Hedda Gabler By Henrik Ibsen Act IV

HEDDA.

[Returns his look.] Yes, perhaps. [She crosses to the writing-table. Suppressing an involuntary smile, she imitates TESMAN'S intonations.] Well? Are you getting on, George? Eh?

TESMAN.

Heaven knows, dear. In any case it will be the work of months.

HEDDA.

[As before.] Fancy that! [Passes her hands softly through Mrs. Elvsted's hair.] Doesn't it seem strange to you, Thea? Here are you sitting with Tesman — just as you used to sit with Eilert Lovborg?

MRS. ELVSTED.

Ah, if I could only inspire your husband in the same way!

HEDDA.

Oh, that will come too — in time.

TESMAN.

Yes, do you know, Hedda — I really think I begin to feel something of the sort. But won't you go and sit with Brack again?

HEDDA.

Is there nothing I can do to help you two?

TESMAN.

No, nothing in the world. [Turning his head.] I trust to you to keep Hedda company, my dear Brack.

BRACK.

[With a glance at HEDDA.] With the very greatest of pleasure.

HEDDA.

Thanks. But I am tired this evening. I will go in and lie down a little on the sofa.

TESMAN.

Yes, do dear — eh? [HEDDA goes into the back room and draws the curtains. A short pause. Suddenly she is heard playing a wild dance on the piano.

MRS. ELVSTED.

[Starts from her chair.] Oh — what is that?

TESMAN.

[Runs to the doorway.] Why, my dearest Hedda — don't play dance-music to-night! Just think of Aunt Rina! And of Eilert too!

HEDDA.

[Puts her head out between the curtains.] And of Aunt Julia. And of all the rest of them. — After this, I will be quiet. [Closes the curtains again.]

TESMAN.

[At the writing-table.] It's not good for her to see us at this distressing work. I'll tell you what, Mrs. Elvsted, — you shall take the empty room at Aunt Julia's, and then I will come over in the evenings, and we can sit and work there — eh?

HEDDA.

[In the inner room.] I hear what you are saying, Tesman. But how am I to get through the evenings out here?

TESMAN.

[Turning over the papers.] Oh, I daresay Judge Brack will be so kind as to look in now and then, even though I am out.

BRACK.

[In the arm-chair, calls out gaily.] Every blessed evening, with all the pleasure in life, Mrs. Tesman! We shall get on capitally together, we two!

HEDDA.

[Speaking loud and clear.] Yes, don't you flatter yourself we will, Judge Brack? Now that you are the one cock in the basket — - [A shot is heard within. TESMAN, MRS. ELVSTED, and BRACK leap to their feet.

TESMAN.

Oh, now she is playing with those pistols again. [He throws back the curtains and runs in, followed by MRS. ELVSTED. HEDDA lies stretched on the sofa, lifeless. Confusion and cries. BERTA enters in alarm from the right.

TESMAN.

[Shrieks to BRACK.] Shot herself! Shot herself in the temple! Fancy that!

BRACK.

[Half-fainting in the arm-chair.] Good God! — people don't do such things.

THE END

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