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 A doll's house-Act 1-Part 3

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Mohamed LAHRI
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Posts : 125
Join date : 2009-07-27
Age : 30
Location : Zaida-Morocco

PostSubject: A doll's house-Act 1-Part 3   Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:26 pm

MRS. LINDE:
And did your husband never get to know from your father that the money had not come from him?

NORA:
No, never. Papa died just at that time. I had meant to let him into the secret and beg him never to reveal it. But he was so ill then—alas, there never was any need to tell him.

MRS. LINDE:
And since then have you never told your secret to your husband?

NORA:
Good Heavens, no! How could you think so? A man who has such strong opinions about these things! And besides, how painful and humiliating it would be for Torvald, with his manly independence, to know that he owed me anything! It would upset our mutual relations altogether; our beautiful happy home would no longer be what it is now.

MRS. LINDE:
Do you mean never to tell him about it?

NORA:
[meditatively, and with a half smile]. Yes—some day, perhaps, after many years, when I am no longer as nice-looking as I am now. Don't laugh at me! I mean, of course, when Torvald is no longer as devoted to me as he is now; when my dancing and dressing-up and reciting have palled on him; then it may be a good thing to have something in reserve —[Breaking off.] What nonsense! That time will never come. Now, what do you think of my great secret, Christine? Do you still think I am of no use? I can tell you, too, that this affair has caused me a lot of worry. It has been by no means easy for me to meet my engagements punctually. I may tell you that there is something that is called, in business, quarterly interest, and another thing called payment in instalments, and it is always so dreadfully difficult to manage them. I have had to save a little here and there, where I could, you understand. I have not been able to put aside much from my housekeeping money, for Torvald must have a good table. I couldn't let my children be shabbily dressed; I have felt obliged to use up all he gave me for them, the sweet little darlings!

MRS. LINDE:
So it has all had to come out of your own necessaries of life, poor Nora?

NORA:
Of course. Besides, I was the one responsible for it. Whenever Torvald has given me money for new dresses and such things, I have never spent more than half of it; I have always bought the simplest and cheapest things. Thank Heaven, any clothes look well on me, and so Torvald has never noticed it. But it was often very hard on me, Christine—because it is delightful to be really well dressed, isn't it?

MRS. LINDE:
Quite so.

NORA:
Well, then I have found other ways of earning money. Last winter I was lucky enough to get a lot of copying to do; so I locked myself up and sat writing every evening till quite late at night. Many a time I was desperately tired; but all the same it was a tremendous pleasure to sit there working and earning money. It was like being a man.

MRS. LINDE:
How much have you been able to pay off in that way?

NORA:
I can't tell you exactly. You see, it is very difficult to keep an account of a business matter of that kind. I only know that I have paid every penny that I could scrape together. Many a time I was at my wits' end. [Smiles.] Then I used to sit here and imagine that a rich old gentleman had fallen in love with me—

MRS. LINDE:
What! Who was it?

NORA:
Be quiet!—that he had died; and that when his will was opened it contained, written in big letters, the instruction: “The lovely Mrs. Nora Helmer is to have all I possess paid over to her at once in cash.”

MRS. LINDE:
But, my dear Nora—who could the man be?

NORA:
Good gracious, can't you understand? There was no old gentleman at all; it was only something that I used to sit here and imagine, when I couldn't think of any way of procuring money. But it's all the same now; the tiresome old person can stay where he is, as far as I am concerned; I don't care about him or his will either, for I am free from care now. [Jumps up.] My goodness, it's delightful to think of, Christine! Free from care! To be able to be free from care, quite free from care; to be able to play and romp with the children; to be able to keep the house beautifully and have everything just as Torvald likes it! And, think of it, soon the spring will come and the big blue sky! Perhaps we shall be able to take a little trip—perhaps I shall see the sea again! Oh, it's a wonderful thing to be alive and be happy. [A bell is heard in the hall.]

MRS. LINDE:
[rising]. There is the bell; perhaps I had better go.

NORA:
No, don't go; no one will come in here; it is sure to be for Torvald.

SERVANT:
[at the hall door]. Excuse me, ma'am—there is a gentleman to see the master, and as the doctor is with him—

NORA:
Who is it?

KROGSTAD:
[at the door]. It is I, Mrs. Helmer. [MRS. LINDE starts, trembles, and turns to the window.]

NORA:
[takes a step towards him, and speaks in a strained, low voice]. You? What is it? What do you want to see my husband about?

KROGSTAD:
Bank business—in a way. I have a small post in the Bank, and I hear your husband is to be our chief now—

NORA:
Then it is—

KROGSTAD:
Nothing but dry business matters, Mrs. Helmer; absolutely nothing else.

NORA:
Be so good as to go into the study, then. [She bows indifferently to him and shuts the door into the hall; then comes back and makes up the fire in the stove.]

MRS. LINDE:
Nora—who was that man?

NORA:
A lawyer, of the name of Krogstad.

MRS. LINDE:
Then it really was he.

Nora seeks to protect her husband's image and role as the independent breadwinner. In nineteenth century England, a man would be shamed if he needed the help of his wife or another woman.
bored, made tiresome
Nora strongly desires independence and individuality, traits that were associated with males for the era. She is proud when she feels she has worked as a man would.
finding or bringing about

NORA:
Do you know the man?

MRS. LINDE:
I used to—many years ago. At one time he was a solicitor's clerk in our town.

NORA:
Yes, he was.

MRS. LINDE:
He is greatly altered.

NORA:
He made a very unhappy marriage.

MRS. LINDE:
He is a widower now, isn't he?

NORA:
With several children. There now, it is burning up. [Shuts the door of the stove and moves the rocking-chair aside.]

MRS. LINDE:
They say he carries on various kinds of business.

NORA:
Really! Perhaps he does; I don't know anything about it. But don't let us think of business; it is so tiresome.

DOCTOR RANK:
[comes out of Helmer's study. Before he shuts the door he calls to him]. No, my dear fellow, I won't disturb you; I would rather go in to your wife for a little while. [Shuts the door and sees MRS. LINDE] I beg your pardon; I am afraid I am disturbing you too.

NORA:
No, not at all. [Introducing him]. Doctor Rank, Mrs. Linde.

RANK:
I have often heard Mrs. Linde's name mentioned here. I think I passed you on the stairs when I arrived, Mrs. Linde?

MRS. LINDE:
Yes, I go up very slowly; I can't manage stairs well.

RANK:
Ah! some slight internal weakness?

MRS. LINDE:
No, the fact is I have been overworking myself.

RANK:
Nothing more than that? Then I suppose you have come to town to amuse yourself with our entertainments?

MRS. LINDE:
I have come to look for work.

RANK:
Is that a good cure for overwork?

MRS. LINDE:
One must live, Doctor Rank.

RANK:
Yes, the general opinion seems to be that it is necessary.

NORA:
Look here, Doctor Rank—you know you want to live.

RANK:
Certainly. However wretched I may feel, I want to prolong the agony as long as possible. All my patients are like that. And so are those who are morally diseased; one of them, and a bad case too, is at this very moment with Helmer—

MRS. LINDE:
[sadly]. Ah!

NORA:
Whom do you mean?

RANK:
A lawyer of the name of Krogstad, a fellow you don't know at all. He suffers from a diseased moral character, Mrs. Helmer; but even he began talking of its being highly important that he should live.

NORA:
Did he? What did he want to speak to Torvald about?

RANK:
I have no idea; I only heard that it was something about the Bank.

NORA:
I didn't know this—what's his name— Krogstad had anything to do with the Bank.

RANK:
Yes, he has some sort of appointment there. [To MRS. LINDE] I don't know whether you find also in your part of the world that there are certain people who go zealously snuffing about to smell out moral corruption, and, as soon as they have found some, put the person concerned into some lucrative position where they can keep their eye on him. Healthy natures are left out in the cold.

MRS. LINDE:
Still I think the sick are those who most need taking care of.

RANK:
[shrugging his shoulders]. Yes, there you are. That is the sentiment that is turning Society into a sick-house.

[NORA, who has been absorbed in her thoughts, breaks out into smothered laughter and claps her hands.]

RANK:
Why do you laugh at that? Have you any notion what Society really is?

NORA:
What do I care about tiresome Society? I am laughing at something quite different, something extremely amusing. Tell me, Doctor Rank, are all the people who are employed in the Bank dependent on Torvald now?

RANK:
Is that what you find so extremely amusing?

NORA:
[smiling and humming]. That's my affair! [Walking about the room.] It's perfectly glorious to think that we have—that Torvald has so much power over so many people. [Takes the packet from her pocket.] Doctor Rank, what do you say to a macaroon?

RANK:
What, macaroons? I thought they were forbidden here.

NORA:
Yes, but these are some Christine gave me.

MRS. LINDE:
What! I?—

NORA:
Oh, well, don't be alarmed! You couldn't know that Torvald had forbidden them. I must tell you that he is afraid they will spoil my teeth. But, bah!—once in a way—That's so, isn't it, Doctor Rank? By your leave! [Puts a macaroon into his mouth.] You must have one too, Christine. And I shall have one, just a little one—or at most two. [Walking about.] I am tremendously happy. There is just one thing in the world now that I should dearly love to do.

RANK:
Well, what is that?

NORA:
It's something I should dearly love to say, if Torvald could hear me.

RANK:
Well, why can't you say it?

NORA:
No, I daren't; it's so shocking.

MRS. LINDE:
Shocking?

RANK:
Well, I should not advise you to say it. Still, with us you might. What is it you would so much like to say if Torvald could hear you?

NORA:
I should just love to say—Well, I'm damned!

RANK:
Are you mad?

MRS. LINDE:
Nora, dear—!

RANK:
Say it, here he is!

NORA:
[hiding the packet]. Hush! Hush! Hush! [HELMER comes out of his room, with his coat over his arm and his hat in his hand.]

NORA:
Well, Torvald dear, have you got rid of him?

HELMER:
Yes, he has just gone.

NORA:
Let me introduce you—this is Christine, who has come to town.

HELMER:
Christine—? Excuse me, but I don't know—

NORA:
Mrs. Linde, dear; Christine Linde.

HELMER:
Of course. A school friend of my wife's, I presume?

MRS. LINDE:
Yes, we have known each other since then.

NORA:
And just think, she has taken a long journey in order to see you.

HELMER:
What do you mean?

MRS. LINDE:
No, really, I—

NORA:
Christine is tremendously clever at book-keeping, and she is frightfully anxious to work under some clever man, so as to perfect herself—

HELMER:
Very sensible, Mrs. Linde.

NORA:
And when she heard you had been appointed manager of the Bank—the news was telegraphed, you know—she travelled here as quick as she could. Torvald, I am sure you will be able to do something for Christine, for my sake, won't you?

[British] a lawyer of lower rank who is not allowed in higher court
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A doll's house-Act 1-Part 3
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