Hovstad. And, in the matter before us, it is now an undoubted
fact that Dr. Stockmann has public opinion against him. Now, what
is an editor's first and most obvious duty, gentlemen? Is it not
to work in harmony with his readers? Has he not received a sort
of tacit mandate to work persistently and assiduously for the
welfare of those whose opinions he represents? Or is it possible
I am mistaken in that?
Voices from the crowd. No, no! You are quite right!
Hovstad. It has cost me a severe struggle to break with a man in
whose house I have been lately a frequent guest--a man who till
today has been able to pride himself on the undivided goodwill
of his fellow-citizens--a man whose only, or at all events whose
essential, failing is that he is swayed by his heart rather than
A few scattered voices. That is true! Bravo, Stockmann!
Hovstad. But my duty to the community obliged me to break with
him. And there is another consideration that impels me to oppose
him, and, as far as possible, to arrest him on the perilous
course he has adopted; that is, consideration for his family--
Dr. Stockmann. Please stick to the water-supply and drainage!
Hovstad. --consideration, I repeat, for his wife and his children
for whom he has made no provision.
Morten. Is that us, mother?
Mrs. Stockmann. Hush!
Aslaksen. I will now put the Mayor's proposition to the vote.
Dr. Stockmann. There is no necessity! Tonight I have no
intention of dealing with all that filth down at the Baths. No; I
have something quite different to say to you.
Peter Stockmann (aside). What is coming now?
A Drunken Man (by the entrance door). I am a ratepayer! And
therefore, I have a right to speak too! And my entire--firm--
inconceivable opinion is--
A number of voices. Be quiet, at the back there!
Others. He is drunk! Turn him out! (They turn him out.)
Dr. Stockmann. Am I allowed to speak?
Aslaksen (ringing his bell). Dr. Stockmann will address the
Dr. Stockmann. I should like to have seen anyone, a few days ago,
dare to attempt to silence me as has been done tonight! I would
have defended my sacred rights as a man, like a lion! But now it
is all one to me; I have something of even weightier importance
to say to you. (The crowd presses nearer to him, MORTEN Kiil
conspicuous among them.)
Dr. Stockmann (continuing). I have thought and pondered a great
deal, these last few days--pondered over such a variety of things
that in the end my head seemed too full to hold them--
Peter Stockmann (with a cough). Ahem!
Dr. Stockmann. --but I got them clear in my mind at last, and
then I saw the whole situation lucidly. And that is why I am
standing here to-night. I have a great revelation to make to you,
my fellow-citizens! I will impart to you a discovery of a far
wider scope than the trifling matter that our water supply is
poisoned and our medicinal Baths are standing on pestiferous
A number of voices (shouting). Don't talk about the Baths! We
won't hear you! None of that!
Dr. Stockmann. I have already told you that what I want to speak
about is the great discovery I have made lately--the discovery
that all the sources of our moral life are poisoned and that the
whole fabric of our civic community is founded on the pestiferous
soil of falsehood.
Voices of disconcerted Citizens. What is that he says?
Peter Stockmann. Such an insinuation--!
Aslaksen (with his hand on his bell). I call upon the speaker to
moderate his language.
Dr. Stockmann. I have always loved my native town as a man only
can love the home of his youthful days. I was not old when I went
away from here; and exile, longing and memories cast as it were
an additional halo over both the town and its inhabitants. (Some
clapping and applause.) And there I stayed, for many years, in a
horrible hole far away up north. When I came into contact with
some of the people that lived scattered about among the rocks, I
often thought it would of been more service to the poor half-
starved creatures if a veterinary doctor had been sent up there,
instead of a man like me. (Murmurs among the crowd.)
Billing (laying down his pen). I'm damned if I have ever heard--!
Hovstad. It is an insult to a respectable population!
Dr. Stockmann. Wait a bit! I do not think anyone will charge me
with having forgotten my native town up there. I was like one of
the cider-ducks brooding on its nest, and what I hatched was the
plans for these Baths. (Applause and protests.) And then when
fate at last decreed for me the great happiness of coming home
again--I assure you, gentlemen, I thought I had nothing more in
the world to wish for. Or rather, there was one thing I wished
for--eagerly, untiringly, ardently--and that was to be able to be
of service to my native town and the good of the community.
Peter Stockmann (looking at the ceiling). You chose a strange way
of doing it--ahem!
Dr. Stockmann. And so, with my eyes blinded to the real facts, I
revelled in happiness. But yesterday morning--no, to be precise,
it was yesterday afternoon--the eyes of my mind were opened wide,
and the first thing I realised was the colossal stupidity of the
authorities--. (Uproar, shouts and laughter, MRS. STOCKMANN
Peter Stockmann. Mr. Chairman!
Aslaksen (ringing his bell). By virtue of my authority--!
Dr. Stockmann. It is a petty thing to catch me up on a word, Mr.
Aslaksen. What I mean is only that I got scent of the
unbelievable piggishness our leading men had been responsible for
down at the Baths. I can't stand leading men at any price!--I
have had enough of such people in my time. They are like billy-
goats on a young plantation; they do mischief everywhere. They
stand in a free man's way, whichever way he turns, and what I
should like best would be to see them exterminated like any other