Hedda Gabler By Henrik Ibsen Act I

TESMAN.

[Patting her cheek.] You always think of everything, Aunt Julia. [Lays the bonnet on a chair beside the table.] And now, look here — suppose we sit comfortably on the sofa and have a little chat, till Hedda comes. [They seat themselves. She places her parasol in the corner of the sofa.

MISS TESMAN.

[Takes both his hands and looks at him.] What a delight it is to have you again, as large as life, before my very eyes, George! My George — my poor brother's own boy!

TESMAN.

And it's a delight for me, too, to see you again, Aunt Julia! You, who have been father and mother in one to me.

MISS TESMAN.

Oh yes, I know you will always keep a place in your heart for your old aunts.

TESMAN.

And what about Aunt Rina? No improvement — eh?

MISS TESMAN.

Oh, no — we can scarcely look for any improvement in her case, poor thing. There she lies, helpless, as she has lain for all these years. But heaven grant I may not lose her yet awhile! For if I did, I don't know what I should make of my life, George — especially now that I haven't you to look after any more.

TESMAN.

[Patting her back.] There there there — -!

MISS TESMAN.

[Suddenly changing her tone.] And to think that here are you a married man, George! — And that you should be the one to carry off Hedda Gabler — the beautiful Hedda Gabler! Only think of it — she, that was so beset with admirers!

TESMAN.

[Hums a little and smiles complacently.] Yes, I fancy I have several good friends about town who would like to stand in my shoes — eh?

MISS TESMAN.

And then this fine long wedding-tour you have had! More than five — nearly six months — -

TESMAN.

Well, for me it has been a sort of tour of research as well. I have had to do so much grubbing among old records — and to read no end of books too, Auntie.

MISS TESMAN.

Oh yes, I suppose so. [More confidentially, and lowering her voice a little.] But listen now, George, — have you nothing — nothing special to tell me?

TESMAN.

As to our journey?

MISS TESMAN.

Yes.

TESMAN.

No, I don't know of anything except what I have told you in my letters. I had a doctor's degree conferred on me — but that I told you yesterday.

MISS TESMAN.

Yes, yes, you did. But what I mean is — haven't you any — any — expectations — -?

TESMAN.

Expectations?

MISS TESMAN.

Why you know, George — I'm your old auntie!

TESMAN.

Why, of course I have expectations.

MISS TESMAN.

Ah!

TESMAN.

I have every expectation of being a professor one of these days.

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