Dr. Stockmann. And we have got a lamp-shade too. Do you see? All
out of Katherine's savings! It makes the room so cosy. Don't you
think so? Just stand here for a moment-- no, no, not there--just
here, that's it! Look now, when you get the light on it
altogether. I really think it looks very nice, doesn't it?
Peter Stockmann. Oh, if you can afford luxuries of this kind--
Dr. Stockmann. Yes, I can afford it now. Katherine tells me I
earn almost as much as we spend.
Peter Stockmann. Almost--yes!
Dr. Stockmann. But a scientific man must live in a little bit of
style. I am quite sure an ordinary civil servant spends more in a
year than I do.
Peter Stockmann. I daresay. A civil servant--a man in a well-paid
Dr. Stockmann. Well, any ordinary merchant, then! A man in that
position spends two or three times as much as--
Peter Stockmann. It just depends on circumstances.
Dr. Stockmann. At all events I assure you I don't waste money
unprofitably. But I can't find it in my heart to deny myself the
pleasure of entertaining my friends. I need that sort of thing,
you know. I have lived for so long shut out of it all, that it is
a necessity of life to me to mix with young, eager, ambitious
men, men of liberal and active minds; and that describes every
one of those fellows who are enjoying their supper in there. I
wish you knew more of Hovstad.
Peter Stockmann. By the way, Hovstad was telling me he was going
to print another article of yours.
Dr. Stockmann. An article of mine?
Peter Stockmann. Yes, about the Baths. An article you wrote in
Dr. Stockmann. Oh, that one! No, I don't intend that to appear
just for the present.
Peter Stockmann. Why not? It seems to me that this would be the
most opportune moment.
Dr. Stockmann. Yes, very likely--under normal conditions.
(Crosses the room.)
Peter Stockmann (following him with his eyes). Is there anything
abnormal about the present conditions?
Dr. Stockmann (standing still). To tell you the truth, Peter, I
can't say just at this moment--at all events not tonight. There
may be much that is very abnormal about the present conditions--
and it is possible there may be nothing abnormal about them at
all. It is quite possible it may be merely my imagination.
Peter Stockmann. I must say it all sounds most mysterious. Is
there something going on that I am to be kept in ignorance of? I
should have imagined that I, as Chairman of the governing body of
Dr. Stockmann. And I should have imagined that I--. Oh, come,
don't let us fly out at one another, Peter.
Peter Stockmann. Heaven forbid! I am not in the habit of flying
out at people, as you call it. But I am entitled to request most
emphatically that all arrangements shall be made in a
businesslike manner, through the proper channels, and shall be
dealt with by the legally constituted authorities. I can allow no
going behind our backs by any roundabout means.
Dr. Stockmann. Have I ever at any time tried to go behind your
Peter Stockmann. You have an ingrained tendency to take your own
way, at all events; and, that is almost equally inadmissible in a
well ordered community, The individual ought undoubtedly to
acquiesce in subordinating himself to the community--or, to speak
more accurately, to the authorities who have the care of the
Dr. Stockmann. Very likely. But what the deuce has all this got
to do with me?
Peter Stockmann. That is exactly what you never appear to be
willing to learn, my dear Thomas. But, mark my words, some day
you will have to suffer for it-- sooner or later. Now I have told
Dr. Stockmann. Have you taken leave of your senses? You are on
the wrong scent altogether.
Peter Stockmann. I am not usually that. You must excuse me now if
I-- (calls into the dining-room). Good night, Katherine. Good
night, gentlemen. (Goes out.)
Mrs. Stockmann (coming from the dining-room). Has he gone?
Dr. Stockmann. Yes, and in such a bad temper.
Mrs. Stockmann. But, dear Thomas, what have you been doing to him
Dr. Stockmann. Nothing at all. And, anyhow, he can't oblige me to
make my report before the proper time.
Mrs. Stockmann. What have you got to make a report to him about?
Dr. Stockmann. Hm! Leave that to me, Katherine. It is an
extraordinary thing that the postman doesn't come.
(HOVSTAD, BILLING and HORSTER have got up from the table and come
into the sitting-room. EJLIF and MORTEN come in after them.)
Billing (stretching himself). Ah!--one feels a new man after a
meal like that.
Hovstad. The mayor wasn't in a very sweet temper tonight, then.
Dr. Stockmann. It is his stomach; he has wretched digestion.
Hovstad. I rather think it was us two of the "People's Messenger"
that he couldn't digest.
Mrs. Stockmann. I thought you came out of it pretty well with
Hovstad. Oh yes; but it isn't anything more than a sort of truce.
Billing. That is just what it is! That word sums up the
Dr. Stockmann. We must remember that Peter is a lonely man, poor
chap. He has no home comforts of any kind; nothing but
everlasting business. And all that infernal weak tea wash that he
pours into himself! Now then, my boys, bring chairs up to the
table. Aren't we going to have that toddy, Katherine?
Mrs. Stockmann (going into the dining-room). I am just getting
Dr. Stockmann. Sit down here on the couch beside me, Captain
Horster. We so seldom see you. Please sit down, my friends.
(They sit down at the table. MRS. STOCKMANN brings a tray, with a
spirit-lamp, glasses, bottles, etc., upon it.)
Mrs. Stockmann. There you are! This is arrack, and this is rum,
and this one is the brandy. Now every one must help themselves.