Hedda Gabler By Henrik Ibsen Act III

HEDDA.

[Holds out her hand for the packet.] No — don't give it to him! Not in such a hurry, I mean. Let me read it first.

TESMAN.

No, my dearest Hedda, I mustn't, I really mustn't.

HEDDA.

You must not?

TESMAN.

No — for you can imagine what a state of despair he will be in when he wakens and misses the manuscript. He has no copy of it, you must know! He told me so.

HEDDA.

[Looking searchingly at him.] Can such a thing not be reproduced? Written over again?

TESMAN.

No, I don't think that would be possible. For the inspiration, you see — -

HEDDA.

Yes, yes — I suppose it depends on that — -[Lightly.] But, by-the-bye — here is a letter for you.

TESMAN.

Fancy — -!

HEDDA.

[Handing it to him.] It came early this morning.

TESMAN.

It's from Aunt Julia! What can it be? [He lays the packet on the other footstool, opens the letter, runs his eye through it, and jumps up.] Oh, Hedda — she says that poor Aunt Rina is dying!

HEDDA.

Well, we were prepared for that.

TESMAN.

And that if I want to see her again, I must make haste. I'll run in to them at once.

HEDDA.

[Suppressing a smile.] Will you run?

TESMAN.

Oh, my dearest Hedda — if you could only make up your mind to come with me! Just think!

HEDDA.

[Rises and says wearily, repelling the idea.] No, no don't ask me. I will not look upon sickness and death. I loathe all sorts of ugliness.

TESMAN.

Well, well, then — -! [Bustling around.] My hat — -? My overcoat — -? Oh, in the hall — -. I do hope I mayn't come too late, Hedda! Eh?

HEDDA.

Oh, if you run — - [BERTA appears at the hall door.

BERTA.

Judge Brack is at the door, and wishes to know if he may come in.

TESMAN.

At this time! No, I can't possibly see him.

HEDDA.

But I can. [To BERTA.] Ask Judge Brack to come in. [BERTA goes out.

HEDDA.

[Quickly, whispering.] The parcel, Tesman! [She snatches it up from the stool.

TESMAN.

Yes, give it to me!

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