
Yes, yes — I know very well your thoughts are with me all the time.

HELMER.
And when we are leaving, and I am putting the shawl over your beautiful young shoulders — on your lovely neck — then I imagine that you are my young bride and that we have just come from the wedding, and I am bringing you for the first time into our home — to be alone with you for the first time — quite alone with my shy little darling! All this evening I have longed for nothing but you. When I watched the seductive figures of the Tarantella, my blood was on fire; I could endure it no longer, and that was why I brought you down so early —

NORA.
Go away, Torvald! You must let me go. I won't —

HELMER.
What's that? You're joking, my little Nora! You won't — you won't? Am I not your husband — ? (A knock is heard at the outer door.)

NORA.
(starting). Did you hear — ?

HELMER.
(going into the hall). Who is it?

RANK.
(outside). It is I. May I come in for a moment?

HELMER.
(in a fretful whisper). Oh, what does he want now? (Aloud.) Wait a minute? (Unlocks the door.) Come, that's kind of you not to pass by our door.

RANK.
I thought I heard your voice, and felt as if I should like to look in. (With a swift glance round.) Ah, yes! — these dear familiar rooms. You are very happy and cosy in here, you two.

HELMER.
It seems to me that you looked after yourself pretty well upstairs too.

RANK.
Excellently. Why shouldn't I? Why shouldn't one enjoy everything in this world? — at any rate as much as one can, and as long as one can. The wine was capital —

HELMER.
Especially the champagne.

RANK.
So you noticed that too? It is almost incredible how much I managed to put away!

NORA.
Torvald drank a great deal of champagne tonight, too.

RANK.
Did he?

NORA.
Yes, and he is always in such good spirits afterwards.

RANK.
Well, why should one not enjoy a merry evening after a well-spent day?

HELMER.
Well spent? I am afraid I can't take credit for that.

RANK.
(clapping him on the back). But I can, you know!

NORA.
Doctor Rank, you must have been occupied with some scientific investigation today.

RANK.
Exactly.

HELMER.
Just listen! — little Nora talking about scientific investigations!

NORA.
And may I congratulate you on the result?

RANK.
Indeed you may.

NORA.
Was it favourable, then.

RANK.
The best possible, for both doctor and patient — certainty.

NORA.
(quickly and searchingly). Certainty?

RANK.
Absolute certainty. So wasn't I entitled to make a merry evening of it after that?

NORA.
Yes, you certainly were, Doctor Rank.

HELMER.
I think so too, so long as you don't have to pay for it in the morning.

RANK.
Oh well, one can't have anything in this life without paying for it.

NORA.
Doctor Rank — are you fond of fancy-dress balls?

RANK.
Yes, if there is a fine lot of pretty costumes.

NORA.
Tell me — what shall we two wear at the next?

HELMER.
Little featherbrain! — are you thinking of the next already?

RANK.
We two? Yes, I can tell you. You shall go as a good fairy —

HELMER.
Yes, but what do you suggest as an appropriate costume for that?

RANK.
Let your wife go dressed just as she is in every-day life.

HELMER.
That was really very prettily turned. But can't you tell us what you will be?

RANK.
Yes, my dear friend, I have quite made up my mind about that.

HELMER.
Well?

RANK.
At the next fancy-dress ball I shall be invisible.

HELMER.
That's a good joke!

RANK.
There is a big black hat — have you never heard of hats that make you invisible? If you put one on, no one can see you.

HELMER.
(suppressing a smile). Yes, you are quite right.

RANK.
But I am clean forgetting what I came for. Helmer, give me a cigar — one of the dark Havanas.

HELMER.
With the greatest pleasure. (Offers him his case.)

RANK.
(takes a cigar and cuts off the end). Thanks.

NORA.
(striking a match). Let me give you a light.

RANK.
Thank you. (She holds the match for him to light his cigar.) And now good-bye!

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