MRS. ELVSTED. Oh, God!--if he would only come as you see him now!
HEDDA. He will come as I see him--so, and not otherwise! [Rises and approaches THEA.] You may doubt him as long as you please; I believe in him. And now we will try-----
MRS. ELVSTED. You have some hidden motive in this, Hedda!
HEDDA. Yes, I have. I want for once in my life to have power to mould a human destiny.
MRS. ELVSTED. Have you not the power?
HEDDA. I have not--and have never had it.
MRS. ELVSTED. Not your husband's?
HEDDA. Do you think that is worth the trouble? Oh, if you could only understand how poor I am. And fate has made you so rich! [Clasps her passionately in her arms.] I think I must burn your hair off, after all.
MRS. ELVSTED. Let me go! Let me go! I am afraid of you, Hedda!
BERTA [in the middle doorway]. Tea is laid in the dining-room, ma'am.
HEDDA. Very well. We are coming.
MRS. ELVSTED. No, no, no! I would rather go home alone! At once!
HEDDA. Nonsense! First you shall have a cup of tea, you little stupid. And then--at ten o'clock--Eilert Lövborg will be here--with vine-leaves in his hair.
[She drags MRS. ELVSTEDalmost by force towards the middle doorway.]
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 footrest, sits close to the stove, sunk back in the armchair. 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!
[ BERTAslips 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.