Hedda Gabler By Henrik Ibsen Act I

HEDDA.

Exactly. The girl with the irritating hair, that she was always showing off. An old flame of yours I've been told.

TESMAN.

[Laughing.] Oh, that didn't last long; and it was before I met you, Hedda. But fancy her being in town!

HEDDA.

It's odd that she should call upon us. I have scarcely seen her since we left school.

TESMAN.

I haven't see her either for — heaven knows how long. I wonder how she can endure to live in such an out-of-the way hole — eh?

HEDDA.

[After a moment's thought, says suddenly.] Tell me, Tesman — isn't it somewhere near there that he — that — Eilert Lovborg is living?

TESMAN.

Yes, he is somewhere in that part of the country.

BERTA enters by the hall door.

BERTA.

That lady, ma'am, that brought some flowers a little while ago, is here again. [Pointing.] The flowers you have in your hand, ma'am.

HEDDA.

Ah, is she? Well, please show her in.

BERTA opens the door for MRS. ELVSTED, and goes out herself. — MRS. ELVSTED is a woman of fragile figure, with pretty, soft features. Her eyes are light blue, large, round, and somewhat prominent, with a startled, inquiring expression. Her hair is remarkably light, almost flaxen, and unusually abundant and wavy. She is a couple of years younger than HEDDA. She wears a dark visiting dress, tasteful, but not quite in the latest fashion.

HEDDA.

[Receives her warmly.] How do you do, my dear Mrs. Elvsted? It's delightful to see you again.

MRS. ELVSTED.

[Nervously, struggling for self-control.] Yes, it's a very long time since we met.

TESMAN.

[Gives her his hand.] And we too — eh?

HEDDA.

Thanks for your lovely flowers — -

MRS. ELVSTED.

Oh, not at all — -. I would have come straight here yesterday afternoon; but I heard that you were away — -

TESMAN.

Have you just come to town? Eh?

MRS. ELVSTED.

I arrived yesterday, about midday. Oh, I was quite in despair when I heard that you were not at home.

HEDDA.

In despair! How so?

TESMAN.

Why, my dear Mrs. Rysing — I mean Mrs. Elvsted — -

HEDDA.

I hope that you are not in any trouble?

MRS. ELVSTED.

Yes, I am. And I don't know another living creature here that I can turn to.

HEDDA.

[Laying the bouquet on the table.] Come — let us sit here on the sofa — -

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