- An Enemy of the People
(DR. STOCKMANN has put on the Mayor's hat and taken his stick in
his hand. He goes up to the door, opens it, and stands with his
hand to his hat at the salute. PETER STOCKMANN comes in, red with
anger. BILLING follows him.)
Peter Stockmann. What does this tomfoolery mean?
Dr. Stockmann. Be respectful, my good Peter. I am the chief
authority in the town now. (Walks up and down.)
Mrs. Stockmann (almost in tears). Really, Thomas!
Peter Stockmann (following him about). Give me my hat and stick.
Dr. Stockmann (in the same tone as before). If you are chief
constable, let me tell you that I am the Mayor--I am the master
of the whole town, please understand!
Peter Stockmann. Take off my hat, I tell you. Remember it is part
of an official uniform.
Dr. Stockmann. Pooh! Do you think the newly awakened lionhearted
people are going to be frightened by an official hat? There is
going to be a revolution in the town tomorrow, let me tell you.
You thought you could turn me out; but now I shall turn you out--
turn you out of all your various offices. Do you think I cannot?
Listen to me. I have triumphant social forces behind me. Hovstad
and Billing will thunder in the "People's Messenger," and
Aslaksen will take the field at the head of the whole
Aslaksen. That I won't, Doctor.
Dr. Stockmann. Of course you will--
Peter Stockmann. Ah!--may I ask then if Mr. Hovstad intends to
join this agitation?
Hovstad. No, Mr. Mayor.
Aslaksen. No, Mr. Hovstad is not such a fool as to go and ruin
his paper and himself for the sake of an imaginary grievance.
Dr. Stockmann (looking round him). What does this mean?
Hovstad. You have represented your case in a false light, Doctor,
and therefore I am unable to give you my support.
Billing. And after what the Mayor was so kind as to tell me just
Dr. Stockmann. A false light! Leave that part of it to me. Only
print my article; I am quite capable of defending it.
Hovstad. I am not going to print it. I cannot and will not and
dare not print it.
Dr. Stockmann. You dare not? What nonsense!--you are the editor;
and an editor controls his paper, I suppose!
Aslaksen. No, it is the subscribers, Doctor.
Peter Stockmann. Fortunately, yes.
Aslaksen. It is public opinion--the enlightened public--
householders and people of that kind; they control the
Dr. Stockmann (composedly). And I have all these influences
Aslaksen. Yes, you have. It would mean the absolute ruin of the
community if your article were to appear.
Dr. Stockmann. Indeed.
Peter Stockmann. My hat and stick, if you please. (DR. STOCKMANN
takes off the hat and lays it on the table with the stick. PETER
STOCKMANN takes them up.) Your authority as mayor has come to an
Dr. Stockmann. We have not got to the end yet. (To HOVSTAD.) Then
it is quite impossible for you to print my article in the
Hovstad. Quite impossible--out of regard for your family as well.
Mrs. Stockmann. You need not concern yourself about his family,
thank you, Mr. Hovstad.
Peter Stockmann (taking a paper from his pocket). It will be
sufficient, for the guidance of the public, if this appears. It
is an official statement. May I trouble you?
Hovstad (taking the paper). Certainly; I will see that it is
Dr. Stockmann. But not mine. Do you imagine that you can silence
me and stifle the truth! You will not find it so easy as you
suppose. Mr. Aslaksen, kindly take my manuscript at once and
print it as a pamphlet--at my expense. I will have four hundred
copies--no, five or six hundred.
Aslaksen. If you offered me its weight in gold, I could not lend
my press for any such purpose, Doctor. It would be flying in the
face of public opinion. You will not get it printed anywhere in
Dr. Stockmann. Then give it me back.
Hovstad (giving him the MS.). Here it is.
Dr. Stockmann (taking his hat and stick). It shall be made public
all the same. I will read it out at a mass meeting of the
townspeople. All my fellow-citizens shall hear the voice of
Peter Stockmann. You will not find any public body in the town
that will give you the use of their hall for such a purpose.
Aslaksen. Not a single one, I am certain.
Billing. No, I'm damned if you will find one.
Mrs. Stockmann. But this is too shameful! Why should every one
turn against you like that?
Dr. Stockmann (angrily). I will tell you why. It is because all
the men in this town are old women--like you; they all think of
nothing but their families, and never of the community.
Mrs. Stockmann (putting her arm into his). Then I will show them
that an old woman can be a man for once. I am going to stand
by you, Thomas!
Dr. Stockmann. Bravely said, Katherine! It shall be made public--
as I am a living soul! If I can't hire a hall, I shall hire a
drum, and parade the town with it and read it at every street-
Peter Stockmann. You are surely not such an errant fool as that!
Dr. Stockmann. Yes, I am.
Aslaksen. You won't find a single man in the whole town to go
Billing. No, I'm damned if you will.
Mrs. Stockmann. Don't give in, Thomas. I will tell the boys to go
Dr. Stockmann. That is a splendid idea!
Mrs. Stockmann. Morten will be delighted; and Ejlif will do
whatever he does.
Dr. Stockmann. Yes, and Petra!--and you too, Katherine!
Mrs. Stockmann. No, I won't do that; but I will stand at the
window and watch you, that's what I will do.
Dr. Stockmann (puts his arms round her and kisses her). Thank
you, my dear! Now you and I are going to try a fall, my fine
gentlemen! I am going to see whether a pack of cowards can
succeed in gagging a patriot who wants to purify society! (He and
his wife go out by the street door.)
Peter Stockmann (shaking his head seriously). Now he has sent her
out of her senses, too.
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