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Dr. Stockmann. I am afraid you will not be able to prevent that
now, my dear Peter.

Peter Stockmann. It must and shall be prevented.

Dr. Stockmann. It is no use, I tell you. There are too many
people that know about it.

Peter Stockmann. That know about it? Who? Surely you don't mean
those fellows on the "People's Messenger"?

Dr. Stockmann. Yes, they know. The liberal-minded independent
press is going to see that you do your duty.

Peter Stockmann (after a short pause). You are an extraordinarily
independent man, Thomas. Have you given no thought to the
consequences this may have for yourself?

Dr. Stockmann. Consequences?--for me?

Peter Stockmann. For you and yours, yes.

Dr. Stockmann. What the deuce do you mean?

Peter Stockmann. I believe I have always behaved in a brotherly
way to you--haven't I always been ready to oblige or to help you?

Dr. Stockmann. Yes, you have, and I am grateful to you for it.

Peter Stockmann. There is no need. Indeed, to some extent I was
forced to do so--for my own sake. I always hoped that, if I
helped to improve your financial position, I should be able to
keep some check on you,

Dr. Stockmann. What! Then it was only for your own sake--!

Peter Stockmann. Up to a certain point, yes. It is painful for a
man in an official position to have his nearest relative
compromising himself time after time.

Dr. Stockmann. And do you consider that I do that?

Peter Stockmann. Yes, unfortunately, you do, without even being
aware of it. You have a restless, pugnacious, rebellious
disposition. And then there is that disastrous propensity of
yours to want to write about every sort of possible and
impossible thing. The moment an idea comes into your head, you
must needs go and write a newspaper article or a whole pamphlet
about it.

Dr. Stockmann. Well, but is it not the duty of a citizen to let
the public share in any new ideas he may have?

Peter Stockmann. Oh, the public doesn't require any new ideas.
The public is best served by the good, old established ideas it
already has.

Dr. Stockmann. And that is your honest opinion?

Peter Stockmann. Yes, and for once I must talk frankly to you.
Hitherto I have tried to avoid doing so, because I know how
irritable you are; but now I must tell you the truth, Thomas. You
have no conception what an amount of harm you do yourself by your
impetuosity. You complain of the authorities, you even complain
of the government--you are always pulling them to pieces; you
insist that you have been neglected and persecuted. But what else
can such a cantankerous man as you expect?

Dr. Stockmann. What next! Cantankerous, am I?

Peter Stockmann. Yes, Thomas, you are an extremely cantankerous
man to work with--I know that to my cost. You disregard
everything that you ought to have consideration for. You seem
completely to forget that it is me you have to thank for your
appointment here as medical officer to the Baths.

Dr. Stockmann. I was entitled to it as a matter of course!--I and
nobody else! I was the first person to see that the town could be
made into a flourishing watering-place, and I was the only one
who saw it at that time. I had to fight single-handed in support
of the idea for many years; and I wrote and wrote--

Peter Stockmann. Undoubtedly. But things were not ripe for the
scheme then--though, of course, you could not judge of that in
your out-of-the-way corner up north. But as soon as the opportune
moment came I--and the others--took the matter into our hands

Dr. Stockmann. Yes, and made this mess of all my beautiful plan.
It is pretty obvious now what clever fellows you were!

Peter Stockmann. To my mind the whole thing only seems to mean
that you are seeking another outlet for your combativeness. You
want to pick a quarrel with your superiors--an old habit of
yours. You cannot put up with any authority over you. You look
askance at anyone who occupies a superior official position; you
regard him as a personal enemy, and then any stick is good enough
to beat him with. But now I have called your attention to the
fact that the town's interests are at stake--and, incidentally,
my own too. And therefore, I must tell you, Thomas, that you will
find me inexorable with regard to what I am about to require you
to do.





An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen
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