- An Enemy of the People
Petra (opening the door). Oh, it's you, Captain Horster! Do come
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
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
hardstone 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
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. 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
Petra. Do you mean that you have been dismissed from your
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.)
Previous - An Enemy of the People - Next