Nora. I am looking forward tremendously to the fancy-dress ball at the Stenborgs’ the day after tomorrow.
Helmer. And I am tremendously curious to see what you are going to surprise me with.
Nora. It was very silly of me to want to do that.
Helmer. What do you mean?
Nora. I can’t hit upon anything that will do; everything I think of seems so silly and insignificant.
Helmer. Does my little Nora acknowledge that at last?
Nora (standing behind his chair with her arms on the
back of it).
Are you very busy, Torvald?
Nora. What are all those papers?
Helmer. Bank business.
Helmer. I have got authority from the retiring manager to undertake the necessary changes in the staff and in the rearrangement of the work; and I must make use of the Christmas week for that, so as to have everything in order for the new year.
Nora. Then that was why this poor Krogstad—
Nora (leans against the back of his chair and strokes his hair). If you hadn’t been so busy I should have asked you a tremendously big favour, Torvald.
Helmer. What is that? Tell me.
Nora. There is no one has such good taste as you. And I do so want to look nice at the fancy-dress ball. Torvald, couldn’t you take me in hand and decide what I shall go as, and what sort of a dress I shall wear?
Helmer. Aha! so my obstinate little woman is obliged to get someone to come to her rescue?
Nora. Yes, Torvald, I can’t get along a bit without your help.
Helmer. Very well, I will think it over, we shall manage to hit upon something.
Nora. That is nice of you. (Goes to the Christmas Tree. A short pause.) How pretty the red flowers look—. But, tell me, was it really something very bad that this Krogstad was guilty of?
Helmer. He forged someone’s name. Have you any idea what that means?
Nora. Isn’t it possible that he was driven to do it by necessity?
Helmer. Yes; or, as in so many cases, by imprudence. I am not so heartless as to condemn a man altogether because of a single false step of that kind.
Nora. No, you wouldn’t, would you, Torvald?
Helmer. Many a man has been able to retrieve his character, if he has openly confessed his fault and taken his punishment.
Helmer. But Krogstad did nothing of that sort; he got himself out of it by a cunning trick, and that is why he has gone under altogether.
Nora. But do you think it would—?
Helmer. Just think how a guilty man like that has to lie and play the hypocrite with every one, how he has to wear a mask in the presence of those near and dear to him, even before his own wife and children. And about the children—that is the most terrible part of it all, Nora.