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It is early the next morning and Lövborg has not yet returned to escort Mrs. Elvsted home. Berte comes in with a letter she has just received for the Doctor. Hedda has managed to sleep soundly but Mrs. Elvsted could not sleep at all so Hedda persuades her to sleep in her room. When Tesman returns, he tells Hedda what a wonderful book Lövborg has written. Considering this, it is a pity that he is "incapable of taking his pleasures in moderation." He describes Lövborg's activities of the previous night. He gave a long speech in honor of the woman who inspired his work without naming her in his inebriated condition. Tesman thinks this woman to be Mrs. Elvsted. When they were taking Lövborg home, Tesman saw his manuscript on the ground and picked it up. At the time he did not return it to Lövborg or tell anyone about it as he thought that Lövborg might destroy it. Now he wants to return it immediately but Hedda prevents him from doing so. She convinces him that she wants to read it and takes it from him. Just then Tesman reads Aunt Julia's letter informing him that Aunt Rina is close to death and leaves for her bedside.
After Tesman's hurried departure, Brack pays Hedda a visit. He recounts Lövborg's disreputable adventures of the previous night. After the bachelor party, Lövborg went to Mademoiselle Diana's soiree and accused her and her friends of robbing his manuscript. There was a free for all and the police were called and Lövborg was marched to the police station. Hedda comments, "Then he had no vine leaves in his hair." Brack does not want Hedda to encourage Lövborg to meet Mrs. Elvsted in her house because he would be unwelcome if he were to force his way into the triangle." He will fight with every weapon he has to be Hedda's only admirer, to be, as Hedda puts it, "the one cock in the basket."