Hedda Gabler By Henrik Ibsen Act III

HEDDA.

And so ought mine to be, you mean?

BRACK.

Yes. I confess it would be more than painful to me if this personage were to be made free of your house. How superfluous, how intrusive, he would be, if he were to force his way into — -

HEDDA.

— -into the triangle?

BRACK.

Precisely. It would simply mean that I should find myself homeless.

HEDDA.

[Looks at him with a smile.] So you want to be the one cock in the basket(12) — that is your aim.

BRACK.

[Nods slowly and lowers his voice.] Yes, that is my aim. And for that I will fight — with every weapon I can command.

HEDDA.

[Her smile vanishing.] I see you are a dangerous person — when it comes to the point.

BRACK.

Do you think so?

HEDDA.

I am beginning to think so. And I am exceedingly glad to think — that you have no sort of hold over me.

BRACK.

[Laughing equivocally.] Well well, Mrs. Hedda — perhaps you are right there. If I had, who knows what I might be capable of?

HEDDA.

Come come now, Judge Brack! That sounds almost like a threat.

BRACK.

[Rising.] Oh, not at all! The triangle, you know, ought, if possible, to be spontaneously constructed.

HEDDA.

There I agree with you.

BRACK.

Well, now I have said all I had to say; and I had better be getting back to town. Good-bye, Mrs. Hedda. [He goes towards the glass door.

HEDDA.

[Rising.] Are you going through the garden?

BRACK.

Yes, it's a short cut for me.

HEDDA.

And then it is a back way, too.

BRACK.

Quite so. I have no objection to back ways. They may be piquant enough at times.

HEDDA.

When there is ball practice going on, you mean?

BRACK.

[In the doorway, laughing to her.] Oh, people don't shoot their tame poultry, I fancy.

HEDDA.

[Also laughing.] Oh no, when there is only one cock in the basket — - [They exchange laughing nods of farewell. He goes. She closes the door behind him. [HEDDA, who has become quite serious, stands for a moment looking out. Presently she goes and peeps through the curtain over the middle doorway. Then she goes to the writing-table, takes LOVBORG'S packet out of the bookcase, and is on the point of looking through its contents. BERTA is heard speaking loudly in the hall. HEDDA turns and listens. Then she hastily locks up the packet in the drawer, and lays the key on the inkstand.

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