Hedda Gabler By Henrik Ibsen Act I

MRS. ELVSTED.

After his book was published he was too restless and unsettled to remain with us.

TESMAN.

Yes, by-the-bye, Aunt Julia told me he had published a new book.

MRS. ELVSTED.

Yes, a big book, dealing with the march of civilisation — in broad outline, as it were. It came out about a fortnight ago. And since it has sold so well, and been so much read — and made such a sensation — -

TESMAN.

Has it indeed? It must be something he has had lying by since his better days.

MRS. ELVSTED.

Long ago, you mean?

TESMAN.

Yes.

MRS. ELVSTED.

No, he has written it all since he has been with us — within the last year.

TESMAN.

Isn't that good news, Hedda? Think of that.

MRS. ELVSTED.

Ah yes, if only it would last!

HEDDA.

Have you seen him here in town?

MRS. ELVSTED.

No, not yet. I have had the greatest difficulty in finding out his address. But this morning I discovered it at last.

HEDDA.

[Looks searchingly at her.] Do you know, it seems to me a little odd of your husband — h'm — -

MRS. ELVSTED.

[Starting nervously.] Of my husband! What?

HEDDA.

That he should send you to town on such an errand — that he does not come himself and look after his friend.

MRS. ELVSTED.

Oh no, no — my husband has no time. And besides, I — I had some shopping to do.

HEDDA.

[With a slight smile.] Ah, that is a different matter.

MRS. ELVSTED.

[Rising quickly and uneasily.] And now I beg and implore you, Mr. Tesman — receive Eilert Lovborg kindly if he comes to you! And that he is sure to do. You see you were such great friends in the old days. And then you are interested in the same studies — the same branch of science — so far as I can understand.

TESMAN.

We used to be at any rate.

MRS. ELVSTED.

That is why I beg so earnestly that you — you too — will keep a sharp eye upon him. Oh, you will promise me that, Mr. Tesman — won't you?

TESMAN.

With the greatest of pleasure, Mrs. Rysing — -

HEDDA.

Elvsted.

TESMAN.

I assure you I shall do all I possibly can for Eilert. You may rely upon me.

MRS. ELVSTED.

Oh, how very, very kind of you! [Presses his hands.] Thanks, thanks, thanks! [Frightened.] You see, my husband is so very fond of him!

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