(SCENE,--The same. The door into the dining room is shut. It is
morning. MRS. STOCKMANN, with a sealed letter in her hand, comes
in from the dining room, goes to the door of the DOCTOR'S study,
and peeps in.)
Mrs. Stockmann. Are you in, Thomas?
Dr. Stockmann (from within his room). Yes, I have just come in.
(Comes into the room.) What is it?
Mrs. Stockmann. A letter from your brother.
Dr. Stockmann. Aha, let us see! (Opens the letter and reads:) "I
return herewith the manuscript you sent me" (reads on in a low
Mrs. Stockmann. What does he say?
Dr. Stockmann (putting the papers in his pocket). Oh, he only
writes that he will come up here himself about midday.
Mrs. Stockmann. Well, try and remember to be at home this time.
Dr. Stockmann. That will be all right; I have got through all my
Mrs. Stockmann. I am extremely curious to know how he takes it.
Dr. Stockmann. You will see he won't like it's having been I, and
not he, that made the discovery.
Mrs. Stockmann. Aren't you a little nervous about that?
Dr. Stockmann. Oh, he really will be pleased enough, you know.
But, at the same time, Peter is so confoundedly afraid of
anyone's doing any service to the town except himself.
Mrs. Stockmann. I will tell you what, Thomas--you should be good
natured, and share the credit of this with him. Couldn't you make
out that it was he who set you on the scent of this discovery?
Dr. Stockmann. I am quite willing. If only I can get the thing
set right. I--
(MORTEN KIIL puts his head in through the door leading from the
hall, looks around in an enquiring manner, and chuckles.)
Morten Kiil (slyly). Is it--is it true?
Mrs. Stockmann (going to the door). Father!--is it you?
Dr. Stockmann. Ah, Mr. Kiil--good morning, good morning!
Mrs. Stockmann. But come along in.
Morten Kiil. If it is true, I will; if not, I am off.
Dr. Stockmann. If what is true?
Morten Kiil. This tale about the water supply, is it true?
Dr. Stockmann. Certainly it is true, but how did you come to hear
Morten Kid (coming in). Petra ran in on her way to the school--
Dr. Stockmann. Did she?
Morten Kiil. Yes; and she declares that--I thought she was only
making a fool of me-- but it isn't like Petra to do that.
Dr. Stockmann. Of course not. How could you imagine such a thing!
Morten Kiil. Oh well, it is better never to trust anybody; you
may find you have been made a fool of before you know where you
are. But it is really true, all the same?
Dr. Stockmann. You can depend upon it that it is true. Won't you
sit down? (Settles him on the couch.) Isn't it a real bit of luck
for the town--
Morten Kiil (suppressing his laughter). A bit of luck for the
Dr. Stockmann. Yes, that I made the discovery in good time.
Morten Kiil (as before). Yes, yes, Yes!--But I should never have
thought you the sort of man to pull your own brother's leg like
Dr. Stockmann. Pull his leg!
Mrs. Stockmann. Really, father dear--
Morten Kiil (resting his hands and his chin on the handle of his
stick and winking slyly at the DOCTOR). Let me see, what was the
story? Some kind of beast that had got into the water-pipes,
Dr. Stockmann. Infusoria--yes.
Morten Kiil. And a lot of these beasts had got in, according to
Petra--a tremendous lot.
Dr. Stockmann. Certainly; hundreds of thousands of them,
Morten Kiil. But no one can see them--isn't that so?
Dr. Stockmann. Yes; you can't see them,
Morten Kiil (with a quiet chuckle). Damn--it's the finest story
I have ever heard!
Dr. Stockmann. What do you mean?
Morten Kiil. But you will never get the Mayor to believe a thing