Act II

The same scene—The Christmas tree is in the corner by the piano, stripped of its ornaments and with burned-down candle ends on its disheveled branches. Nora’s cloak and hat are lying on the sofa. She is alone in the room, walking about uneasily. She stops by the sofa and takes up her cloak.

NORA [drops the cloak]. Someone is coming now. [Goes to the door and listens.] No—it is no one. Of course no one will come today, Christmas Day—nor tomorrow either. But perhaps——[Opens the door and looks out.] No, nothing in the letter box; it is quite empty. [Comes forward.] What rubbish! Of course he can’t be in earnest about it. Such a thing couldn’t happen; it is impossible—I have three little children.

[Enter the Nurse from the room on the left, carrying a big cardboard box.]

NURSE. At last I have found the box with the fancy dress.

NORA. Thanks; put it on the table.

NURSE [in doing so]. But it is very much in want of mending.

NORA. I should like to tear it into a hundred thousand pieces.

NURSE. What an idea! It can easily be put in order—just a little patience.

NORA. Yes, I will go and get Mrs. Linde to come and help me with it.

NURSE. What, out again? In this horrible weather? You will catch cold, ma’am, and make yourself ill.

NORA. Well, worse than that might happen. How are the children?

NURSE. The poor little souls are playing with their Christmas presents, but——

NORA. Do they ask much for me?

NURSE. You see, they are so accustomed to having their mamma with them.

NORA. Yes—but, Nurse, I shall not be able to be so much with them now as I was before.

NURSE. Oh well, young children easily get accustomed to anything.

NORA. Do you think so? Do you think they would forget their mother if she went away altogether?

NURSE. Good heavens!—went away altogether?

NORA. Nurse, I want you to tell me something I have often wondered about—how could you have the heart to put your own child out among strangers?

NURSE. I was obliged to if I wanted to be little Nora’s nurse.

NORA. Yes, but how could you be willing to do it?

NURSE. What, when I was going to get such a good place by it? A poor girl who has got into trouble should be glad to. Besides, that wicked man didn’t do a single thing for me.

NORA. But I suppose your daughter has quite forgotten you.

NURSE. No, indeed she hasn’t. She wrote to me when she was confirmed and when she was married.

NORA [putting her arms round her neck]. Dear old Anne, you were a good mother to me when I was little.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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