Hedda Gabler By Henrik Ibsen Act I

MRS. ELVSTED.

My marriage?

HEDDA.

Yes.

MRS. ELVSTED.

Five years ago.

HEDDA.

To be sure; it must be that.

MRS. ELVSTED.

Oh those five years — -! Or at all events the last two or three of them! Oh, if you(6) could only imagine — -

HEDDA.

[Giving her a little slap on the hand.] De? Fie, Thea!

MRS. ELVSTED.

Yes, yes, I will try — -. Well, if — you could only imagine and understand — -

HEDDA.

[Lightly.] Eilert Lovborg has been in your neighbourhood about three years, hasn't he?

MRS. ELVSTED.

[Looks at here doubtfully.] Eilert Lovborg? Yes — he has.

HEDDA.

Had you known him before, in town here?

MRS. ELVSTED.

Scarcely at all. I mean — I knew him by name of course.

HEDDA.

But you saw a good deal of him in the country?

MRS. ELVSTED.

Yes, he came to us every day. You see, he gave the children lessons; for in the long run I couldn't manage it all myself.

HEDDA.

No, that's clear. — And your husband — -? I suppose he is often away from home?

MRS. ELVSTED.

Yes. Being sheriff, you know, he has to travel about a good deal in his district.

HEDDA.

[Leaning against the arm of the chair.] Thea — my poor, sweet Thea — now you must tell me everything — exactly as it stands.

MRS. ELVSTED.

Well, then you must question me.

HEDDA.

What sort of a man is your husband, Thea? I mean — you know — in everyday life. Is he kind to you?

MRS. ELVSTED.

[Evasively.] I am sure he means well in everything.

HEDDA.

I should think he must be altogether too old for you. There is at least twenty years' difference between you, is there not?

MRS. ELVSTED.

[Irritably.] Yes, that is true, too. Everything about him is repellent to me! We have not a thought in common. We have no single point of sympathy — he and I.

HEDDA.

But is he not fond of you all the same? In his own way?

MRS. ELVSTED.

Oh I really don't know. I think he regards me simply as a useful property. And then it doesn't cost much to keep me. I am not expensive.

HEDDA.

That is stupid of you.

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