Peter Stockmann. Exactly---our fine, new, handsome Baths. Mark my
words, Mr. Hovstad--the Baths will become the focus of our
municipal life! Not a doubt of it!
Mrs. Stockmann. That is just what Thomas says.
Peter Stockmann. Think how extraordinarily the place has
developed within the last year or two! Money has been flowing in,
and there is some life and some business doing in the town.
Houses and landed property are rising in value every day.
Hovstad. And unemployment is diminishing,
Peter Stockmann. Yes, that is another thing. The burden on the
poor rates has been lightened, to the great relief of the
propertied classes; and that relief will be even greater if only
we get a really good summer this year, and lots of visitors--
plenty of invalids, who will make the Baths talked about.
Hovstad. And there is a good prospect of that, I hear.
Peter Stockmann. It looks very promising. Inquiries about
apartments and that sort of thing are reaching us, every day.
Hovstad. Well, the doctor's article will come in very suitably.
Peter Stockmann. Has he been writing something just lately?
Hovstad. This is something he wrote in the winter; a
recommendation of the Baths--an account of the excellent sanitary
conditions here. But I held the article over, temporarily.
Peter Stockmann. Ah,--some little difficulty about it, I suppose?
Hovstad. No, not at all; I thought it would be better to wait
until the spring, because it is just at this time that people
begin to think seriously about their summer quarters.
Peter Stockmann. Quite right; you were perfectly right, Mr.
Hovstad. Yes, Thomas is really indefatigable when it is a
question of the Baths.
Peter Stockmann. Well remember, he is the Medical Officer to the
Hovstad. Yes, and what is more, they owe their existence to him.
Peter Stockmann. To him? Indeed! It is true I have heard from
time to time that some people are of that opinion. At the same
time I must say I imagined that I took a modest part in the
Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, that is what Thomas is always saying.
Hovstad. But who denies it, Mr. Stockmann? You set the thing
going and made a practical concern of it; we all know that. I
only meant that the idea of it came first from the doctor.
Peter Stockmann. Oh, ideas yes! My brother has had plenty of them
in his time--unfortunately. But when it is a question of putting
an idea into practical shape, you have to apply to a man of
different mettle. Mr. Hovstad. And I certainly should have
thought that in this house at least...
Mrs. Stockmann. My dear Peter--
Hovstad. How can you think that--?
Mrs. Stockmann. Won't you go in and have something, Mr. Hovstad?
My husband is sure to be back directly.
Hovstad. Thank you, perhaps just a morsel. (Goes into the dining-
Peter Stockmann (lowering his voice a little). It is a curious
thing that these farmers' sons never seem to lose their want of
Mrs. Stockmann. Surely it is not worth bothering about! Cannot
you and Thomas share the credit as brothers?
Peter Stockmann. I should have thought so; but apparently some
people are not satisfied with a share.
Mrs. Stockmann. What nonsense! You and Thomas get on so capitally
together. (Listens.) There he is at last, I think. (Goes out and
opens the door leading to the hall.)
Dr. Stockmann (laughing and talking outside). Look here--here is
another guest for you, Katherine. Isn't that jolly! Come in,
Captain Horster; hang your coat up on this peg. Ah, you don't
wear an overcoat. Just think, Katherine; I met him in the street
and could hardly persuade him to come up! (CAPTAIN HORSTER comes
into the room and greets MRS. STOCKMANN. He is followed by DR.
STOCKMANN.) Come along in, boys. They are ravenously hungry
again, you know. Come along, Captain Horster; you must have a
slice of beef. (Pushes HORSTER into the dining-room. EJLIF and
MORTEN go in after them.)
Mrs. Stockmann. But, Thomas, don't you see--?
Dr. Stockmann (turning in the doorway). Oh, is it you, Peter?
(Shakes hands with him.) Now that is very delightful.
Peter Stockmann. Unfortunately I must go in a moment--
Dr. Stockmann. Rubbish! There is some toddy just coming in. You
haven't forgotten the toddy, Katherine?
Mrs. Stockmann. Of course not; the water is boiling now. (Goes
into the dining-room.)
Peter Stockmann. Toddy too!
Dr, Stockmann. Yes, sit down and we will have it comfortably.
Peter Stockmann. Thanks, I never care about an evening's
Dr. Stockmann. But this isn't an evening's drinking.
Peter Stockmann. It seems to me--. (Looks towards the dining-
room.) It is extraordinary how they can put away all that food.
Dr. Stockmann (rubbing his hands). Yes, isn't it splendid to see
young people eat? They have always got an appetite, you know!
That's as it should be. Lots of food--to build up their strength!
They are the people who are going to stir up the fermenting
forces of the future, Peter.
Peter Stockmann. May I ask what they will find here to "stir up,"
as you put it?
Dr. Stockmann. Ah, you must ask the young people that--when the
times comes. We shan't be able to see it, of course. That stands
to reason--two old fogies, like us.
Peter Stockmann. Really, really! I must say that is an extremely
odd expression to--
Dr. Stockmann. Oh, you mustn't take me too literally, Peter. I am
so heartily happy and contented, you know. I think it is such an
extraordinary piece of good fortune to be in the middle of all
this growing, germinating life. It is a splendid time to live in!
It is as if a whole new world were being created around one.
Peter Stockmann. Do you really think so?
Dr. Stockmann. Ah, naturally you can't appreciate it as keenly as
I. You have lived all your life in these surroundings, and your
impressions have been blunted. But I, who have been buried all
these years in my little corner up north, almost without ever
seeing a stranger who might bring new ideas with him-- well, in
case it has just the same effect as if I had been transported
into the middle of a crowded city.
Peter Stockmann. Oh, a city--!
Dr. Stockmann. I know, I know; it is all cramped enough here,
compared with many other places. But there is life here--there is
promise-- there are innumerable things to work for and fight for;
and that is the main thing. (Calls.) Katherine, hasn't the
postman been here?
Mrs. Stockmann (from the dining-room). No.
Dr. Stockmann. And then to be comfortably off, Peter! That is
something one learns to value, when one has been on the brink of
starvation, as we have.
Peter Stockmann. Oh, surely--
Dr. Stockmann. Indeed I can assure you we have often been very
hard put to it, up there. And now to be able to live like a lord!
Today, for instance, we had roast beef for dinner--and, what is
more, for supper too. Won't you come and have a little bit? Or
let me show it you, at any rate? Come here--
Peter Stockmann. No, no--not for worlds!
Dr. Stockmann. Well, but just come here then. Do you see, we have
got a table-cover?
Peter Stockmann. Yes, I noticed it.