Dr. Stockmann. Well, isn't what I said perfectly true? Don't they
turn every idea topsy-turvy? Don't they make a regular hotchpotch
of right and wrong? Don't they say that the things I know are
true, are lies? The craziest part of it all is the fact of these
"liberals," men of full age, going about in crowds imagining that
they are the broad-minded party! Did you ever hear anything like
Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, yes, it's mad enough of them, certainly;
but--(PETRA comes in from the silting-room). Back from school
Petra. Yes. I have been given notice of dismissal.
Mrs. Stockmann. Dismissal?
Dr. Stockmann. You too?
Petra. Mrs. Busk gave me my notice; so I thought it was best to
go at once.
Dr. Stockmann. You were perfectly right, too!
Mrs. Stockmann. Who would have thought Mrs. Busk was a woman like
Petra. Mrs. Busk isn't a bit like that, mother; I saw quite
plainly how it hurt her to do it. But she didn't dare do
otherwise, she said; and so I got my notice.
Dr. Stockmann (laughing and rubbing his hands). She didn't dare
do otherwise, either! It's delicious!
Mrs. Stockmann. Well, after the dreadful scenes last night--
Petra. It was not only that. Just listen to this, father!
Dr. Stockmann. Well?
Petra. Mrs. Busk showed me no less than three letters she
received this morning--
Dr. Stockmann. Anonymous, I suppose?
Dr. Stockmann. Yes, because they didn't dare to risk signing
their names, Katherine!
Petra. And two of them were to the effect that a man, who has
been our guest here, was declaring last night at the Club that my
views on various subjects are extremely emancipated--
Dr. Stockmann. You did not deny that, I hope?
Petra. No, you know I wouldn't. Mrs. Busk's own views are
tolerably emancipated, when we are alone together; but now that
this report about me is being spread, she dare not keep me on any
Mrs. Stockmann. And someone who had been a guest of ours! That
shows you the return you get for your hospitality, Thomas!
Dr. Stockmann. We won't live in such a disgusting hole any
longer. Pack up as quickly as you can, Katherine; the sooner we
can get away, the better.
Mrs. Stockmann. Be quiet--I think I hear someone in the hall.
See who it is, Petra.
Petra (opening the door). Oh, it's you, Captain Horster! Do come
Horster (coming in). Good morning. I thought I would just come in
and see how you were.
Dr. Stockmann (shaking his hand). Thanks--that is really kind of
Mrs. Stockmann. And thank you, too, for helping us through the
crowd, Captain Horster.
Petra. How did you manage to get home again?
Horster. Oh, somehow or other. I am fairly strong, and there is
more sound than fury about these folk.
Dr. Stockmann. Yes, isn't their swinish cowardice astonishing?
Look here, I will show you something! There are all the stones
they have thrown through my windows. Just look at them! I'm
hanged if there are more than two decently large bits of
hardstone in the whole heap; the rest are nothing but gravel--
wretched little things. And yet they stood out there bawling and
swearing that they would do me some violence; but as for doing
anything--you don't see much of that in this town.
Horster. Just as well for you this time, doctor!
Dr. Stockmann. True enough. But it makes one angry all the same;
because if some day it should be a question of a national fight
in real earnest, you will see that public opinion will be in
favour of taking to one's heels, and the compact majority will
turn tail like a flock of sheep, Captain Horster. That is what is
so mournful to think of; it gives me so much concern, that--. No,
devil take it, it is ridiculous to care about it! They have
called me an enemy of the people, so an enemy of the people let
Mrs. Stockmann. You will never be that, Thomas.