Hedda Gabler By Henrik Ibsen Act II

LOVBORG.

[Smiling, lays down his hat, and draws a packet wrapped in paper, from his coat pocket.] But when this one appears, George Tesman, you will have to read it. For this is the real book — the book I have put my true self into.

TESMAN.

Indeed? And what is it?

LOVBORG.

It is the continuation.

TESMAN.

The continuation? Of what?

LOVBORG.

Of the book.

TESMAN.

Of the new book?

LOVBORG.

Of course.

TESMAN.

Why, my dear Eilert — does it not come down to our own days?

LOVBORG.

Yes, it does; and this one deals with the future.

TESMAN.

With the future! But, good heavens, we know nothing of the future!

LOVBORG.

No; but there is a thing or two to be said about it all the same. [Opens the packet.] Look here — -

TESMAN.

Why, that's not your handwriting.

LOVBORG.

I dictated it. [Turning over the pages.] It falls into two sections. The first deals with the civilising forces of the future. And here is the second — [running through the pages towards the end] — forecasting the probable line of development.

TESMAN.

How odd now! I should never have thought of writing anything of that sort.

HEDDA.

[At the glass door, drumming on the pane.] H'm — -. I daresay not.

LOVBORG.

[Replacing the manuscript in its paper and laying the packet on the table.] I brought it, thinking I might read you a little of it this evening.

TESMAN.

That was very good of you, Eilert. But this evening — -? [Looking back at BRACK.] I don't see how we can manage it — -

LOVBORG.

Well then, some other time. There is no hurry.

BRACK.

I must tell you, Mr. Lovborg — there is a little gathering at my house this evening — mainly in honour of Tesman, you know — -

LOVBORG.

[Looking for his hat.] Oh — then I won't detain you — -

BRACK.

No, but listen — will you not do me the favour of joining us?

LOVBORG.

[Curtly and decidedly.] No, I can't — thank you very much.

BRACK.

Oh, nonsense — do! We shall be quite a select little circle. And I assure you we shall have a "lively time," as Mrs. Hed — as Mrs. Tesman says.

LOVBORG.

I have no doubt of it. But nevertheless — -

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