Dr. Stockmann. Don't swear to that, Katherine. To be called an
ugly name may have the same effect as a pin-scratch in the lung.
And that hateful name--I can't get quit of it. It is sticking
here in the pit of my stomach, eating into me like a corrosive
acid. And no magnesia will remove it.
Petra. Bah!--you should only laugh at them, father,
Horster. They will change their minds some day, Doctor.
Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, Thomas, as sure as you are standing here.
Dr. Stockmann. Perhaps, when it is too late. Much good may it do
them! They may wallow in their filth then and rue the day when
they drove a patriot into exile. When do you sail, Captain
Horster. Hm!--that was just what I had come to speak about--
Dr. Stockmann. Why, has anything gone wrong with the ship?
Horster. No; but what has happened is that I am not to sail in
Petra. Do you mean that you have been dismissed from your
Horster (smiling). Yes, that's just it.
Petra. You too.
Mrs. Stockmann. There, you see, Thomas!
Dr. Stockmann. And that for the truth's sake! Oh, if I had
thought such a thing possible--
Horster. You mustn't take it to heart; I shall be sure to find a
job with some ship-owner or other, elsewhere.
Dr. Stockmann. And that is this man Vik--a wealthy man,
independent of everyone and everything--! Shame on him!
Horster. He is quite an excellent fellow otherwise; he told me
himself he would willingly have kept me on, if only he had dared-
Dr. Stockmann. But he didn't dare? No, of course not.
Horster. It is not such an easy matter, he said, for a party man-
Dr. Stockmann. The worthy man spoke the truth. A party is like a
sausage machine; it mashes up all sorts of heads together into
the same mincemeat--fatheads and blockheads, all in one mash!
Mrs. Stockmann. Come, come, Thomas dear!
Petra (to HORSTER). If only you had not come home with us, things
might not have come to this pass.
Horster. I do not regret it.
Petra (holding out her hand to him). Thank you for that!
Horster (to DR. STOCKMANN). And so what I came to say was that if
you are determined to go away, I have thought of another plan--
Dr. Stockmann. That's splendid!--if only we can get away at once.
Mrs. Stockmann. Hush!--wasn't that some one knocking?
Petra. That is uncle, surely.
Dr. Stockmann. Aha! (Calls out.) Come in!
Mrs. Stockmann. Dear Thomas, promise me definitely--. (PETER
STOCKMANN comes in from the hall.)
Peter Stockmann. Oh, you are engaged. In that case, I will--
Dr. Stockmann. No, no, come in.
Peter Stockmann. But I wanted to speak to you alone.
Mrs. Stockmann. We will go into the sitting-room in the
Horster. And I will look in again later.
Dr. Stockmann. No, go in there with them, Captain Horster; I want
to hear more about--.
Horster. Very well, I will wait, then. (He follows MRS. STOCKMANN
and PETRA into the sitting-room.)
Dr. Stockmann. I daresay you find it rather draughty here today.
Put your hat on.
Peter Stockmann. Thank you, if I may. (Does so.) I think I caught
cold last night; I stood and shivered--
Dr. Stockmann. Really? I found it warm enough.
Peter Stockmann. I regret that it was not in my power to prevent
those excesses last night.
Dr. Stockmann. Have you anything in particular to say to me
Peter Stockmann (taking a big letter from his pocket). I have
this document for you, from the Baths Committee.
Dr. Stockmann. My dismissal?
Peter Stockmann. Yes, dating from today. (Lays the letter on the
table.) It gives us pain to do it; but, to speak frankly, we
dared not do otherwise on account of public opinion.
Dr. Stockmann (smiling). Dared not? I seem to have heard that
word before, today.
Peter Stockmann. I must beg you to understand your position
clearly. For the future you must not count on any practice
whatever in the town.
Dr. Stockmann. Devil take the practice! But why are you so sure
Peter Stockmann. The Householders' Association is circulating a
list from house to house. All right-minded citizens are being
called upon to give up employing you; and I can assure you that
not a single head of a family will risk refusing his signature.
They simply dare not.
Dr. Stockmann. No, no; I don't doubt it. But what then?
Peter Stockmann. If I might advise you, it would be best to leave
the place for a little while--
Dr. Stockmann. Yes, the propriety of leaving the place has
occurred to me.
Peter Stockmann. Good. And then, when you have had six months to
think things over, if, after mature consideration, you can
persuade yourself to write a few words of regret, acknowledging
Dr. Stockmann. I might have my appointment restored to me, do you