Dr. Stockmann (taking a glass). We will. (They all mix themselves
some toddy.) And let us have the cigars. Ejlif, you know where
the box is. And you, Morten, can fetch my pipe. (The two boys go
into the room on the right.) I have a suspicion that Ejlif
pockets a cigar now and then!--but I take no notice of it. (Calls
out.) And my smoking-cap too, Morten. Katherine, you can tell him
where I left it. Ah, he has got it. (The boys bring the various
things.) Now, my friends. I stick to my pipe, you know. This one
has seen plenty of bad weather with me up north. (Touches glasses
with them.) Your good health! Ah, it is good to be sitting snug
and warm here,
Mrs. Stockmann (who sits knitting). Do you sail soon, Captain
Horster. I expect to be ready to sail next week.
Mrs. Stockmann. I suppose you are going to America?
Horster. Yes, that is the plan.
Mrs. Stockmann. Then you won't be able to take part in the coming
Horster. Is there going to be an election?
Billing. Didn't you know?
Horster. No, I don't mix myself up with those things.
Billing. But do you not take an interest in public affairs?
Horster. No, I don't know anything about politics.
Billing. All the same, one ought to vote, at any rate.
Horster. Even if one doesn't know anything about what is going
Billing. Doesn't know! What do you mean by that? A community is
like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.
Horster. Maybe that is all very well on shore; but on board ship
it wouldn't work.
Hovstad. It is astonishing how little most sailors care about
what goes on on shore.
Billing. Very extraordinary.
Dr. Stockmann. Sailors are like birds of passage; they feel
equally at home in any latitude. And that is only an additional
reason for our being all the more keen, Hovstad. Is there to be
anything of public interest in tomorrow's "Messenger"?
Hovstad. Nothing about municipal affairs. But the day after
tomorrow I was thinking of printing your article--
Dr. Stockmann. Ah, devil take it--my article! Look here, that
must wait a bit.
Hovstad. Really? We had just got convenient space for it, and I
thought it was just the opportune moment--
Dr. Stockmann. Yes, yes, very likely you are right; but it must
wait all the same. I will explain to you later. (PETRA comes in
from the hall, in hat and cloak and with a bundle of exercise
books under her arm.)
Petra. Good evening.
Dr. Stockmann. Good evening, Petra; come along.
(Mutual greetings; PETRA takes off her things and puts them down
on a chair by the door.)
Petra. And you have all been sitting here enjoying yourselves,
while I have been out slaving!
Dr. Stockmann. Well, come and enjoy yourself too!
Billing. May I mix a glass for you?
Petra (coming to the table). Thanks, I would rather do it; you
always mix it too strong. But I forgot, father--I have a letter
for you. (Goes to the chair where she has laid her things.)
Dr. Stockmann. A letter? From whom?
Petra (looking in her coat pocket). The postman gave it to me
just as I was going out.
Dr. Stockmann (getting up and going to her). And you only give to
Petra. I really had not time to run up again. There it is!
Dr. Stockmann (seizing the letter). Let's see, let's see, child!
(Looks at the address.) Yes, that's all right!
Mrs. Stockmann. Is it the one you have been expecting go
Dr. Stockmann. Yes, it is. I must go to my room now and-- Where
shall I get a light, Katherine? Is there no lamp in my room
Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, your lamp is already lit on your desk.
Dr. Stockmann. Good, good. Excuse me for a moment--, (Goes into
Petra. What do you suppose it is, mother?
Mrs. Stockmann. I don't know; for the last day or two he has
always been asking if the postman has not been,
Billing. Probably some country patient.
Petra. Poor old dad!--he will overwork himself soon. (Mixes a
glass for herself.) There, that will taste good!
Hovstad. Have you been teaching in the evening school again
Petra (sipping from her glass). Two hours.
Billing. And four hours of school in the morning?
Petra. Five hours.
Mrs. Stockmann. And you have still got exercises to correct, I
Petra. A whole heap, yes.
Horster. You are pretty full up with work too, it seems to me.
Petra. Yes--but that is good. One is so delightfully tired after
Billing. Do you like that?
Petra. Yes, because one sleeps so well then.
Morten. You must be dreadfully wicked, Petra.
Morten. Yes, because you work so much. Mr. Rorlund says work is a
punishment for our sins.
Ejlif. Pooh, what a duffer, you are, to believe a thing like
Mrs. Stockmann. Come, come, Ejlif!
Billing (laughing). That's capital!
Hovstad. Don't you want to work as hard as that, Morten?
Morten. No, indeed I don't.
Hovstad. What do you want to be, then?
Morten. I should like best to be a Viking,
Ejlif. You would have to be a pagan then.
Morten. Well, I could become a pagan, couldn't I?
Billing. I agree with you, Morten! My sentiments, exactly.
Mrs. Stockmann (signalling to him). I am sure that is not true,
Billing. Yes, I swear it is! I am a pagan, and I am proud of it.
Believe me, before long we shall all be pagans.
Morten. And then shall be allowed to do anything we like?
Billing. Well, you'll see, Morten.
Mrs. Stockmann. You must go to your room now, boys; I am sure you
have some lessons to learn for tomorrow.
Ejlif. I should like so much to stay a little longer--
Mrs. Stockmann. No, no; away you go, both of you, (The boys say
good night and go into the room on the left.)
Hovstad. Do you really think it can do the boys any harm to hear
Mrs. Stockmann. I don't know; but I don't like it.
Petra. But you know, mother, I think you really are wrong about
Mrs. Stockmann. Maybe, but I don't like it--not in our own home.
Petra. There is so much falsehood both at home and at school. At
home one must not speak, and at school we have to stand and tell
lies to the children.