Hedda Gabler By Henrik Ibsen Act IV

TESMAN.

Well then, come here. I can't rest until we have looked through the notes. Where shall we sit? Here? No, in there, in the back room. Excuse me, my dear Judge. Come with me, Mrs. Elvsted.

MRS. ELVSTED.

Oh, if only it were possible! [TESMAN and MRS. ELVSTED go into the back room. She takes off her hat and cloak. They both sit at the table under the hanging lamp, and are soon deep in an eager examination of the papers. HEDDA crosses to the stove and sits in the arm- chair. Presently BRACK goes up to her.

HEDDA.

[In a low voice.] Oh, what a sense of freedom it gives one, this act of Eilert Lovborg's.

BRACK.

Freedom, Mrs. Hedda? Well, of course, it is a release for him — -

HEDDA.

I mean for me. It gives me a sense of freedom to know that a deed of deliberate courage is still possible in this world, — a deed of spontaneous beauty.

BRACK.

[Smiling.] H'm — my dear Mrs. Hedda — -

HEDDA.

Oh, I know what you are going to say. For you are a kind of specialist too, like — you know!

BRACK.

[Looking hard at her.] Eilert Lovborg was more to you than perhaps you are willing to admit to yourself. Am I wrong?

HEDDA.

I don't answer such questions. I only know that Eilert Lovborg has had the courage to live his life after his own fashion. And then — the last great act, with its beauty! Ah! that he should have the will and the strength to turn away from the banquet of life — so early.

BRACK.

I am sorry, Mrs. Hedda, — but I fear I must dispel an amiable illusion.

HEDDA.

Illusion?

BRACK.

Which could not have lasted long in any case.

HEDDA.

What do you mean?

BRACK.

Eilert Lovborg did not shoot himself — voluntarily.

HEDDA.

Not voluntarily?

BRACK.

No. The thing did not happen exactly as I told it.

HEDDA.

[In suspense.] Have you concealed something? What is it?

BRACK.

For poor Mrs. Elvsted's sake I idealised the facts a little.

HEDDA.

What are the facts?

BRACK.

First, that he is already dead.

HEDDA.

At the hospital?

BRACK.

Yes — without regaining consciousness.

HEDDA.

What more have you concealed?

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