Aslaksen. I say--Mr, Hovstad--
Hovstad. Well well!--what is it?
Aslaksen. The Mayor is outside in the printing room.
Hovstad. The Mayor, did you say?
Aslaksen. Yes he wants to speak to you. He came in by the back
door--didn't want to be seen, you understand.
Hovstad. What can he want? Wait a bit--I will go myself. (Goes to
the door of the printing room, opens it, bows and invites PETER
STOCKMANN in.) Just see, Aslaksen, that no one--
Aslaksen. Quite so. (Goes into the printing-room.)
Peter Stockmann. You did not expect to see me here, Mr. Hovstad?
Hovstad. No, I confess I did not.
Peter Stockmann (looking round). You are very snug in here--very
Peter Stockmann. And here I come, without any notice, to take up
Hovstad. By all means, Mr. Mayor. I am at your service. But let
me relieve you of your--(takes STOCKMANN's hat and stick and puts
them on a chair). Won't you sit down?
Peter Stockmann (sitting down by the table). Thank you. (HOVSTAD
sits down.) I have had an extremely annoying experience to-day,
Hovstad. Really? Ah well, I expect with all the various business
you have to attend to--
Peter Stockmann. The Medical Officer of the Baths is responsible
for what happened today.
Hovstad. Indeed? The Doctor?
Peter Stockmann. He has addressed a kind of report to the Baths
Committee on the subject of certain supposed defects in the
Hovstad. Has he indeed?
Peter Stockmann. Yes--has he not told you? I thought he said--
Hovstad. Ah, yes--it is true he did mention something about--
Aslaksen (coming from the printing-room). I ought to have that
Hovstad (angrily). Ahem!--there it is on the desk.
Aslaksen (taking it). Right.
Peter Stockmann. But look there--that is the thing I was speaking
Aslaksen. Yes, that is the Doctor's article, Mr. Mayor.
Hovstad. Oh, is THAT what you were speaking about?
Peter Stockmann. Yes, that is it. What do you think of it?
Hovstad. Oh, I am only a layman--and I have only taken a very
cursory glance at it.
Peter Stockmann. But you are going to print it?
Hovstad. I cannot very well refuse a distinguished man.
Aslaksen. I have nothing to do with editing the paper, Mr.
Peter Stockmann. I understand.
Aslaksen. I merely print what is put into my hands.
Peter Stockmann. Quite so.
Aslaksen. And so I must-- (moves off towards the printing-room).
Peter Stockmann. No, but wait a moment, Mr. Aslaksen. You will
allow me, Mr. Hovstad?
Hovstad. If you please, Mr. Mayor.
Peter Stockmann. You are a discreet and thoughtful man, Mr.
Aslaksen. I am delighted to hear you think so, sir.
Peter Stockmann. And a man of very considerable influence.
Aslaksen. Chiefly among the small tradesmen, sir.
Peter Stockmann. The small tax-payers are the majority--here as
Aslaksen. That is true.
Peter Stockmann. And I have no doubt you know the general trend
of opinion among them, don't you?
Aslaksen. Yes I think I may say I do, Mr. Mayor.