Mrs. Stockmann. It is just what you do. I know quite well you
have more brains than anyone in the town, but you are extremely
easily duped, Thomas. (To Hovstad.) Please do realise that he
loses his post at the Baths if you print what he has written.
Hovstad. Look here, Doctor!
Dr. Stockmann (laughing). Ha-ha!--just let them try! No, no--they
will take good care not to. I have got the compact majority
behind me, let me tell you!
Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, that is just the worst of it--your having
any such horrid thing behind you.
Dr. Stockmann. Rubbish, Katherine!--Go home and look after your
house and leave me to look after the community. How can you be so
afraid, when I am so confident and happy? (Walks up and down,
rubbing his hands.) Truth and the People will win the fight, you
may be certain! I see the whole of the broad-minded middle class
marching like a victorious army--! (Stops beside a chair.) What
the deuce is that lying there?
Aslaksen Good Lord!
Dr. Stockmann. Here we have the topmost pinnacle of authority!
(Takes the Mayor's official hat carefully between his finger-tips
and holds it up in the air.)
Mrs. Stockmann. The Mayor's hat!
Dr. Stockmann. And here is the staff of office too. How in the
name of all that's wonderful--?
Hovstad. Well, you see--
Dr. Stockmann. Oh, I understand. He has been here trying to talk
you over. Ha-ha!--he made rather a mistake there! And as soon as
he caught sight of me in the printing room. (Bursts out
laughing.) Did he run away, Mr. Aslaksen?
Aslaksen (hurriedly). Yes, he ran away, Doctor.
Dr. Stockmann. Ran away without his stick or his--. Fiddlesticks!
Peter doesn't run away and leave his belongings behind him. But
what the deuce have you done with him? Ah!--in there, of course.
Now you shall see, Katherine!
Mrs. Stockmann. Thomas--please don't--!
Aslaksen. Don't be rash, Doctor.
(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.