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Hedda Gabbler


BERTA.
[Also softly.] I told you so, Miss. Remember how late the steamboat
got in last night. And then, when they got home!–good Lord, what a
lot the young mistress had to unpack before she could get to bed.
MISS TESMA N.
Well well–let them have their sleep out. But let us see that they
get a good breat h of the fresh morning air when they do appear.
[She goes to the glass door and throws it open.
BERTA.
[Beside the table, at a loss what to do with the bouquet in her hand.]
I declare there isn’t a bit of room left. I think I’ll put it down
here, Miss. [She places it on the piano.
MISS TESMA N.
So you’ve got a new mistress now, my dear Berta. Heaven knows it was
a wrench to me to part with you.
2
BERTA.
[On the point of weeping.] And do you think it wasn’t hard for me,
too, Miss? After all the blessed years I’ve been with you and Miss
Rina. (1)
MISS TESMA N.
We must make the best of it, Berta. There was nothing else to be
done. George can’t do without you, you see-he absolutely can’t.
He has had you to look after him ever since he was a little boy.
BERTA.
Ah but, Miss Julia, I can’t help thinking of Miss Rina lying helpless
at home there, poor thing. And with only that new girl too! She’ll
never learn to take proper care of an invalid.
MISS TESMA N.
Oh, I shall manage to train her. And of course, you know, I shall
take most of it upon myself. You needn’t be uneasy about my poor
sister, my dear Berta.
BERTA.
Well, but there’s another thing, Miss. I’m so mortally afraid I
shan’t be able to suit the young mistress.
MISS TESMA N.
Oh well–just at ?rst there may be one or two things—
BERTA.
Most like she’ll be terrible grand in her ways.
MISS TESMA N.
Well, you can’t wonder at that–General Gabler’s daughter! Think of
the sort of life she was accustomed to in her father’s time. Don’t
you remember how we used to see her riding down the road along with
the General? In that long black habit–and with feathers in her hat?
BERTA.
Yes, indeed–I remember well enough!–But, good Lord, I should never
have dreamt in thos e days that she and Master George would make a
match of it.
3
MISS TESMA N.
Nor I.–But by-the-bye, Berta–while I think of it: in future you
mustn’t say Master George. You must say Dr. Tesman.
BERTA.
Yes, the young mistress spoke of that too–last night–the moment
they set foot in the house. Is it true then, Miss?
MISS TESMA N.
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