Hedda Gabler By Henrik Ibsen Act II

BRACK.

Well, you know, Mrs. Tesman, how you used to gird at my little bachelor parties. You declared they were adapted only for men of the strictest principles.

HEDDA.

But no doubt Mr. Lovborg's principles are strict enough now. A converted sinner — - [BERTA appears at the hall door.

BERTA.

There's a gentleman asking if you are at home, ma'am — -

HEDDA.

Well, show him in.

TESMAN.

[Softly.] I'm sure it is he! Fancy that!

EILERT LOVBORG enters from the hall. He is slim and lean; of the same age as TESMAN, but looks older and somewhat worn-out. His hair and beard are of a blackish brown, his face long and pale, but with patches of colour on the cheeks. He is dressed in a well-cut black visiting suit, quite new. He has dark gloves and a silk hat. He stops near the door, and makes a rapid bow, seeming somewhat embarrassed.

TESMAN.

[Goes up to him and shakes him warmly by the hand.] Well, my dear Eilert — so at last we meet again!

EILERT LOVBORG.

[Speaks in a subdued voice.] Thanks for your letter, Tesman. [Approaching HEDDA.] Will you too shake hands with me, Mrs. Tesman?

HEDDA.

[Taking his hand.] I am glad to see you, Mr. Lovborg. [With a motion of her hand.] I don't know whether you two gentlemen — -?

LOVBORG.

[Bowing slightly.] Judge Brack, I think.

BRACK.

[Doing likewise.] Oh yes, — in the old days — -

TESMAN.

[To LOVBORG, with his hands on his shoulders.] And now you must make yourself entirely at home, Eilert! Mustn't he, Hedda? — For I hear you are going to settle in town again? Eh?

LOVBORG.

Yes, I am.

TESMAN.

Quite right, quite right. Let me tell you, I have got hold of your new book; but I haven't had time to read it yet.

LOVBORG.

You may spare yourself the trouble.

TESMAN.

Why so?

LOVBORG.

Because there is very little in it.

TESMAN.

Just fancy — how can you say so?

BRACK.

But it has been very much praised, I hear.

LOVBORG.

That was what I wanted; so I put nothing into the book but what every one would agree with.

BRACK.

Very wise of you.

TESMAN.

Well but, my dear Eilert — -!

LOVBORG.

For now I mean to win myself a position again — to make a fresh start.

TESMAN.

[A little embarrassed.] Ah, that is what you wish to do? Eh?

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