- An Enemy of the People
(SCENE.--DR. STOCKMANN'S study. Bookcases and cabinets
containing specimens, line the walls. At the back is a door
leading to the hall; in the foreground on the left, a door
leading to the sitting-room. In the righthand wall are two
windows, of which all the panes are broken. The DOCTOR'S desk,
littered with books and papers, stands in the middle of the room,
which is in disorder. It is morning. DR. STOCKMANN in dressing-
gown, slippers and a smoking-cap, is bending down and raking with
an umbrella under one of the cabinets. After a little while he
rakes out a stone.)
Dr. Stockmann (calling through the open sitting-room door).
Katherine, I have found another one.
Mrs. Stockmann (from the sitting-room). Oh, you will find a lot
more yet, I expect.
Dr. Stockmann (adding the stone to a heap of others on the
table). I shall treasure these stones as relies. Ejlif and Morten
shall look at them everyday, and when they are grown up they
shall inherit them as heirlooms. (Rakes about under a bookcase.)
Hasn't--what the deuce is her name?--the girl, you know--hasn't
she been to fetch the glazier yet?
Mrs. Stockmann (coming in). Yes, but he said he didn't know if he
would be able to come today.
Dr. Stockmann. You will see he won't dare to come.
Mrs. Stockmann. Well, that is just what Randine thought--that he
didn't dare to, on account of the neighbours. (Calls into the
sitting-room.) What is it you want, Randine? Give it to me. (Goes
in, and comes out again directly.) Here is a letter for you,
Dr. Stockmann. Let me see it. (Opens and reads it.) Ah!--of
Mrs. Stockmann. Who is it from?
Dr. Stockmann. From the landlord. Notice to quit.
Mrs. Stockmann. Is it possible? Such a nice man
Dr. Stockmann (looking at the letter). Does not dare do
otherwise, he says. Doesn't like doing it, but dare not do
otherwise--on account of his fellow-citizens--out of regard for
public opinion. Is in a dependent position--dares not offend
certain influential men.
Mrs. Stockmann. There, you see, Thomas!
Dr. Stockmann. Yes, yes, I see well enough; the whole lot of them
in the town are cowards; not a man among them dares do anything
for fear of the others. (Throws the letter on to the table.) But
it doesn't matter to us, Katherine. We are going to sail away to
the New World, and--
Mrs. Stockmann. But, Thomas, are you sure we are well advised to
take this step?
Dr. Stockmann. Are you suggesting that I should stay here, where
they have pilloried me as an enemy of the people--branded me--
broken my windows! And just look here, Katherine--they have torn
great rent in my black trousers too!
Mrs. Stockmann. Oh, dear!--and they are the best pair you have
Dr. Stockmann. You should never wear your best trousers when you
go out to fight for freedom and truth. It is not that I care so
much about the trousers, you know; you can always sew them up
again for me. But that the common herd should dare to make this
attack on me, as if they were my equals--that is what I cannot,
for the life of me, swallow!
Mrs. Stockmann. There is no doubt they have behaved very ill
you, Thomas; but is that sufficient reason for our leaving our
native country for good and all?
Dr. Stockmann. If we went to another town, do you suppose we
should not find the common people just as insolent as they are
here? Depend upon it, there is not much to choose between them.
Oh, well, let the curs snap--that is not the worst part of it.
The worst is that, from one end of this country to the other,
every man is the slave of his Party. Although, as far as that
goes, I daresay it is not much better in the free West either;
the compact majority, and liberal public opinion, and all that
infernal old bag of tricks are probably rampant there too. But
there things are done on a larger scale, you see. They may kill
you, but they won't put you to death by slow torture. They don't
squeeze a free man's soul in a vice, as they do here. And, if
need be, one can live in solitude. (Walks up and down.) If only I
knew where there was a virgin forest or a small South Sea island
for sale, cheap--
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
Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, yes, it's mad enough of them, certainly;
but--(PETRA comes in from the silting-room). Back from school
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
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?
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
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.
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