Hedda Gabler Act Third
by Henrik Ibsen

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Act Third

The room at the TESMANS'. The curtains are drawn over the middle doorway, and also over the glass door. The lamp, half turned down, and with a shade over it, is burning on the table. In the stove, the door of which stands open, there has been a fire, which is now nearly burnt out.

MRS. ELVSTED, wrapped in a large shawl, and with her feet upon a foot-rest, sits close to the stove, sunk back in the arm-chair. HEDDA, fully dressed, lies sleeping upon the sofa, with a sofa-blanket over her.

MRS. ELVSTED.

[After a pause, suddenly sits up in her chair, and listens eagerly. Then she sinks back again wearily, moaning to herself.] Not yet!-- Oh God--oh God--not yet!

BERTA slips cautiously in by the hall door. She has a letter in her hand.

MRS. ELVSTED.

[Turns and whispers eagerly.] Well--has any one come?

BERTA.

[Softly.] Yes, a girl has just brought this letter.

MRS. ELVSTED.

[Quickly, holding out her hand.] A letter! Give it to me!

BERTA.

No, it's for Dr. Tesman, ma'am.

MRS. ELVSTED.

Oh, indeed.

BERTA.

It was Miss Tesman's servant that brought it. I'll lay it here on the table.

MRS. ELVSTED.

Yes, do.

BERTA.

[Laying down the letter.] I think I had better put out the lamp. It's smoking.

MRS. ELVSTED.

Yes, put it out. It must soon be daylight now.

BERTA.

[Putting out the lamp.] It is daylight already, ma'am.

MRS. ELVSTED.

Yes, broad day! And no one come back yet---!

BERTA.

Lord bless you, ma'am--I guessed how it would be.

MRS. ELVSTED.

You guessed?

BERTA.

Yes, when I saw that a certain person had come back to town--and that he went off with them. For we've heard enough about that gentleman before now.

MRS. ELVSTED.

Don't speak so loud. You will waken Mrs. Tesman.

BERTA.

[Looks towards the sofa and sighs.] No, no--let her sleep, poor thing. Shan't I put some wood on the fire?

MRS. ELVSTED.

Thanks, not for me.

BERTA.

Oh, very well. [She goes softly out by the hall door.

HEDDA.

[Is wakened by the shutting of the door, and looks up.] What's that---?

MRS. ELVSTED.

It was only the servant.

HEDDA.

[Looking about her.] Oh, we're here---! Yes, now I remember. [Sits erect upon the sofa, stretches herself, and rubs her eyes.] What o'clock is it, Thea?

MRS. ELVSTED.

[Looks at her watch.] It's past seven.

HEDDA.

When did Tesman come home?

MRS. ELVSTED.

He has not come.

HEDDA.

Not come home yet?

MRS. ELVSTED.

[Rising.] No one has come.

HEDDA.

Think of our watching and waiting here till four in the morning---

MRS. ELVSTED.

[Wringing her hands.] And how I watched and waited for him!

HEDDA.

[Yawns, and says with her hand before her mouth.] Well well--we might have spared ourselves the trouble.

MRS. ELVSTED.

Did you get a little sleep?

HEDDA.

Oh yes; I believe I have slept pretty well. Have you not?

MRS. ELVSTED.

Not for a moment. I couldn't, Hedda!--not to save my life.

HEDDA.

[Rises and goes towards her.] There there there! There's nothing to be so alarmed about. I understand quite well what has happened.

MRS. ELVSTED.

Well, what do you think? Won't you tell me?

HEDDA.

Why, of course it has been a very late affair at Judge Brack's---

MRS. ELVSTED.

Yes, yes--that is clear enough. But all the same---

HEDDA.

And then, you see, Tesman hasn't cared to come home and ring us up in the middle of the night. [Laughing.] Perhaps he wasn't inclined to show himself either--immediately after a jollification.

MRS. ELVSTED.

But in that case--where can he have gone?

HEDDA.

Of course he has gone to his Aunts' and slept there. They have his old room ready for him.

MRS. ELVSTED.

No, he can't be with them for a letter has just come for him from Miss Tesman. There it lies.

HEDDA.

Indeed? [Looks at the address.] Why yes, it's addressed in Aunt Julia's hand. Well then, he has remained at Judge Brack's. And as for Eilert Lovborg--he is sitting, with vine leaves in his hair, reading his manuscript.

MRS. ELVSTED.

Oh, Hedda, you are just saying things you don't believe a bit.

HEDDA.

You really are a little blockhead, Thea.

MRS. ELVSTED.

Oh yes, I suppose I am.

HEDDA.

And how mortally tired you look.

MRS. ELVSTED.

Yes, I am mortally tired.

HEDDA.

Well then, you must do as I...

(The entire section is 5,157 words.)