Mrs. Elvsted shows up at the Tesmans’ house in distress. She’s worried that Eilert will get into trouble now that he’s back in the city.
Through her conversation with both George and Hedda and later Hedda alone, we get much of her back-story: she came as a governess to the Elvsted household and then married the Sheriff when his first wife died. He’s older than she is, and they don’t get along.
Eilert is supposed to be her stepchildren’s tutor, but she and he have gotten close. She’s followed him to the city and doesn’t intend to ever return to her husband.
She leaves after begging the Tesmans to keep Eilert out of trouble.
Mrs. Elvsted comes back that night and joins Hedda and Eilert in the drawing room. She and Eilert talk about the book they wrote together and their beautiful budding "companionship."
Then Hedda reveals to Eilert that Thea was there earlier that day, concerned for him. This upsets Thea and drives Eilert back to the bottle.
Once the men are gone, Hedda practically forces Mrs. Elvsted to stay and have dinner with her. Mrs. Elvsted professes her fear of Hedda.
That night, Hedda falls asleep while Thea stays up worrying because Eilert hasn’t come back as promised. Once day breaks, she goes to lie down in Hedda’s bedroom.
She comes rushing back out when Eilert arrives. She is shocked when he claims to have destroyed their manuscript, which she thinks of as their child.
When Eilert tells Mrs. Elvsted he wants nothing to do with her anymore, she declares there is nothing left for her and leaves.
The next day Mrs. Elvsted shows up, again at the Tesmans' drawing room, again very distraught. She’s heard something about Eilert in the hospital and she’s worried.
When the Judge explains that he killed himself, Thea argues that he must have been in a state of despair or delusion.
She busts out the notes she has from Eilert’s second book, and she and George set to re-writing the yet unpublished work.