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Another visitor comes to the Tesman house. It is Judge Brack, a family friend who has managed Tesman's financial affairs so that he could go on such an extended honeymoon and also buy the house he and Hedda had their heart set on. He is a good-looking man approaching middle age who is very smooth and charming. He arrives just as Mrs. Elvsted is leaving and Hedda sees her to the door. In the meanwhile, he tells Tesman to economize because he cannot take his appointment as professor for granted as he has a competitor for the job, Eilert Lövborg. Tesman is shocked for he and Hedda have married on the strength of being assumed of his professorship. Hedda however expresses nonchalance and sees it in terms of a sporting match. George apologizes for disappointing her. They can now have no footman or servants in livery or a saddle horse. After Brack leaves, Hedda comments that she will have more time now to spend with her father's pistols. George is alarmed by her words as she adds, "General Gabler's pistols."
As is usual with Ibsen, detailed instructions are given regarding the stage setting. The curtain opens on a "spacious handsome and tastefully furnished drawing room decorated in dark colors" in the Tesman's house. The emphasis is on the dark colors and the numerous pieces of furniture. The dark colors create an atmosphere, which is heavy and oppressive, and the abundance of furniture contributes to restricting the freedom of movement in these rooms. In fact, the entire action of the play will take place here. In the inner-room a lot of action in the background will take place though the main action takes place in the drawing room. The piano is important as it represents the fact that Hedda is lavish in her spending much beyond Tesman's means. There is also a hanging lamp with an opal glass shade. Bright sunlight is streaming in which is significant because Hedda does not like bright sunlight.
In order to make Tesman and Hedda comfortable; Aunt Julia has sent her faithful maid Berte to them even though her sister Rina is an invalid and needs a lot of attention. Berte is unhappy with the change for she is fearful of her new mistress. Aunt Julia is more tolerant and conciliatory in her attitude. She makes excuses for "General Gabler's daughter," and is more ready to overlook Hedda's "grand ways" because she has been accustomed to living grandly. This difference in class is what separates Hedda from her husband and his family. Nothing is ever mentioned about what exactly happened to General Gabler or why Hedda is not more well off.
Aunt Julia is thrilled that her nephew has married such a beautiful and well-bred woman. She is very fond of Tesman for she and Rina have brought up their orphan-nephew and regard him as a son. George Tesman is a stout, young-looking man of thirty-three. He appears to be a benign, cheerful character although he is somewhat obtuse especially where it concerns Hedda's need and wants. Tesman is now Dr. Tesman. He is a pedant, who is wrapped upon his books. Even on his honeymoon he has continued to pursue his precious research. He is also going to write a book called The Domestic Industries of Brabant during the Middle Ages. Such research into a dead subject indicates that he is stuffy and unimaginative. It is also an ironic title as Tesman is quite unaware of the psychological and emotional needs of his wife and thinks she will be happy as long as she has the home she wants and the necessary material items to keep her placated.