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wounded animal.

_Nora._ If it has to happen, it is best it should be without a
word - don't you think so, Torvald?

_Helmer_ (_walking up and down_). He has so grown into our lives. I
can't think of him as having gone out of them. He, with his sufferings
and his loneliness, was like a cloudy background to our sunlit
happiness. Well, perhaps it is best so. For him, anyway. (_Standing
still._) And perhaps for us too, Nora. We two are thrown quite upon each
other now. (_Puts his arms around her._) My darling wife, I don't feel
as if I could hold you tight enough. Do you know, Nora, I have often
wished that you might be threatened by some great danger, so that I
might risk my life's blood, and everything, for your sake.

_Nora_ (_disengages herself, and says firmly and decidedly_). Now you
must read your letters, Torvald.

_Helmer._ No, no; not tonight. I want to be with you, my darling wife.

_Nora._ With the thought of your friend's death -

_Helmer._ You are right, it has affected us both. Something ugly has
come between us - the thought of the horrors of death. We must try and
rid our minds of that. Until then - we will each go to our own room.

_Nora_ (_hanging on his neck_). Good-night, Torvald - Good-night!

_Helmer_ (_kissing her on the forehead_). Good-night, my little
singing-bird. Sleep sound, Nora. Now I will read my letters through.
(_He takes his letters and goes into his room, shutting the door after
him._)

_Nora_ (_gropes distractedly about, seizes_ HELMER'S _domino, throws it
round her, while she says in quick, hoarse, spasmodic whispers_). Never
to see him again. Never! Never! (_Puts her shawl over her head._) Never
to see my children again either - never again. Never! Never! - Ah! the
icy, black water - the unfathomable depths - If only it were over! He has
got it now - now he is reading it. Good-bye, Torvald and my children!
(_She is about to rush out through the hall, when_ HELMER _opens his
door hurriedly and stands with an open letter in his hand._)

_Helmer._ Nora!

_Nora._ Ah! -

_Helmer._ What is this? Do you know what is in this letter?

_Nora._ Yes, I know. Let me go! Let me get out!

_Helmer_ (_holding her back_). Where are you going?

_Nora_ (_trying to get free_). You shan't save me, Torvald!

_Helmer_ (_reeling_). True? Is this true, that I read here? Horrible!
No, no - it is impossible that it can be true.

_Nora._ It is true. I have loved you above everything else in the world.

_Helmer._ Oh, don't let us have any silly excuses.

_Nora_ (_taking a step towards him_). Torvald - !

_Helmer._ Miserable creature - what have you done?

_Nora._ Let me go. You shall not suffer for my sake. You shall not take
it upon yourself.

_Helmer._ No tragedy airs, please. (_Locks the hall door._) Here you
shall stay and give me an explanation. Do you understand what you have
done? Answer me? Do you understand what you have done?

_Nora_ (_looks steadily at him and says with a growing look of coldness
in her face_). Yes, now I am beginning to understand thoroughly.

_Helmer_ (_walking about the room_). What a horrible awakening! All
these eight years - she who was my joy and pride - a hypocrite, a
liar - worse, worse - a criminal! The unutterable ugliness of it all! - For
shame! For shame! (NORA _is silent and looks steadily at him. He stops
in front of her._) I ought to have suspected that something of the sort
would happen. I ought to have foreseen it. All your father's want of
principle - be silent! - all your father's want of principle has come out
in you. No religion, no morality, no sense of duty - How I am punished
for having winked at what he did! I did it for your sake, and this is
how you repay me.

_Nora._ Yes, that's just it.

_Helmer._ Now you have destroyed all my happiness. You have ruined
all my future. It is horrible to think of! I am in the power of an
unscrupulous man; he can do what he likes with me, ask anything he likes
of me, give me any orders he pleases - I dare not refuse. And I must sink
to such miserable depths because of a thoughtless woman!

_Nora._ When I am out of the way, you will be free.

_Helmer._ No fine speeches, please. Your father had always plenty of
those ready, too. What good would it be to me if you were out of the
way, as you say? Not the slightest. He can make the affair known
everywhere; and if he does, I may be falsely suspected of having been
a party to your criminal action. Very likely people will think I was
behind it all - that it was I who prompted you! And I have to thank you
for all this - you whom I have cherished during the whole of our married
life. Do you understand now what it is you have done for me?

_Nora_ (_coldly and quietly_). Yes.

_Helmer._ It is so incredible that I can't take it in. But we must come
to some understanding. Take off that shawl. Take it off, I tell you. I
must try and appease him some way or another. The matter must be hushed
up at any cost. And as for you and me, it must appear as if everything
between us were as before - but naturally only in the eyes of the world.
You will still remain in my house, that is a matter of course. But I
shall not allow you to bring up the children; I dare not trust them to
you. To think that I should be obliged to say so to one whom I have
loved so dearly, and whom I still - . No, that is all over. From this
moment happiness is not the question; all that concerns us is to save
the remains, the fragments, the appearance -

(_A ring is heard at the front-door bell._)

_Helmer_ (_with a start_). What is that? So late! Can the worst - ? Can
he - ? Hide yourself, Nora. Say you are ill.

(NORA _stands motionless._ HELMER _goes and unlocks the hall door._)

_Maid_ (_half-dressed, comes to the door_). A letter for the mistress.

_Helmer._ Give it to me. (_Takes the letter, and shuts the door._) Yes,
it is from him. You shall not have it; I will read it myself.

_Nora._ Yes, read it.

_Helmer_ (_standing by the lamp_). I scarcely have the courage to do it.
It may mean ruin for both of us. No, I must know. (_Tears open the
letter, runs his eye over a few lines, looks at a paper enclosed, and
gives a shout of joy._) Nora! (_She looks at him, questioningly._) Nora!
No, I must read it once again - . Yes, it is true! I am saved! Nora, I am
saved!

_Nora._ And I?

_Helmer._ You too, of course; we are both saved, both saved, both you
and I. Look, he sends you your bond back. He says he regrets and
repents - that a happy change in his life - never mind what he says! We
are saved, Nora! No one can do anything to you. Oh, Nora, Nora! - no,
first I must destroy these hateful things. Let me see - . (_Takes a look
at the bond._) No, no, I won't look at it. The whole thing shall be
nothing but a bad dream to me. (_Tears up the bond and both letters,
throws them all into the stove, and watches them burn._) There - now it
doesn't exist any longer. He says that since Christmas Eve you - . These
must have been three dreadful days for you, Nora.

_Nora._ I have fought a hard fight these three days.

_Helmer._ And suffered agonies, and seen no way out but - . No, we won't
call any of the horrors to mind. We will only shout with joy, and keep
saying, "It's all over! It's all over!" Listen to me, Nora. You don't
seem to realise that it is all over. What is this? - such a cold, set
face! My poor little Nora, I quite understand; you don't feel as if you
could believe that I have forgiven you. But it is true, Nora, I swear
it; I have forgiven you everything. I know that what you did, you did
out of love for me.

_Nora._ That is true.

_Helmer._ You have loved me as a wife ought to love her husband. Only
you had not sufficient knowledge to judge of the means you used. But do
you suppose you are any the less dear to me, because you don't
understand how to act on your own responsibility? No, no; only lean on
me; I will advise you and direct you. I should not be a man if this
womanly helplessness did not just give you a double attractiveness in my
eyes. You must not think any more about the hard things I said in my
first moment of consternation, when I thought everything was going to
overwhelm me. I have forgiven you, Nora; I swear to you I have forgiven
you.

_Nora._ Thank you for your forgiveness. (_She goes out through the door
to the right._)

_Helmer._ No, don't go - . (_Looks in._) What are you doing in there?

_Nora_ (_from within_). Taking off my fancy dress.

_Helmer_ (_standing at the open door_). Yes, do. Try and calm yourself,
and make your mind easy again, my frightened little singing-bird. Be at
rest, and feel secure; I have broad wings to shelter you under. (_Walks
up and down by the door._) How warm and cosy our home is, Nora. Here is
shelter for you; here I will protect you like a hunted dove that I have
saved from a hawk's claws; I will bring peace to your poor beating
heart. It will come, little by little, Nora, believe me. To-morrow
morning you will look upon it all quite differently; soon everything
will be just as it was before. Very soon you won't need me to assure you
that I have forgiven you; you will yourself feel the certainty that I
have done so. Can you suppose I should ever think of such a thing as
repudiating you, or even reproaching you? You have no idea what a true
man's heart is like, Nora. There is something so indescribably sweet and
satisfying, to a man, in the knowledge that he has forgiven his
wife - forgiven her freely, and with all his heart. It seems as if that
had made her, as it were, doubly his own; he has given her a new life,
so to speak; and she is in a way become both wife and child to him. So
you shall be for me after this, my little scared, helpless darling. Have
no anxiety about anything, Nora; only be frank and open with me, and I
will serve as will and conscience both to you - . What is this? Not gone
to bed? Have you changed your things?

_Nora_ (_in everyday dress_). Yes, Torvald, I have changed my things
now.

_Helmer._ But what for? - so late as this.

_Nora._ I shall not sleep tonight.

_Helmer._ But, my dear Nora -

_Nora_ (_looking at her watch_). It is not so very late. Sit down here,
Torvald. You and I have much to say to one another. (_She sits down at
one side of the table_.)

_Helmer._ Nora - what is this? - this cold, set face?

_Nora._ Sit down. It will take some time; I have a lot to talk over with
you.

_Helmer_ (_sits down at the opposite side of the table_). You alarm me,
Nora! - and I don't understand you.

_Nora._ No, that is just it. You don't understand me, and I have never
understood you either - before tonight. No, you mustn't interrupt me. You
must simply listen to what I say. Torvald, this is a settling of
accounts.

_Helmer._ What do you mean by that?

_Nora_ (_after a short silence_). Isn't there one thing that strikes you
as strange in our sitting here like this?

_Helmer._ What is that?

_Nora._ We have been married now eight years. Does it not occur to you
that this is the first time we two, you and I, husband and wife, have
had a serious conversation?

_Helmer._ What do you mean by serious?

_Nora._ In all these eight years - longer than that - from the very
beginning of our acquaintance, we have never exchanged a word on any
serious subject.

_Helmer._ Was it likely that I would be continually and forever telling
you about worries that you could not help me to bear?

_Nora._ I am not speaking about business matters. I say that we have
never sat down in earnest together to try and get at the bottom of
anything.

_Helmer._ But, dearest Nora, would it have been any good to you?

_Nora._ That is just it; you have never understood me. I have been
greatly wronged, Torvald - first by papa and then by you.

_Helmer._ What! By us two - by us two, who have loved you better than
anyone else in in the world?

_Nora_ (_shaking her head_). You have never loved me. You have only
thought it pleasant to be in love with me.

_Helmer._ Nora, what do I hear you saying?

_Nora._ It is perfectly true, Torvald. When I was at home with papa, he
told me his opinion about everything, and so I had the same opinions;
and if I differed from him I concealed the fact, because he would not
have liked it. He called me his doll-child, and he played with me just
as I used to play with my dolls. And when I came to live with you -

_Helmer._ What sort of an expression is that to use about our marriage?

_Nora_ (_undisturbed_). I mean that I was simply transferred from papa's
hands into yours. You arranged everything according to your own taste,
and so I got the same tastes as you - or else I pretended to, I am really
not quite sure which - I think sometimes the one and sometimes the other.
When I look back on it, it seems to me as if I had been living here like
a poor woman - just from hand to mouth. I have existed merely to perform
tricks for you, Torvald. But you would have it so. You and papa have
committed a great sin against me. It is your fault that I have made
nothing of my life.

_Helmer_. How unreasonable and how ungrateful you are, Nora! Have you
not been happy here?

_Nora_. No, I have never been happy. I thought I was, but it has never
really been so.

_Helmer_. Not - not happy!

_Nora_. No, only merry. And you have always been so kind to me. But our
home has been nothing but a playroom. I have been your doll-wife, just
as at home I was papa's doll-child; and here the children have been my
dolls. I thought it great fun when you played with me, just as they
thought it great fun when I played with them. That is what our marriage
has been, Torvald.

_Helmer_. There is some truth in what you say - exaggerated and strained
as your view of it is. But for the future it shall be different.
Playtime shall be over, and lesson-time shall begin.

_Nora_. Whose lessons? Mine, or the children's?

_Helmer_. Both yours and the children's, my darling Nora.

_Nora_. Alas, Torvald, you are not the man to educate me into being a
proper wife for you.

_Helmer_. And you can say that!

_Nora_. And I - how am I fitted to bring up the children?

_Helmer_. Nora!

_Nora_. Didn't you say so yourself a little while ago - that you dare not
trust me to bring them up?

_Helmer_. In a moment of anger! Why do you pay any heed to that?

_Nora_. Indeed, you were perfectly right. I am not fit for the task.
There is another task I must undertake first. I must try and educate
myself - you are not the man to help me in that. I must do that for
myself. And that is why I am going to leave you now.

_Helmer_ (_springing up_). What do you say?

_Nora_. I must stand quite alone, if I am to understand myself and
everything about me. It is for that reason that I cannot remain with you
any longer.

_Helmer_. Nora, Nora!

_Nora_. I am going away from here now, at once. I am sure Christine will
take me in for the night -

_Helmer_. You are out of your mind! I won't allow it! I forbid you!

_Nora_. It is no use forbidding me anything any longer. I will take with
me what belongs to myself. I will take nothing from you, either now or
later.

_Helmer_. What sort of madness is this!

_Nora_. Tomorrow I shall go home - I mean to my old home. It will be
easiest for me to find something to do there.

_Helmer_. You blind, foolish woman!

_Nora_. I must try and get some sense, Torvald.

_Helmer_. To desert your home, your husband and your children! And you
don't consider what people will say!

_Nora_. I cannot consider that at all. I only know that it is necessary
for me.

_Helmer_. It's shocking. This is how you would neglect your most sacred
duties.

_Nora_. What do you consider my most sacred duties?

_Helmer_. Do I need to tell you that? Are they not your duties to your
husband and your children?

_Nora_. I have other duties just as sacred.

_Helmer_. That you have not. What duties could those be?

_Nora_. Duties to myself.

_Helmer_. Before all else, you are a wife and mother.

_Nora_. I don't believe that any longer. I believe that before all else
I am a reasonable human being, just as you are - or, at all events, that
I must try and become one. I know quite well, Torvald, that most people
would think you right, and that views of that kind are to be found in
books; but I can no longer content myself with what most people say, or
with what is found in books. I must think over things for myself and get
to understand them.

_Helmer_. Can you not understand your place in your own home? Have you
not a reliable guide in such matters as that? - have you no religion?

_Nora_. I am afraid, Torvald, I do not exactly know what religion is.

_Helmer_. What are you saying?

_Nora_. I know nothing but what the clergyman said, when I went to be
confirmed. He told us that religion was this, and that, and the other.
When I am away from all this, and am alone, I will look into that matter
too. I will see if what the clergyman said is true, or at all events if
it is true for me.

_Helmer_. This is unheard of in a girl of your age! But if religion
cannot lead you aright, let me try and awaken your conscience. I suppose
you have some moral sense? Or - answer me - am I to think you have none?

_Nora_. I assure you, Torvald, that is not an easy question to answer.
I really don't know. The thing perplexes me altogether. I only know that
you and I look at it in quite a different light. I am learning, too,
that the law is quite another thing from what I supposed; but I find it
impossible to convince myself that the law is right. According to it a
woman has no right to spare her old dying father, or to save her
husband's life. I can't believe that.

_Helmer_. You talk like a child. You don't understand the conditions of
the world in which you live.

_Nora_. No, I don't. But now I am going to try. I am going to see if I
can make out who is right, the world or I.

_Helmer_. You are ill, Nora; you are delirious; I almost think you are
out of your mind.

_Nora_. I have never felt my mind so clear and certain as to-night.

_Helmer_. And is it with a clear and certain mind that you forsake your
husband and your children?

_Nora_. Yes, it is.

_Helmer_. Then there is only one possible explanation.

_Nora_. What is that?

_Helmer_. You do not love me any more.

_Nora_. No, that is just it.

_Helmer_. Nora! - and you can say that?

_Nora_. It gives me great pain, Torvald, for you have always been so
kind to me, but I cannot help it. I do not love you any more.

_Helmer_ (_regaining his composure_). Is that a clear and certain
conviction too?

_Nora_. Yes, absolutely clear and certain. That is the reason why I will
not stay here any longer.

_Helmer_. And can you tell me what I have done to forfeit your love?

_Nora_. Yes, indeed I can. It was to-night, when the wonderful thing did
not happen; then I saw you were not the man I had thought you.

_Helmer_. Explain yourself better - I don't understand you.

_Nora_. I have waited so patiently for eight years; for, goodness knows,
I knew very well that wonderful things don't happen every day. Then this
horrible misfortune came upon me; and then I felt quite certain that the
wonderful thing was going to happen at last. When Krogstad's letter was
lying out there, never for a moment did I imagine that you would consent
to accept this man's conditions. I was so absolutely certain that you
would say to him: Publish the thing to the whole world. And when that
was done -

_Helmer_. Yes, what then? - when I had exposed my wife to shame and
disgrace?

_Nora_. When that was done, I was so absolutely certain, you would come
forward and take everything upon yourself, and say: I am the guilty one.

_Helmer_. Nora - !

_Nora_. You mean that I would never have accepted such a sacrifice on
your part? No, of course not. But what would my assurances have been
worth against yours? That was the wonderful thing which I hoped for and
feared; and it was to prevent that, that I wanted to kill myself.

_Helmer_. I would gladly work night and day for you, Nora - bear sorrow
and want for your sake. But no man would sacrifice his honour for the
one he loves.

_Nora_. It is a thing hundreds of thousands of women have done.

_Helmer_. Oh, you think and talk like a heedless child.

_Nora_. Maybe. But you neither think nor talk like the man I could bind
myself to. As soon as your fear was over - and it was not fear for what
threatened me, but for what might happen to you - when the whole thing
was past, as far as you were concerned it was exactly as if nothing at
all had happened. Exactly as before, I was your little skylark, your
doll, which you would in future treat with doubly gentle care, because
it was so brittle and fragile. (_Getting up_.) Torvald - it was then it
dawned upon me that for eight years I had been living here with a
strange man, and had borne him three children - . Oh! I can't bear to
think of it! I could tear myself into little bits!

_Helmer_ (_sadly_). I see, I see. An abyss has opened between us - there
is no denying it. But, Nora, would it not be possible to fill it up?

_Nora_. As I am now, I am no wife for you.

_Helmer_. I have it in me to become a different man.

_Nora_. Perhaps - if your doll is taken away from you.

_Helmer_. But to part! - to part from you! No, no, Nora, I can't
understand that idea.

_Nora_ (_going out to the right_). That makes it all the more certain
that it must be done. (_She comes back with her cloak and hat and a
small bag which she puts on a chair by the table_.)

_Helmer_. Nora, Nora, not now! Wait till tomorrow.

_Nora_ (_putting on her cloak_). I cannot spend the night in a strange
man's room.

_Helmer_. But can't we live here like brother and sister - ?

_Nora_ (_putting on her hat_). You know very well that would not last
long. (_Puts the shawl round her_.) Good-bye, Torvald. I won't see the
little ones. I know they are in better hands than mine. As I am now, I
can be of no use to them.

_Helmer_. But some day, Nora - some day?

_Nora_. How can I tell? I have no idea what is going to become of me.

_Helmer_. But you are my wife, whatever becomes of you.

_Nora_. Listen, Torvald. I have heard that when a wife deserts her
husband's house, as I am doing now, he is legally freed from all
obligations towards her. In any case I set you free from all your
obligations. You are not to feel yourself bound in the slightest way,
any more than I shall. There must be perfect freedom on both sides.
See, here is your ring back. Give me mine.

_Helmer_. That too?

_Nora_. That too.

_Helmer_. Here it is.

_Nora_. That's right. Now it is all over. I have put the keys here.
The maids know all about everything in the house - better than I do.
Tomorrow, after I have left her, Christine will come here and pack up
my own things that I brought with me from home. I will have them sent
after me.

_Helmer_. All over! All over! - Nora, shall you never think of me again?

_Nora_. I know I shall often think of you and the children and this
house.

_Helmer_. May I write to you, Nora?

_Nora_. No - never. You must not do that.

_Helmer_. But at least let me send you -

_Nora_. Nothing - nothing -

_Helmer_. Let me help you if you are in want.

_Nora_. No. I can receive nothing from a stranger.

_Helmer_. Nora - can I never be anything more than a stranger to you?

_Nora_ (_taking her bag_). Ah, Torvald, the most wonderful thing of all
would have to happen.

_Helmer_. Tell me what that would be!

_Nora_. Both you and I would have to be so changed that - . Oh, Torvald,
I don't believe any longer in wonderful things happening.

_Helmer_. But I will believe in it. Tell me? So changed that - ?

_Nora_. That our life together would be a real wedlock. Good-bye. (_She
goes out through the hall_.)

_Helmer_ (_sinks down on a chair at the door and buries his face in his
hands_). Nora! Nora! (_Looks round, and rises_.) Empty. She is gone. (_A
hope flashes across his mind_.) The most wonderful thing of all - ?

(_The sound of a door shutting is heard from below_.)



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