Dr. Stockmann. It must be he, then. (A knock is heard at the
door.) Come in!
Peter Stockmann (comes in from the hall). Good morning.
Dr. Stockmann. Glad to see you, Peter!
Mrs. Stockmann. Good morning, Peter, How are you?
Peter Stockmann. So so, thank you. (To DR. STOCKMANN.) I received
from you yesterday, after office hours, a report dealing with the
condition of the water at the Baths.
Dr. Stockmann. Yes. Have you read it?
Peter Stockmann. Yes, I have,
Dr. Stockmann. And what have you to say to it?
Peter Stockmann (with a sidelong glance). Hm!--
Mrs. Stockmann. Come along, Petra. (She and PETRA go into the
room on the left.)
Peter Stockmann (after a pause). Was it necessary to make all
these investigations behind my back?
Dr. Stockmann. Yes, because until I was absolutely certain about
Peter Stockmann. Then you mean that you are absolutely certain
Dr. Stockmann. Surely you are convinced of that.
Peter Stockmann. Is it your intention to bring this document
before the Baths Committee as a sort of official communication?
Dr. Stockmann. Certainly. Something must be done in the matter--
and that quickly.
Peter Stockmann. As usual, you employ violent expressions in your
report. You say, amongst other things, that what we offer
visitors in our Baths is a permanent supply of poison.
Dr. Stockmann. Well, can you describe it any other way, Peter?
Just think--water that is poisonous, whether you drink it or
in it! And this we offer to the poor sick folk who come to us
trustfully and pay us at an exorbitant rate to be made well
Peter Stockmann. And your reasoning leads you to this conclusion,
that we must build a sewer to draw off the alleged impurities
from Molledal and must relay the water conduits.
Dr. Stockmann. Yes. Do you see any other way out of it? I don't.
Peter Stockmann. I made a pretext this morning to go and see the
town engineer, and, as if only half seriously, broached the
subject of these proposals as a thing we might perhaps have to
take under consideration some time later on.
Dr. Stockmann. Some time later on!
Peter Stockmann. He smiled at what he considered to be my
extravagance, naturally. Have you taken the trouble to consider
what your proposed alterations would cost? According to the
information I obtained, the expenses would probably mount up to
fifteen or twenty thousand pounds.
Dr. Stockmann. Would it cost so much?
Peter Stockmann. Yes; and the worst part of it would be that the
work would take at least two years.
Dr. Stockmann. Two years? Two whole years?
Peter Stockmann. At least. And what are we to do with the Baths
in the meantime? Close them? Indeed we should be obliged to. And
do you suppose anyone would come near the place after it had got
out that the water was dangerous?
Dr. Stockmann. Yes but, Peter, that is what it is.
Peter Stockmann. And all this at this juncture--just as the Baths
are beginning to be known. There are other towns in the
neighbourhood with qualifications to attract visitors for bathing
purposes. Don't you suppose they would immediately strain every
nerve to divert the entire stream of strangers to themselves?
Unquestionably they would; and then where should we be? We should
probably have to abandon the whole thing, which has cost us so
much money-and then you would have ruined your native town.
Dr. Stockmann. I--should have ruined--!
Peter Stockmann. It is simply and solely through the Baths that
the town has before it any future worth mentioning. You know that
just as well as I.
Dr. Stockmann. But what do you think ought to be done, then?
Peter Stockmann. Your report has not convinced me that the
condition of the water at the Baths is as bad as you represent it
Dr. Stockmann. I tell you it is even worse!--or at all events it
will be in summer, when the warm weather comes.
Peter Stockmann. As I said, I believe you exaggerate the matter
considerably. A capable physician ought to know what measures to
take--he ought to be capable of preventing injurious influences
or of remedying them if they become obviously persistent.
Dr. Stockmann. Well? What more?
Peter Stockmann. The water supply for the Baths is now an
established fact, and in consequence must be treated as such. But
probably the Committee, at its discretion, will not be
disinclined to consider the question of how far it might be
possible to introduce certain improvements consistently with a
Dr. Stockmann. And do you suppose that I will have anything to do
with such a piece of trickery as that?
Peter Stockmann. Trickery!!
Dr. Stockmann. Yes, it would be a trick--a fraud, a lie, a
downright crime towards the public, towards the whole community!
Peter Stockmann. I have not, as I remarked before, been able to
convince myself that there is actually any imminent danger.
Dr. Stockmann. You have! It is impossible that you should not be
convinced. I know I have represented the facts absolutely
truthfully and fairly. And you know it very well, Peter, only you
won't acknowledge it. It was owing to your action that both the
Baths and the water conduits were built where they are; and that
is what you won't acknowledge--that damnable blunder of yours.
Pooh!--do you suppose I don't see through you?
Peter Stockmann. And even if that were true? If I perhaps guard
my reputation somewhat anxiously, it is in the interests of the
town. Without moral authority I am powerless to direct public
affairs as seems, to my judgment, to be best for the common good.
And on that account--and for various other reasons too--it
appears to me to be a matter of importance that your report should not be
delivered to the Committee. In the interests of the public, you
must withhold it. Then, later on, I will raise the question and
we will do our best, privately; but, nothing of this unfortunate
affair not a single word of it--must come to the ears of the