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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 100, April 4, 1891   By:

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PUNCH,

OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 100.

April 4, 1891.

MR. PUNCH'S POCKET IBSEN.

( CONDENSED AND REVISED VERSION BY MR. P.'S OWN HARMLESS IBSENITE. )

NO. II. NORA; OR, THE BIRD CAGE (ET DIKKISVÖIT).

ACT I.

A Room tastefully filled with cheap Art furniture. Gimcracks in an étagère; a festoon of chenille monkeys hanging from the gaselier. Japanese fans, skeletons, cotton wool spiders, frogs, and lizards, scattered everywhere about. Drain pipes with tall dyed grasses. A porcelain stove decorated with transferable pictures. Showily bound books in book case. Window. The Visitors' bell rings in the hall outside. The hall door is heard to open, and then to shut. Presently NORA walks in with parcels; a Porter carries a large Christmas tree after her which he puts down. NORA gives him a shilling and he goes out grumbling. NORA hums contentedly, and eats macaroons. Then HELMER puts his head out of his Manager's room, and NORA hides macaroons cautiously.

Helmer ( playfully ). Is that my little squirrel twittering that my lark frisking in here?

Nora . Ess! ( To herself. ) I have only been married eight years, so these marital amenities have not yet had time to pall!

[Illustration: "Boo!"]

Helmer ( threatening with his finger ). I hope the little bird has surely not been digging its beak into any macaroons, eh?

Nora ( bolting one, and wiping her mouth ). No, most certainly not. ( To herself .) The worst of being so babyish is one does have to tell such a lot of taradiddles! ( To H. ) See what I 've bought it's been such fun!

[ Hums.

Helmer ( inspecting parcels ). H'm rather an expensive little lark!

[ Takes her playfully by the ear.

Nora . Little birds like to have a flutter occasionally. Which reminds me ( Plays with his coat buttons. ) I'm such a simple ickle sing but if you are thinking of giving me a Christmas present, make it cash.

Helmer . Just like your poor father, he always asked me to make it cash he never made any himself! It's heredity, I suppose. Well well!

[ Goes back to his Bank. NORA goes on humming.

Enter Mrs. LINDEN, doubtfully.

Nora . What, CHRISTINA why, how old you look! But then you are poor. I'm not. TORVALD has just been made a Bank Manager. ( Tidies the room. ) Isn't it really wonderfully delicious to be well off? But, of course, you wouldn't know. We were poor once, and, do you know, when TORVALD was ill, I ( tossing her head ) though I am such a frivolous little squirrel, and all that, I actually borrowed £300 for him to go abroad. Wasn't that clever? Tra la la! I shan't tell you who lent it. I didn't even tell TORVALD. I am such a mere baby I don't tell him everything. I tell Dr. RANK, though. Oh, I'm so awfully happy I should like to shout, "Dash it all!"

Mrs. Linden ( stroking her hair ). Do it is a natural and innocent outburst you are such a child! But I am a widow, and want employment. Do you think your husband could find me a place as clerk in his Bank? ( Proudly. ) I am an excellent knitter!

Nora . That would really be awfully funny. ( To HELMER, who enters. ) TORVALD, this is CHRISTINA; she wants to be a clerk in your Bank do let her! She thinks such a lot of you . ( To herself. ) Another taradiddle!

Helmer . She is a sensible woman, and deserves encouragement. Come along, Mrs. LINDEN, and we'll see what we can do for you.

[ He goes out through the hall with Mrs. L., and the front door is heard to slam after them.

Nora ( opens door, and calls ). Now, EMMY, IVAR, and BOB, come in and have a romp with Mamma we will play hide and seek. ( She gets under the table, smiling in quiet satisfaction; KROGSTAD enters NORA pounces out upon him ). Boo!... Oh, I beg your pardon. I don't do this kind of thing generally though I may be a little silly!

Krogstad ( politely ). Don't mention it. I called because I happened to see your husband go out with MRS... Continue reading book >>


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