(SCENE.--A room furnished comfortably and tastefully, but not
extravagantly. At the back, a door to the right leads to the
entrance-hall, another to the left leads to Helmer's study. Between
doors stands a piano. In the middle of the left-hand wall is a door,
beyond it a window. Near the window are a round table, arm-chairs and
a small sofa. In the right-hand wall, at the farther end, another
and on the same side, nearer the footlights, a stove, two easy chairs
and a rocking-chair; between the stove and the door, a small table.
Engravings on the walls; a cabinet with china and other small objects;
a small book-case with well-bound books. The floors are carpeted, and
fire burns in the stove. It is winter.
A bell rings in the hall; shortly afterwards the door is heard to
Enter NORA, humming a tune and in high spirits. She is in outdoor
and carries a number of parcels; these she lays on the table to the
right. She leaves the outer door open after her, and through it is
A Doll's House a play by Henrik Ibsen
a PORTER who is carrying a Christmas Tree and a basket, which he gives
to the MAID who has opened the door.)
Nora. Hide the Christmas Tree carefully, Helen. Be sure the children
do not see it until this evening, when it is dressed. (To the PORTER,
taking out her purse.) How much?
Nora. There is a shilling. No, keep the change. (The PORTER thanks
and goes out. NORA shuts the door. She is laughing to herself, as she
takes off her hat and coat. She takes a packet of macaroons from her
pocket and eats one or two; then goes cautiously to her husband's door
and listens.) Yes, he is in. (Still humming, she goes to the table on
Helmer (calls out from his room). Is that my little lark twittering
Nora (busy opening some of the parcels). Yes, it is!
Helmer. Is it my little squirrel bustling about?
Helmer. When did my squirrel come home?
Nora. Just now. (Puts the bag of macaroons into her pocket and wipes
mouth.) Come in here, Torvald, and see what I have bought.
Helmer. Don't disturb me. (A little later, he opens the door and looks
into the room, pen in hand.) Bought, did you say? All these things?
my little spendthrift been wasting money again?
Nora. Yes but, Torvald, this year we really can let ourselves go
a little. This is the first Christmas that we have not needed to
Helmer. Still, you know, we can't spend money recklessly. Nora. Yes,
Torvald, we may be a wee bit more reckless now, mayn't we? Just a tiny
wee bit! You are going to have a big salary and earn lots and lots of
Helmer. Yes, after the New Year; but then it will be a whole quarter
before the salary is due.
Nora. Pooh! we can borrow until then.
A Doll's House a play by Henrik Ibsen
Helmer. Nora! (Goes up to her and takes her playfully by the ear.) The
same little featherhead! Suppose, now, that I borrowed fifty pounds
today, and you spent it all in the Christmas week, and then on New
Year's Eve a slate fell on my head and killed me, and--Nora (putting
hands over his mouth). Oh! don't say such horrid things.
Helmer. Still, suppose that happened,--what then?
Nora. If that were to happen, I don't suppose I should care whether I
owed money or not.
Helmer. Yes, but what about the people who had lent it?
Nora. They? Who would bother about them? I should not know who they
Helmer. That is like a woman! But seriously, Nora, you know what I
about that. No debt, no borrowing. There can be no freedom or beauty
about a home life that depends on borrowing and debt. We two have kept
bravely on the straight road so far, and we will go on the same way
the short time longer that there need be any struggle.
Nora (moving towards the stove). As you please, Torvald.
Helmer (following her). Come, come, my little skylark must not droop
wings. What is this! Is my little squirrel out of temper? (Taking out
his purse.) Nora, what do you think I have got here?
Nora (turning round quickly). Money!
Helmer. There you are. (Gives her some money.) Do you think I don't
what a lot is wanted for housekeeping at Christmas-time?
Nora (counting). Ten shillings--a pound--two pounds! Thank you, thank
you, Torvald; that will keep me going for a long time.
Helmer. Indeed it must.
Nora. Yes, yes, it will. But come here and let me show you what I have
bought. And all so cheap! Look, here is a new suit for Ivar, and
a sword; and a horse and a trumpet for Bob; and a doll and dolly's
bedstead for Emmy,--they are very plain, but anyway she will soon