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An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen

Part 3 out of 3

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Mrs. Stockmann. But think of the boys, Thomas!

Dr. Stockmann (standing still). What a strange woman you are,
Katherine! Would you prefer to have the boys grow up in a society
like this? You saw for yourself last night that half the
population are out of their minds; and if the other half have not
lost their senses, it is because they are mere brutes, with no
sense to lose.

Mrs. Stockmann. But, Thomas dear, the imprudent things you said
had something to do with it, you know.

Dr. Stockmann. Well, isn't what I said perfectly true? Don't they
turn every idea topsy-turvy? Don't they make a regular hotchpotch
of right and wrong? Don't they say that the things I know are
true, are lies? The craziest part of it all is the fact of these
"liberals," men of full age, going about in crowds imagining that
they are the broad-minded party! Did you ever hear anything like
it, Katherine!

Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, yes, it's mad enough of them, certainly;
but--(PETRA comes in from the silting-room). Back from school
already?

Petra. Yes. I have been given notice of dismissal.

Mrs. Stockmann. Dismissal?

Dr. Stockmann. You too?

Petra. Mrs. Busk gave me my notice; so I thought it was best to
go at once.

Dr. Stockmann. You were perfectly right, too!

Mrs. Stockmann. Who would have thought Mrs. Busk was a woman like
that!

Petra. Mrs. Busk isn't a bit like that, mother; I saw quite
plainly how it hurt her to do it. But she didn't dare do
otherwise, she said; and so I got my notice.

Dr. Stockmann (laughing and rubbing his hands). She didn't dare
do otherwise, either! It's delicious!

Mrs. Stockmann. Well, after the dreadful scenes last night--

Petra. It was not only that. Just listen to this, father!

Dr. Stockmann. Well?

Petra. Mrs. Busk showed me no less than three letters she
received this morning--

Dr. Stockmann. Anonymous, I suppose?

Petra. Yes.

Dr. Stockmann. Yes, because they didn't dare to risk signing
their names, Katherine!

Petra. And two of them were to the effect that a man, who has
been our guest here, was declaring last night at the Club that my
views on various subjects are extremely emancipated--

Dr. Stockmann. You did not deny that, I hope?

Petra. No, you know I wouldn't. Mrs. Busk's own views are
tolerably emancipated, when we are alone together; but now that
this report about me is being spread, she dare not keep me on any
longer.

Mrs. Stockmann. And someone who had been a guest of ours! That
shows you the return you get for your hospitality, Thomas!

Dr. Stockmann. We won't live in such a disgusting hole any
longer. Pack up as quickly as you can, Katherine; the sooner we
can get away, the better.

Mrs. Stockmann. Be quiet--I think I hear someone in the hall.
See who it is, Petra.

Petra (opening the door). Oh, it's you, Captain Horster! Do come
in.

Horster (coming in). Good morning. I thought I would just come in
and see how you were.

Dr. Stockmann (shaking his hand). Thanks--that is really kind of
you.

Mrs. Stockmann. And thank you, too, for helping us through the
crowd, Captain Horster.

Petra. How did you manage to get home again?

Horster. Oh, somehow or other. I am fairly strong, and there is
more sound than fury about these folk.

Dr. Stockmann. Yes, isn't their swinish cowardice astonishing?
Look here, I will show you something! There are all the stones
they have thrown through my windows. Just look at them! I'm
hanged if there are more than two decently large bits of
hard stone in the whole heap; the rest are nothing but gravel--
wretched little things. And yet they stood out there bawling and
swearing that they would do me some violence; but as for doing
anything--you don't see much of that in this town.

Horster. Just as well for you this time, doctor!

Dr. Stockmann. True enough. But it makes one angry all the same;
because if some day it should be a question of a national fight
in real earnest, you will see that public opinion will be in
favour of taking to one's heels, and the compact majority will
turn tail like a flock of sheep, Captain Horster. That is what is
so mournful to think of; it gives me so much concern, that--. No,
devil take it, it is ridiculous to care about it! They have
called me an enemy of the people, so an enemy of the people let
me be!

Mrs. Stockmann. You will never be that, Thomas.

Dr. Stockmann. Don't swear to that, Katherine. To be called an
ugly name may have the same effect as a pin-scratch in the lung.
And that hateful name--I can't get quit of it. It is sticking
here in the pit of my stomach, eating into me like a corrosive
acid. And no magnesia will remove it.

Petra. Bah!--you should only laugh at them, father,

Horster. They will change their minds some day, Doctor.

Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, Thomas, as sure as you are standing here.

Dr. Stockmann. Perhaps, when it is too late. Much good may it do
them! They may wallow in their filth then and rue the day when
they drove a patriot into exile. When do you sail, Captain
Horster?

Horster. Hm!--that was just what I had come to speak about--

Dr. Stockmann. Why, has anything gone wrong with the ship?

Horster. No; but what has happened is that I am not to sail in
it.

Petra. Do you mean that you have been dismissed from your
command?

Horster (smiling). Yes, that's just it.

Petra. You too.

Mrs. Stockmann. There, you see, Thomas!

Dr. Stockmann. And that for the truth's sake! Oh, if I had
thought such a thing possible--

Horster. You mustn't take it to heart; I shall be sure to find a
job with some ship-owner or other, elsewhere.

Dr. Stockmann. And that is this man Vik--a wealthy man,
independent of everyone and everything--! Shame on him!

Horster. He is quite an excellent fellow otherwise; he told me
himself he would willingly have kept me on, if only he had dared--

Dr. Stockmann. But he didn't dare? No, of course not.

Horster. It is not such an easy matter, he said, for a party man--

Dr. Stockmann. The worthy man spoke the truth. A party is like a
sausage machine; it mashes up all sorts of heads together into
the same mincemeat--fatheads and blockheads, all in one mash!

Mrs. Stockmann. Come, come, Thomas dear!

Petra (to HORSTER). If only you had not come home with us, things
might not have come to this pass.

Horster. I do not regret it.

Petra (holding out her hand to him). Thank you for that!

Horster (to DR. STOCKMANN). And so what I came to say was that if
you are determined to go away, I have thought of another plan--

Dr. Stockmann. That's splendid!--if only we can get away at once.

Mrs. Stockmann. Hush!--wasn't that some one knocking?

Petra. That is uncle, surely.

Dr. Stockmann. Aha! (Calls out.) Come in!

Mrs. Stockmann. Dear Thomas, promise me definitely--. (PETER
STOCKMANN comes in from the hall.)

Peter Stockmann. Oh, you are engaged. In that case, I will--

Dr. Stockmann. No, no, come in.

Peter Stockmann. But I wanted to speak to you alone.

Mrs. Stockmann. We will go into the sitting-room in the
meanwhile.

Horster. And I will look in again later.

Dr. Stockmann. No, go in there with them, Captain Horster; I want
to hear more about--.

Horster. Very well, I will wait, then. (He follows MRS. STOCKMANN
and PETRA into the sitting-room.)

Dr. Stockmann. I daresay you find it rather draughty here today.
Put your hat on.

Peter Stockmann. Thank you, if I may. (Does so.) I think I caught
cold last night; I stood and shivered--

Dr. Stockmann. Really? I found it warm enough.

Peter Stockmann. I regret that it was not in my power to prevent
those excesses last night.

Dr. Stockmann. Have you anything in particular to say to me
besides that?

Peter Stockmann (taking a big letter from his pocket). I have
this document for you, from the Baths Committee.

Dr. Stockmann. My dismissal?

Peter Stockmann. Yes, dating from today. (Lays the letter on the
table.) It gives us pain to do it; but, to speak frankly, we
dared not do otherwise on account of public opinion.

Dr. Stockmann (smiling). Dared not? I seem to have heard that
word before, today.

Peter Stockmann. I must beg you to understand your position
clearly. For the future you must not count on any practice
whatever in the town.

Dr. Stockmann. Devil take the practice! But why are you so sure
of that?

Peter Stockmann. The Householders' Association is circulating a
list from house to house. All right-minded citizens are being
called upon to give up employing you; and I can assure you that
not a single head of a family will risk refusing his signature.
They simply dare not.

Dr. Stockmann. No, no; I don't doubt it. But what then?

Peter Stockmann. If I might advise you, it would be best to leave
the place for a little while--

Dr. Stockmann. Yes, the propriety of leaving the place has
occurred to me.

Peter Stockmann. Good. And then, when you have had six months to
think things over, if, after mature consideration, you can
persuade yourself to write a few words of regret, acknowledging
your error--

Dr. Stockmann. I might have my appointment restored to me, do you
mean?

Peter Stockmann. Perhaps. It is not at all impossible.

Dr. Stockmann. But what about public opinion, then? Surely you
would not dare to do it on account of public feeling...

Peter Stockmann. Public opinion is an extremely mutable thing.
And, to be quite candid with you, it is a matter of great
importance to us to have some admission of that sort from you in
writing.

Dr. Stockmann. Oh, that's what you are after, is it! I will just
trouble you to remember what I said to you lately about foxy
tricks of that sort!

Peter Stockmann. Your position was quite different then. At that
time you had reason to suppose you had the whole town at your
back--

Dr. Stockmann. Yes, and now I feel I have the whole town ON my
back--(flaring up). I would not do it if I had the devil and his
dam on my back--! Never--never, I tell you!

Peter Stockmann. A man with a family has no right to behave as
you do. You have no right to do it, Thomas.

Dr. Stockmann. I have no right! There is only one single thing in
the world a free man has no right to do. Do you know what that
is?

Peter Stockmann. No.

Dr. Stockmann. Of course you don't, but I will tell you. A free
man has no right to soil himself with filth; he has no right to
behave in a way that would justify his spitting in his own face.

Peter Stockmann. This sort of thing sounds extremely plausible,
of course; and if there were no other explanation for your
obstinacy--. But as it happens that there is.

Dr. Stockmann. What do you mean?

Peter Stockmann. You understand, very well what I mean. But, as
your brother and as a man of discretion, I advise you not to
build too much upon expectations and prospects that may so very
easily fail you.

Dr. Stockmann. What in the world is all this about?

Peter Stockmann. Do you really ask me to believe that you are
ignorant of the terms of Mr. Kiil's will?

Dr. Stockmann. I know that the small amount he possesses is to go
to an institution for indigent old workpeople. How does that
concern me?

Peter Stockmann. In the first place, it is by no means a small
amount that is in question. Mr. Kiil is a fairly wealthy man.

Dr. Stockmann. I had no notion of that!

Peter Stockmann. Hm!--hadn't you really? Then I suppose you had
no notion, either, that a considerable portion of his wealth will
come to your children, you and your wife having a life-rent of
the capital. Has he never told you so?

Dr. Stockmann. Never, on my honour! Quite the reverse; he has
consistently done nothing but fume at being so unconscionably
heavily taxed. But are you perfectly certain of this, Peter?

Peter Stockmann. I have it from an absolutely reliable source.

Dr. Stockmann. Then, thank God, Katherine is provided for--and
the children too! I must tell her this at once--(calls out)
Katherine, Katherine!

Peter Stockmann (restraining him). Hush, don't say a word yet!

Mrs. Stockmann (opening the door). What is the matter?

Dr, Stockmann. Oh, nothing, nothing; you can go back. (She shuts
the door. DR. STOCKMANN walks up and down in his excitement.)
Provided for!--Just think of it, we are all provided for! And for
life! What a blessed feeling it is to know one is provided for!

Peter Stockmann. Yes, but that is just exactly what you are not.
Mr. Kiil can alter his will any day he likes.

Dr. Stockmann. But he won't do that, my dear Peter. The "Badger"
is much too delighted at my attack on you and your wise friends.

Peter Stockmann (starts and looks intently at him). Ali, that
throws a light on various things.

Dr. Stockmann. What things?

Peter Stockmann. I see that the whole thing was a combined
manoeuvre on your part and his. These violent, reckless attacks
that you have made against the leading men of the town, under the
pretence that it was in the name of truth--

Dr. Stockmann. What about them?

Peter Stockmann. I see that they were nothing else than the
stipulated price for that vindictive old man's will.

Dr. Stockmann (almost speechless). Peter--you are the most
disgusting plebeian I have ever met in all my life.

Peter Stockmann. All is over between us. Your dismissal is
irrevocable--we have a weapon against you now. (Goes out.)

Dr. Stockmann. For shame! For shame! (Calls out.) Katherine, you
must have the floor scrubbed after him! Let--what's her name--
devil take it, the girl who has always got soot on her nose--

Mrs. Stockmann. (in the sitting-room). Hush, Thomas, be quiet!

Petra (coming to the door). Father, grandfather is here, asking
if he may speak to you alone.

Dr. Stockmann. Certainly he may. (Going to the door.) Come in,
Mr. Kiil. (MORTEN KIIL comes in. DR. STOCKMANN shuts the door
after him.) What can I do for you? Won't you sit down?

Morten Kiil. I won't sit. (Looks around.) You look very
comfortable here today, Thomas.

Dr. Stockmann. Yes, don't we!

Morten Kiil. Very comfortable--plenty of fresh air. I should
think you have got enough to-day of that oxygen you were talking
about yesterday. Your conscience must be in splendid order to-
day, I should think.

Dr. Stockmann. It is.

Morten Kiil. So I should think. (Taps his chest.) Do you know
what I have got here?

Dr. Stockmann. A good conscience, too, I hope.

Morten Kiil. Bah!--No, it is something better than that. (He
takes a thick pocket-book from his breast-pocket, opens it, and
displays a packet of papers.)

Dr. Stockmann (looking at him in astonishment). Shares in the
Baths?

Morten Kiil. They were not difficult to get today.

Dr. Stockmann. And you have been buying--?

Morten Kiil. As many as I could pay for.

Dr. Stockmann. But, my dear Mr. Kiil--consider the state of the
Baths' affairs!

Morten Kiil. If you behave like a reasonable man, you can soon
set the Baths on their feet again.

Dr. Stockmann. Well, you can see for yourself that I have done
all I can, but--. They are all mad in this town!

Morten Kiil. You said yesterday that the worst of this pollution
came from my tannery. If that is true, then my grandfather and my
father before me, and I myself, for many years past, have been
poisoning the town like three destroying angels. Do you think I
am going to sit quiet under that reproach?

Dr. Stockmann. Unfortunately I am afraid you will have to.

Morten Kiil. No, thank you. I am jealous of my name and
reputation. They call me "the Badger," I am told. A badger is a
kind of pig, I believe; but I am not going to give them the right
to call me that. I mean to live and die a clean man.

Dr. Stockmann. And how are you going to set about it?

Morten Kiil. You shall cleanse me, Thomas.

Dr. Stockmann. I!

Morten Kiil. Do you know what money I have bought these shares
with? No, of course you can't know--but I will tell you. It is
the money that Katherine and Petra and the boys will have when I
am gone. Because I have been able to save a little bit after all,
you know.

Dr, Stockmann (flaring up). And you have gone and taken
Katherine's money for this!

Morten Kiil. Yes, the whole of the money is invested in the Baths
now. And now I just want to see whether you are quite stark,
staring mad, Thomas! If you still make out that these animals and
other nasty things of that sort come from my tannery, it will be
exactly as if you were to flay broad strips of skin from
Katherine's body, and Petra's, and the boys'; and no decent man
would do that--unless he were mad.

Dr. Stockmann (walking up and down). Yes, but I am mad; I am mad!

Morten Kiil. You cannot be so absurdly mad as all that, when it
is a question of your wife and children.

Dr. Stockmann (standing still in front of him). Why couldn't you
consult me about it, before you went and bought all that trash?

Morten Kiil. What is done cannot be undone.

Dr. Stockmann (walks about uneasily). If only I were not so
certain about it--! But I am absolutely convinced that I am
right.

Morten Kiil (weighing the pocket-book in his hand). If you stick
to your mad idea, this won't be worth much, you know. (Puts the
pocket-book in his pocket.)

Dr. Stockmann. But, hang it all! It might be possible for science
to discover some prophylactic, I should think--or some antidote
of some kind--

Morten Kiil. To kill these animals, do you mean?

Dr. Stockmann. Yes, or to make them innocuous.

Morten Kiil. Couldn't you try some rat's-bane?

Dr. Stockmann. Don't talk nonsense! They all say it is only
imagination, you know. Well, let it go at that! Let them have
their own way about it! Haven't the ignorant, narrow-minded curs
reviled me as an enemy of the people?--and haven't they been
ready to tear the clothes off my back too?

Morten Kiil. And broken all your windows to pieces!

Dr. Stockmann. And then there is my duty to my family. I must
talk it over with Katherine; she is great on those things,

Morten Kiil. That is right; be guided by a reasonable woman's
advice.

Dr. Stockmann (advancing towards him). To think you could do such
a preposterous thing! Risking Katherine's money in this way, and
putting me in such a horribly painful dilemma! When I look at
you, I think I see the devil himself--.

Morten Kiil. Then I had better go. But I must have an answer from
you before two o'clock--yes or no. If it is no, the shares go to
a charity, and that this very day.

Dr. Stockmann. And what does Katherine get?

Morten Kiil. Not a halfpenny. (The door leading to the hall
opens, and HOVSTAD and ASLAKSEN make their appearance.) Look at
those two!

Dr. Stockmann (staring at them). What the devil!--have YOU
actually the face to come into my house?

Hovstad. Certainly.

Aslaksen. We have something to say to you, you see.

Morten Kiil (in a whisper). Yes or no--before two o'clock.

Aslaksen (glancing at HOVSTAD). Aha! (MORTEN KIIL goes out.)

Dr. Stockmann. Well, what do you want with me? Be brief.

Hovstad. I can quite understand that you are annoyed with us for
our attitude at the meeting yesterday.

Dr. Stockmann. Attitude, do you call it? Yes, it was a charming
attitude! I call it weak, womanish--damnably shameful!

Hovstad. Call it what you like, we could not do otherwise.

Dr. Stockmann. You DARED not do otherwise--isn't that it?

Hovstad. Well, if you like to put it that way.

Aslaksen. But why did you not let us have word of it beforehand?
--just a hint to Mr. Hovstad or to me?

Dr. Stockmann. A hint? Of what?

Aslaksen. Of what was behind it all.

Dr. Stockmann. I don't understand you in the least--

Aslaksen (with a confidential nod). Oh yes, you do, Dr.
Stockmann.

Hovstad. It is no good making a mystery of it any longer.

Dr. Stockmann (looking first at one of them and then at the
other). What the devil do you both mean?

Aslaksen. May I ask if your father-in-law is not going round the
town buying up all the shares in the Baths?

Dr. Stockmann. Yes, he has been buying Baths shares today; but--

Aslaksen. It would have been more prudent to get someone else to
do it--someone less nearly related to you.

Hovstad. And you should not have let your name appear in the
affair. There was no need for anyone to know that the attack on
the Baths came from you. You ought to have consulted me, Dr.
Stockmann.

Dr. Stockmann (looks in front of him; then a light seems to dawn
on him and he says in amazement.) Are such things conceivable?
Are such things possible?

Aslaksen (with a smile). Evidently they are. But it is better to
use a little finesse, you know.

Hovstad. And it is much better to have several persons in a thing
of that sort; because the responsibility of each individual is
lessened, when there are others with him.

Dr. Stockmann (composedly). Come to the point, gentlemen. What do
you want?

Aslaksen. Perhaps Mr. Hovstad had better--

Hovstad. No, you tell him, Aslaksen.

Aslaksen. Well, the fact is that, now we know the bearings of the
whole affair, we think we might venture to put the "People's
Messenger" at your disposal.

Dr. Stockmann. Do you dare do that now? What about public
opinion? Are you not afraid of a storm breaking upon our heads?

Hovstad. We will try to weather it.

Aslaksen. And you must be ready to go off quickly on a new tack,
Doctor. As soon as your invective has done its work--

Dr. Stockmann. Do you mean, as soon as my father-in-law and I
have got hold of the shares at a low figure?

Hovstad. Your reasons for wishing to get the control of the Baths
are mainly scientific, I take it.

Dr. Stockmann. Of course; it was for scientific reasons that I
persuaded the old "Badger" to stand in with me in the matter. So
we will tinker at the conduit-pipes a little, and dig up a little
bit of the shore, and it shan't cost the town a sixpence. That
will be all right--eh?

Hovstad. I think so--if you have the "People's Messenger" behind
you.

Aslaksen. The Press is a power in a free community. Doctor.

Dr. Stockmann. Quite so. And so is public opinion. And you, Mr.
Aslaksen--I suppose you will be answerable for the Householders'
Association?

Aslaksen. Yes, and for the Temperance Society. You may rely on
that.

Dr. Stockmann. But, gentlemen--I really am ashamed to ask the
question--but, what return do you--?

Hovstad. We should prefer to help you without any return
whatever, believe me. But the "People's Messenger" is in rather a
shaky condition; it doesn't go really well; and I should be very
unwilling to suspend the paper now, when there is so much work to
do here in the political way.

Dr. Stockmann. Quite so; that would be a great trial to such a
friend of the people as you are. (Flares up.) But I am an enemy
of the people, remember! (Walks about the room.) Where have I put
my stick? Where the devil is my stick?

Hovstad. What's that?

Aslaksen. Surely you never mean--

Dr. Stockmann (standing still.) And suppose I don't give you a
single penny of all I get out of it? Money is not very easy to
get out of us rich folk, please to remember!

Hovstad. And you please to remember that this affair of the
shares can be represented in two ways!

Dr. Stockmann. Yes, and you are just the man to do it. If I don't
come to the rescue of the "People's Messenger," you will
certainly take an evil view of the affair; you will hunt me down,
I can well imagine--pursue me--try to throttle me as a dog does a
hare.

Hovstad. It is a natural law; every animal must fight for its own
livelihood.

Aslaksen. And get its food where it can, you know.

Dr. Stockmann (walking about the room). Then you go and look for
yours in the gutter; because I am going to show you which is the
strongest animal of us three! (Finds an umbrella and brandishes
it above his head.) Ah, now--!

Hovstad. You are surely not going to use violence!

Aslaksen. Take care what you are doing with that umbrella.

Dr. Stockmann. Out of the window with you, Mr. Hovstad!

Hovstad (edging to the door). Are you quite mad!

Dr. Stockmann. Out of the window, Mr. Aslaksen! Jump, I tell you!
You will have to do it, sooner or later.

Aslaksen (running round the writing-table). Moderation, Doctor--I
am a delicate man--I can stand so little--(calls out) help, help!

(MRS. STOCKMANN, PETRA and HORSTER come in from the sitting-
room.)

Mrs. Stockmann. Good gracious, Thomas! What is happening?

Dr. Stockmann (brandishing the umbrella). Jump out, I tell you!
Out into the gutter!

Hovstad. An assault on an unoffending man! I call you to witness,
Captain Horster. (Hurries out through the hall.)

Aslaksen (irresolutely). If only I knew the way about here--.
(Steals out through the sitting-room.)

Mrs. Stockmann (holding her husband back). Control yourself,
Thomas!

Dr. Stockmann (throwing down the umbrella). Upon my soul, they
have escaped after all.

Mrs. Stockmann. What did they want you to do?

Dr. Stockmann. I will tell you later on; I have something else to
think about now. (Goes to the table and writes something on a
calling-card.) Look there, Katherine; what is written there?

Mrs. Stockmann. Three big Noes; what does that mean.

Dr. Stockmann. I will tell you that too, later on. (Holds out the
card to PETRA.) There, Petra; tell sooty-face to run over to the
"Badger's" with that, as quick as she can. Hurry up! (PETRA takes
the card and goes out to the hall.)

Dr. Stockmann. Well, I think I have had a visit from every one of
the devil's messengers to-day! But now I am going to sharpen my
pen till they can feel its point; I shall dip it in venom and
gall; I shall hurl my inkpot at their heads!

Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, but we are going away, you know, Thomas.

(PETRA comes back.)

Dr. Stockmann. Well?

Petra. She has gone with it.

Dr. Stockmann. Good.--Going away, did you say? No, I'll be hanged
if we are going away! We are going to stay where we are,
Katherine!

Petra. Stay here?

Mrs. Stockmann. Here, in the town?

Dr. Stockmann. Yes, here. This is the field of battle--this is
where the fight will be. This is where I shall triumph! As soon
as I have had my trousers sewn up I shall go out and look for
another house. We must have a roof over our heads for the winter.

Horster. That you shall have in my house.

Dr. Stockmann. Can I?

Horsier. Yes, quite well. I have plenty of room, and I am almost
never at home.

Mrs. Stockmann. How good of you, Captain Horster!

Petra. Thank you!

Dr. Stockmann (grasping his hand). Thank you, thank you! That is
one trouble over! Now I can set to work in earnest at once. There
is an endless amount of things to look through here, Katherine!
Luckily I shall have all my time at my disposal; because I have
been dismissed from the Baths, you know.

Mrs. Stockmann (with a sigh). Oh yes, I expected that.

Dr. Stockmann. And they want to take my practice away from me
too. Let them! I have got the poor people to fall back upon,
anyway--those that don't pay anything; and, after all, they need
me most, too. But, by Jove, they will have to listen to me; I
shall preach to them in season and out of season, as it says
somewhere.

Mrs. Stockmann. But, dear Thomas, I should have thought events
had showed you what use it is to preach.

Dr. Stockmann. You are really ridiculous, Katherine. Do you want
me to let myself be beaten off the field by public opinion and
the compact majority and all that devilry? No, thank you! And
what I want to do is so simple and clear and straightforward. I
only want to drum into the heads of these curs the fact that the
liberals are the most insidious enemies of freedom--that party
programmes strangle every young and vigorous truth--that
considerations of expediency turn morality and justice upside
down--and that they will end by making life here unbearable.
Don't you think, Captain Horster, that I ought to be able to make
people understand that?

Horster. Very likely; I don't know much about such things myself.

Dr. Stockmann. Well, look here--I will explain! It is the party
leaders that must be exterminated. A party leader is like a wolf,
you see--like a voracious wolf. He requires a certain number of
smaller victims to prey upon every year, if he is to live. Just
look at Hovstad and Aslaksen! How many smaller victims have they
not put an end to--or at any rate maimed and mangled until they
are fit for nothing except to be householders or subscribers to
the "People's Messenger"! (Sits down on the edge of the table.)
Come here, Katherine--look how beautifully the sun shines to-day!
And this lovely spring air I am drinking in!

Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, if only we could live on sunshine and spring
air, Thomas.

Dr. Stockmann. Oh, you will have to pinch and save a bit--then we
shall get along. That gives me very little concern. What is much
worse is, that I know of no one who is liberal-minded and high-
minded enough to venture to take up my work after me.

Petra. Don't think about that, father; you have plenty of time
before you.--Hello, here are the boys already!

(EJLIF and MORTEN come in from the sitting-room.)

Mrs. Stockmann. Have you got a holiday?

Morten. No; but we were fighting with the other boys between
lessons--

Ejlif. That isn't true; it was the other boys were fighting with
us.

Morten. Well, and then Mr. Rorlund said we had better stay at
home for a day or two.

Dr. Stockmann (snapping his fingers and getting up from the
table). I have it! I have it, by Jove! You shall never set foot
in the school again!

The Boys. No more school!

Mrs. Stockmann. But, Thomas--

Dr. Stockmann. Never, I say. I will educate you myself; that is
to say, you shan't learn a blessed thing--

Morten. Hooray!

Dr. Stockmann. --but I will make liberal-minded and high-minded
men of you. You must help me with that, Petra.

Petra, Yes, father, you may be sure I will.

Dr. Stockmann. And my school shall be in the room where they
insulted me and called me an enemy of the people. But we are too
few as we are; I must have at least twelve boys to begin with.

Mrs. Stockmann. You will certainly never get them in this town.

Dr. Stockmann. We shall. (To the boys.) Don't you know any street
urchins--regular ragamuffins--?

Morten. Yes, father, I know lots!

Dr. Stockmann. That's capital! Bring me some specimens of them. I
am going to experiment with curs, just for once; there may be
some exceptional heads among them.

Morten. And what are we going to do, when you have made liberal-
minded and high-minded men of us?

Dr. Stockmann. Then you shall drive all the wolves out of the
country, my boys!

(EJLIF looks rather doubtful about it; MORTEN jumps about crying
"Hurrah!")

Mrs. Stockmann. Let us hope it won't be the wolves that will
drive you out of the country, Thomas.

Dr. Stockmann. Are you out of your mind, Katherine? Drive me out!
Now--when I am the strongest man in the town!

Mrs. Stockmann. The strongest--now?

Dr. Stockmann. Yes, and I will go so far as to say that now I am
the strongest man in the whole world.

Morten. I say!

Dr. Stockmann (lowering his voice). Hush! You mustn't say
anything about it yet; but I have made a great discovery.

Mrs. Stockmann. Another one?

Dr. Stockmann. Yes. (Gathers them round him, and says
confidentially:) It is this, let me tell you--that the strongest
man in the world is he who stands most alone.

Mrs. Stockmann (smiling and shaking her head). Oh, Thomas,
Thomas!

Petra (encouragingly, as she grasps her father's hands). Father!

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