Dr. Stockmann. We shall see.
Morten Kiil. Do you think he will be fool enough to--?
Dr. Stockmann. I hope the whole town will be fools enough.
Morten Kiil. The whole town! Well, it wouldn't be a bad thing. It
would just serve them right, and teach them a lesson. They think
themselves so much cleverer than we old fellows. They hounded me
out of the council; they did, I tell you--they hounded me out.
Now they shall pay for it. You pull their legs too, Thomas!
Dr. Stockmann. Really, I--
Morten Kiil. You pull their legs! (Gets up.) If you can work it
so that the Mayor and his friends all swallow the same bait, I
will give ten pounds to a charity--like a shot!
Dr. Stockmann. That is very kind of you.
Morten Kiil. Yes, I haven't got much money to throw away, I can
tell you; but, if you can work this, I will give five pounds to a
charity at Christmas.
(HOVSTAD comes in by the hall door.)
Hovstad. Good morning! (Stops.) Oh, I beg your pardon
Dr. Stockmann. Not at all; come in.
Morten Kiil (with another chuckle). Oho!--is he in this too?
Hovstad. What do you mean?
Dr. Stockmann. Certainly he is.
Morten Kiil. I might have known it! It must get into the papers.
You know how to do it, Thomas! Set your wits to work. Now I must
Dr. Stockmann. Won't you stay a little while?
Morten Kiil. No, I must be off now. You keep up this game for all
it is worth; you won't repent it, I'm damned if you will!
(He goes out; MRS. STOCKMANN follows him into the hall.)
Dr. Stockmann (laughing). Just imagine--the old chap doesn't
believe a word of all this about the water supply.
Hovstad. Oh that was it, then?
Dr. Stockmann. Yes, that was what we were talking about. Perhaps
it is the same thing that brings you here?
Hovstad. Yes, it is, Can you spare me a few minutes, Doctor?
Dr. Stockmann. As long as you like, my dear fellow.
Hovstad. Have you heard from the Mayor yet?
Dr. Stockmann. Not yet. He is coming here later.
Hovstad. I have given the matter a great deal of thought since
Dr. Stockmann. Well?
Hovstad. From your point of view, as a doctor and a man of
science, this affair of the water supply is an isolated matter. I
mean, you do not realise that it involves a great many other
Dr. Stockmann. How, do you mean?--Let us sit down, my dear
fellow. No, sit here on the couch. (HOVSTAD Sits down on the
couch, DR. STOCKMANN On a chair on the other side of the table.)
Now then. You mean that--?
Hovstad. You said yesterday that the pollution of the water was
due to impurities in the soil.
Dr. Stockmann. Yes, unquestionably it is due to that poisonous
morass up at Molledal.
Hovstad. Begging your pardon, Doctor, I fancy it is due to quite
another morass altogether.
Dr. Stockmann. What morass?
Hovstad. The morass that the whole life of our town is built on
and is rotting in.
Dr. Stockmann. What the deuce are you driving at, Hovstad?
Hovstad. The whole of the town's interests have, little by
little, got into the hands of a pack of officials.
Dr. Stockmann. Oh, come!--they are not all officials.
Hovstad. No, but those that are not officials are at any rate the
officials' friends and adherents; it is the wealthy folk, the old
families in the town, that have got us entirely in their hands.
Dr. Stockmann. Yes, but after all they are men of ability and
Hovstad. Did they show any ability or knowledge when they laid
the conduit pipes where they are now?
Dr. Stockmann. No, of course that was a great piece of stupidity
on their part. But that is going to be set right now.
Hovstad. Do you think that will be all such plain sailing?
Dr., Stockmann. Plain sailing or no, it has got to be done,