Hedda Gabler By Henrik Ibsen Act III

TESMAN.

Have you been anxious about me? Eh?

HEDDA.

No, I should never think of being anxious. But I asked if you had enjoyed yourself.

TESMAN.

Oh yes, — for once in a way. Especially the beginning of the evening; for then Eilert read me part of his book. We arrived more than an hour too early — fancy that! And Brack had all sorts of arrangements to make — so Eilert read to me.

HEDDA.

[Seating herself by the table on the right.] Well? Tell me then — -

TESMAN.

[Sitting on a footstool near the stove.] Oh, Hedda, you can't conceive what a book that is going to be! I believe it is one of the most remarkable things that have ever been written. Fancy that!

HEDDA. ** Yes yes; I don't care about that — -

TESMAN.

I must make a confession to you, Hedda. When he had finished reading — a horrid feeling came over me.

HEDDA.

A horrid feeling?

TESMAN.

I felt jealous of Eilert for having had it in him to write such a book. Only think, Hedda!

HEDDA.

Yes, yes, I am thinking!

TESMAN.

And then how pitiful to think that he — with all his gifts — should be irreclaimable, after all.

HEDDA.

I suppose you mean that he has more courage than the rest?

TESMAN.

No, not at all — I mean that he is incapable of taking his pleasure in moderation.

HEDDA.

And what came of it all — in the end?

TESMAN.

Well, to tell the truth, I think it might best be described as an orgie, Hedda.

HEDDA.

Had he vine-leaves in his hair?

TESMAN.

Vine-leaves? No, I saw nothing of the sort. But he made a long, rambling speech in honour of the woman who had inspired him in his work — that was the phrase he used.

HEDDA.

Did he name her?

TESMAN.

No, he didn't; but I can't help thinking he meant Mrs. Elvsted. You may be sure he did.

HEDDA.

Well — where did you part from him?

TESMAN.

On the way to town. We broke up — the last of us at any rate — all together; and Brack came with us to get a breath of fresh air. And then, you see, we agreed to take Eilert home; for he had had far more than was good for him.

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