Peter Stockmann. Perhaps. It is not at all impossible.
Dr. Stockmann. But what about public opinion, then? Surely you
would not dare to do it on account of public feeling...
Peter Stockmann. Public opinion is an extremely mutable thing.
And, to be quite candid with you, it is a matter of great
importance to us to have some admission of that sort from you in
Dr. Stockmann. Oh, that's what you are after, is it! I will just
trouble you to remember what I said to you lately about foxy
tricks of that sort!
Peter Stockmann. Your position was quite different then. At that
time you had reason to suppose you had the whole town at your
Dr. Stockmann. Yes, and now I feel I have the whole town ON my
back--(flaring up). I would not do it if I had the devil and his
dam on my back--! Never--never, I tell you!
Peter Stockmann. A man with a family has no right to behave as
you do. You have no right to do it, Thomas.
Dr. Stockmann. I have no right! There is only one single thing in
the world a free man has no right to do. Do you know what that
Peter Stockmann. No.
Dr. Stockmann. Of course you don't, but I will tell you. A free
man has no right to soil himself with filth; he has no right to
behave in a way that would justify his spitting in his own face.
Peter Stockmann. This sort of thing sounds extremely plausible,
of course; and if there were no other explanation for your
obstinacy--. But as it happens that there is.
Dr. Stockmann. What do you mean?
Peter Stockmann. You understand, very well what I mean. But, as
your brother and as a man of discretion, I advise you not to
build too much upon expectations and prospects that may so very
easily fail you.
Dr. Stockmann. What in the world is all this about?
Peter Stockmann. Do you really ask me to believe that you are
ignorant of the terms of Mr. Kiil's will?
Dr. Stockmann. I know that the small amount he possesses is to go
to an institution for indigent old workpeople. How does that
Peter Stockmann. In the first place, it is by no means a small
amount that is in question. Mr. Kiil is a fairly wealthy man.
Dr. Stockmann. I had no notion of that!
Peter Stockmann. Hm!--hadn't you really? Then I suppose you had
no notion, either, that a considerable portion of his wealth will
come to your children, you and your wife having a life-rent of
the capital. Has he never told you so?
Dr. Stockmann. Never, on my honour! Quite the reverse; he has
consistently done nothing but fume at being so unconscionably
heavily taxed. But are you perfectly certain of this, Peter?
Peter Stockmann. I have it from an absolutely reliable source.
Dr. Stockmann. Then, thank God, Katherine is provided for--and
the children too! I must tell her this at once--(calls out)
Peter Stockmann (restraining him). Hush, don't say a word yet!
Mrs. Stockmann (opening the door). What is the matter?
Dr, Stockmann. Oh, nothing, nothing; you can go back. (She shuts
the door. DR. STOCKMANN walks up and down in his excitement.)
Provided for!--Just think of it, we are all provided for! And for
life! What a blessed feeling it is to know one is provided for!
Peter Stockmann. Yes, but that is just exactly what you are not.
Mr. Kiil can alter his will any day he likes.
Dr. Stockmann. But he won't do that, my dear Peter. The "Badger"
is much too delighted at my attack on you and your wise friends.
Peter Stockmann (starts and looks intently at him). Ali, that
throws a light on various things.
Dr. Stockmann. What things?
Peter Stockmann. I see that the whole thing was a combined
manoeuvre on your part and his. These violent, reckless attacks
that you have made against the leading men of the town, under the
pretence that it was in the name of truth--
Dr. Stockmann. What about them?
Peter Stockmann. I see that they were nothing else than the
stipulated price for that vindictive old man's will.
Dr. Stockmann (almost speechless). Peter--you are the most
disgusting plebeian I have ever met in all my life.
Peter Stockmann. All is over between us. Your dismissal is
irrevocable--we have a weapon against you now. (Goes out.)
Dr. Stockmann. For shame! For shame! (Calls out.) Katherine, you
must have the floor scrubbed after him! Let--what's her name--
devil take it, the girl who has always got soot on her nose--
Mrs. Stockmann. (in the sitting-room). Hush, Thomas, be quiet!
Petra (coming to the door). Father, grandfather is here, asking
if he may speak to you alone.
Dr. Stockmann. Certainly he may. (Going to the door.) Come in,
Mr. Kiil. (MORTEN KIIL comes in. DR. STOCKMANN shuts the door
after him.) What can I do for you? Won't you sit down?
Morten Kiil. I won't sit. (Looks around.) You look very
comfortable here today, Thomas.
Dr. Stockmann. Yes, don't we!
Morten Kiil. Very comfortable--plenty of fresh air. I should
think you have got enough to-day of that oxygen you were talking
about yesterday. Your conscience must be in splendid order to-
day, I should think.
Dr. Stockmann. It is.
Morten Kiil. So I should think. (Taps his chest.) Do you know
what I have got here?
Dr. Stockmann. A good conscience, too, I hope.
Morten Kiil. Bah!--No, it is something better than that. (He
takes a thick pocket-book from his breast-pocket, opens it, and
displays a packet of papers.)
Dr. Stockmann (looking at him in astonishment). Shares in the
Morten Kiil. They were not difficult to get today.
Dr. Stockmann. And you have been buying--?
Morten Kiil. As many as I could pay for.