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NORA Do you think that-? HELMER Just think how a man with a thing of that sort on
his conscience must be always lying and canting and shamming. Think of the mask he
must wear even towards those who stand nearest him-towards his own wife and
children. The effect on the children-thatís the most terrible part of it, Nora.

NORA Why? HELMER Because in such an atmosphere of lies home life is poisoned
and contaminated in every fibre. Every breath the children draw contains some germ of

NORA[Closer behind him.] Are you sure of that? HELMER As a lawyer, my dear, I
have seen it often enough. Nearly all cases of early corruption may be traced to lying

NORA Why-mothers? HELMER It generally comes from the motherís side; but of
course the fatherís influence may act in the same way. Every lawyer knows it
too well. And here has this Krogstad been poisoning his own children for years past by
a life of lies and hypocrisy-that is why I call him morally ruined.

[Holds out both hands to her.]
So my sweet little Nora must promise not to plead his cause.
Shake hands upon it. Come, come, whatís this? Give me your hand.
Thatís right. Then itís a bargain. I assure you it would have been impossible for me to
work with him. It gives me a positive sense of physical discomfort to come in contact
with such people.

[NORA draws her hand away, and moves to the other side of the Christmas-tree.
NORA How warm it is here. And I have so much to do.

HELMER[Rises and gathers up his papers.] Yes, and I must try to get some of these
papers looked through before dinner. And I shall think over your costume too. Perhaps
I may even find something to hang in gilt paper on the Christmastree-.

[Lays his hand on her head.]
My precious little song-bird!
[He goes into his room and shuts the door.
NORA[Softly, after a pause.] It canít be. Itís impossible. It must be impossible!
ANNA[At the door, left.] The little ones are begging so prettily to come to mamma.
NORA No, no, no; donít let them come to me! Keep them with you, Anna.

ANNA Very well, maíam.
[Shuts the door.

NORA[Pale with terror.] Corrupt my children!- Poison my home!
[Short pause. She throws back her head.]

Itís not true! It can never, never be true!
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