Ibsen's An Enemy of Society

Act 1

Translated by Eleanor Marx-Aveling

Evening. DR STOCKMANN'S sitting-room; with simple but cheerful furniture and decorations. In the wall to the right are two doors, the first leading to the Doctor's study, the second to an ante-room. In the opposite wall, facing the ante-room door, a door leading to the other rooms. Near the middle of this wall stands the stove, and further towards the foreground a sofa, with looking-glass above it, and in front of it an oval table with a cover. On the table a lighted lamp, with a shade. In the back wall an open door leading to the dining-room. In the latter is seen a dinner-table, with a lamp on it. BILLING is seated at the table, a serviette under his chin. MRS. STOCKMANN stands by the table and hands him a great plate of roast beef. The other seats round thee table are empty; the table is in some disorder, as at the end of a meal.

Mrs. Stockmann. Well, if you're an hour late, Mr. Billing, you must put up with a cold supper.

Billing [eating]. That's excellent, delicious! Mrs. Stockmann You know how Stockmann keeps to regular meal hours–

Mrs. Stockmann. It's all right. Indeed, I think it tastes better like this and eat all by myself, undisturbed.

Mrs. Stockmann. Well, if you are satisfied I– [Listening by door of ante-room.] Surely there's Hovstad coming too!

Billing. Very likely.

[Enter BURGOMASTER STOCKMANN, wearing an overcoat and an official gold-laced cap, and carrying a stick.]

Burgomaster. Good evening, sister-in-law.

Mrs. Stockmann. [coming into the sitting-room]. What, you! Good evening. It is very nice of you to look in.

Burgomaster. I was just passing, and so–[looks towards dining-room.] Ah! I see you've still got company.

Mrs. Stockmann [rather awkwardly]. Oh, no! Not at all; it is quite by chance. [Hurriedly.] Won't you come in and have something?

Burgomaster. I? No, thanks. God forbid I should eat anything hot in the evening; that wouldn't suit my digestion.

Mrs. Stockmann. Oh! just this once–

Burgomaster. No, no. Much obliged to you. I stick to tea and bread and butter. That's more wholesome in the long run–and rather more economical, too.

Mrs. Stockmann. [smiling]. Now, you mustn't think Thomas and I are mere spendthrifts.

Burgomaster. You're not, sister-in-law; far be it from me to say that. [Pointing to Doctor's study.] Perhaps he's not at home?

Mrs. Stockmann. No, he's gone for a short stroll after supper–with the boys.

Burgomaster. Good gracious! Is that healthy? [Listening.] There he is.

Mrs. Stockmann. No, that's not he. [A Knock.] Come in [Enter HOVSTAD, the editor, from the ante-room.] Ah! it's Mr. Hovstad, who–

Hovstad. Yes, you must excuse me, but I was delayed at the printer's. Good-evening, Burgomaster.

Burgomaster [bowing rather stiffly]. Mr. Hovstad! I suppose you've come on business?

Hovstad. Partly. About something for the paper.

Burgomaster. So I supposed. I hear my brother is an extremely prolific contributor to the People's Messenger.

Hovstad. Yes, he writes for the Messenger when he has some truths to speak upon one thing or another.

Mrs. Stockmann [to Hovstad]. But won't you–?

[Points to dining-room.]

Burgomaster. God forbid I should blame him for writing for the class of readers from whom he expects most appreciation. And, personally I've no reason to bear your paper any ill-will, Mr. Hovstad.

Hovstad. No, I should think not.

Burgomaster. On the whole, there's a great deal of toleration in this town. There's much public spirit here. And that because we have one common interest which unites us all in one undertaking that equally concerns all right-thinking citizens.

Hovstad. Yes–the Baths.

Burgomaster. Just so. We have our magnificent new Baths. Yes! The Baths will be the centre of life in this town, Mr. Hovstad, without doubt.

Mrs. Stockmann. That's just what Thomas says.

Burgomaster. How extraordinary the development of our town has been even within the last few years. Money has circulated among the people, there is life and movement. Houses and ground-rents have risen in value.

Hovstad. And the difficulty of getting work is decreasing Burgomaster. And the poor-rates have been most satisfactorily lessened for the possessing class, and will be still further reduced if only we have a really fine summer this year–and plenty of visitors–lots of invalids, who'll give the Baths a reputation.

Hovstad. And I hear there's every prospect of that.

Burgomaster. Things look most promising. Every day inquiries about apartments and so forth come flowing in.

Hovstad. Then the doctor's essay is very opportune.

Burgomaster. Has he been writing something again?

Hovstad. It's something he wrote in the winter; recommending the Baths, and describing the advantageous sanitary conditions of our town. But at the time I didn't use it.

Burgomaster. Ha! I suppose there was some little hitch!

Hovstad. Not at all. But I thought it would be better to wait till the spring, for people are beginning to get ready now for their summer holidays.

Burgomaster. You're right, quite right, Mr. Hovstad.

Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, Thomas is really indefatigable where the Baths are concerned.

Burgomaster. Why, of course, he's one of the staff.

Hovstad. Yes, he was really their creator.

Burgomaster. Was he? I occasionally hear that certain persons are of that opinion. But I should say I too have a modest share in that undertaking.

Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, that's what Thomas is always saying.

Hovstad. Who wants to deny it, Burgomaster? You set the thing going, and put it on a practical footing. Everybody knows that I only meant that the idea originally was the doctor's.

Burgomaster. Yes, certainly my brother has had ideas in his time–worse luck! But when anything is to be set going, we want men of another stamp, Mr. Hovstad. And I should have expected that in this house at least–

Mrs. Stockmann. But, my dear brother-in-law–

Hovstad. Burgomaster, how can you–

Mrs. Stockmann. Do come in and take something, Mr. Hovstad; my husband is sure to be in directly.

Hovstad. Thanks; just a mouthful, perhaps.

[He goes into the dining-room.]

Burgomaster. [speaking in a low voice]. It's extraordinary that people who spring directly from the peasant-class never get rid of a want of tact.

Mrs. Stockmann. But why should you care? Can't you and Thomas share the honour as brothers?

Burgomaster. Yes, one would suppose so; but it seems a share of the honour isn't enough for some persons.

Mrs. Stockmann. How ridiculous! You and Thomas always get on so well together.

[Listening.] There, I think I hear him. [Goes to the door of the ante-room.]

Dr. Stockmann. [laughing without]. Here's a visitor for you, Katrine. Isn't it jolly here? Come in, Captain Horster. Hang your coat up there. Oh! you don't even wear an overcoat? Fancy, Katrine, I caught him in the street, and I could hardly get him to come along. [CAPTAIN HORSTER enters and bows to MRS. STOCKMANN. The Doctor is by the door.] In with you, boys. They're famished again! Come on, Captain; you must have some of our beef.

[He forces HORSTER into the dining-room. EJLIF and MORTEN also join.]

Mrs. Stockmann. But, Thomas, haven't you seen–

Dr.Stockmann [turning round in the doorway]. Oh! is that you, Peter? [Goes up to him and holds out his hand.] Now, this is splendid.

Burgomaster. Unfortunately, I must be off directly–

Dr. Stockmann. Nonsense! We'll have some toddy in a minute. You haven't forgotten the toddy, Katrine?

Mrs. Stockmann. Of course not, the water's boiling.
[She goes into the dining-room.]

Burgomaster. Toddy, too–!

Dr. Stockmann. Yes; sit down, and you'll see how cosy we shall be.

Burgomaster. Thanks; I never join in a drinking-bout.

Dr. Stockmann. But this isn't a drinking-bout.

Burgomaster. It seems to me– [Looks towards the dining-room.] It's wonderful how they can get through all that food.

Dr. Stockmann. [rubbing his hands]. Yes, doesn't it do one good to see young people eat? Always hungry! They must eat! They need strength! It's they who have to stir up the ferment for the after-time, Peter.

Burgomaster. May I ask what there is to be "stirred up," as you call it?

Dr. Stockmann. Well, you'll have to ask the young people that when the time comes. We shall not see it, of course. Two old fogies like us–

Burgomaster. There, there. Surely that's a very extraordinary expression to use–

Dr. Stockmann. Ah! YOU mustn't mind what I say, Peter. For you must know I am so glad and content. I feel so unspeakably happy in the midst of all this growing, germinating life. After all, what a glorious time we do live in. It is as if a new world were springing up around us.

Burgomaster. Do you really think so?

Dr. Stockmann. Well, of course, you can't see this as clearly as I do. You've spent all your life in this place, and so your perceptions have been dulled. But I, who had to live up there in that small hole in the north all those years, hardly ever seeing a soul to speak a stimulating word to me–all this affects me as if I were carried to the midst of a crowded city–

Burgomaster. Hm! City–

Dr. Stockmann. Oh! I know well enough that the conditions of life are small enough compared with many other towns. But here is life–growth, an infinity of things to work for and to strive for; and that is the main point. [Calling.] Katrine, haven't there been any letters?

Mrs. Stockmann [in the dining-room]. No, none at all.

Dr. Stockmann. And then, the comfortable income, Peter! That's something a man learns to appreciate when he has starved as we have–

Burgomaster. Good heavens!–

Dr. Stockmann. Oh yes! you can imagine that we were hard put to it up there. And now we can live like lords! To-day, for example, we had roast beef for dinner, and what's more, we've had some for supper too. Won't you have some! Come along–just look at it, anyhow.

Burgomaster. No, no; certainly not.

Dr. Stockmann. Well, then, look here. Do you see that fine tablecloth?

Burgomaster. Yes, I've noticed it already.

Dr. Stockmann. And we've some nice lamps too. Do you see? Katrine has bought them all out of her savings. And it all helps to make a house so home-like. Doesn't it? Come over here. No, no, no, not there! So–-yes–do you see how the light streams down–I do really think it looks very nice. Eh?

Burgomaster. Yes, when one can afford such luxuries.

Dr. Stockmann. Oh! yes, I can afford it now. Katrine says I earn nearly as much as we spend.

Burgomaster. Yes–nearly!

Dr. Stockmann. Besides, a man of science must live in some style. I'm certain a sheriff, spends much more a-year than I do.

Burgomaster. Yes, I daresay! A member of the superior magistracy!

Dr. Stockmann. Yes, even a mere merchant! Such a fellow spends many times as much.

Burgomaster. Well, that is unavoidable in his position.

Dr. Stockmann. For the rest, I really don't spend anything unnecessarily, Peter. But I can't deny myself the delight of having people about me. I must have them. I, so long isolated, it is a necessity of life for me to see the young, brave, determined, free-thinking, strenuous men gathered around me–and that they are, all of them, sitting there and eating so heartily. I should like you to know more of Hovstad–

Burgomaster. Ah, Hovstad! He was telling me that he is going to give another essay of yours.

Dr. Stockmann. An essay of mine?

Burgomaster. Yes, about the Baths. An article written in the winter–

Dr. Stockmann. Oh! that one–yes. But I don't want that to appear just now.

Burgomaster. Why not? This is the very time for it.

Dr. Stockmann. Well, you may be right, under ordinary circumstances–
[Crosses the room.]

Burgomaster [looking after him]. And what's unusual in the circumstances now?

Dr Stockmann [standing still]. Peter, I can't tell you yet–not this evening, at all events. The circumstances may turn out to be very unusual. On the other hand, there may be nothing at all. Very likely its only my fancy.

Burgomaster. Upon my word, you're very enigmatical. Is there anything in the wind? Anything I'm to be kept in the dark about? I should think that I, who am Chairman–

Dr. Stockmann. And I should think that I– There! don't let's tear one another's hair, Peter.

Burgomaster. God forbid! I am not in the habit of "tearing hair," as you express it. But I must absolutely insist that everything concerning the Baths shall be carried on in a business-like manner, and under proper authority. I can't consent to the following of devious and underhand ways.

Dr. Stockmann. And am I in the habit of following devious and underhand ways?

Burgomaster. Anyhow, you've an ingrained propensity for going your own way. And that in a well-ordered community is almost as dangerous. The individual must submit himself to the whole community, or, to speak more correctly, bow to the authority that watches over the welfare of all.

Dr. Stockmann. Maybe. But what the devil has that to do with me?

Burgomaster. Well, it's just this, my dear Thomas, that it seems you won't learn. But take care; you'll have to pay for it one of these days. Now, I've warned you. Good-bye.

Dr. Stockmann. Are you quite mad? You're altogether on the wrong tack.

Burgomaster. I'm not in the habit of being that. And I must beg that you will– [Bowing towards dining-room.] Good-bye, sister-in-law; good-bye, gentlemen. [Exit].

Mrs. Stockmann [entering the room]. Is he gone?

Dr. Stockmann. Yes, and in an awful rage, too.

Mrs. Stockmann. But, dear Thomas, now what have you been up to again?

Dr. Stockmann. Nothing at all. Surely he can't expect me to account for everything–beforehand.

Mrs. Stockmann. And what are you to account to him for?

Dr. Stockmann. Hm! Never mind about that, Katrine. It's very odd that there are no letters.

[HOVSTAD, BILLING, and HORSTER have risen from table and come into room. EJLIF and MORTEN enter soon after.]

Billing. [stretching his arm]. Ah! God bless me! After a good meal one feels a new man.

Hovstad. The Burgomaster didn't seem in the best of tempers to-day.

Dr. Stockmann. That's his stomach. He has a very poor digestion.

Hovstad. It's more especially us of the Messenger that he can't stomach.

Mrs. Stockmann. I thought you got on with him well enough.

Hovstad. Oh, yes! But now we've only a truce.

Billing. That's so. That word quite sums up the situation.

Dr. Stockmann. We must bear in mind that Peter is a bachelor, poor devil! He has no home to be happy in, only business, business. And then that cursed weak tea, that's about all he takes. Now, then, put chairs round the table, boys! Katrine, aren't we to have that punch soon?

Mrs. Stockmann. [going towards dining-room]. I'm just getting it.

Dr. Stockmann. And you, Captain Horster, sit down by me on the sofa. So rare a guest as you–Be seated, gentlemen.

[The men sit round the table, Mrs. STOCKMANN brings in a tray with kettle, glasses, water-bottles, etc.]

Mrs. Stockmann. There you are! Here's arrak, and this is rum, and this cognac. Now, help yourselves.

Dr. Stockmann [taking a glass]. So we will! [ While the toddy is being mixed.] And now out with the cigars. Ejlif, you know where the box is. And you, Morten, may fetch my pipe. [The boys go to the room right.] I have a suspicion Ejlif cribs a cigar now and then, but I pretend not to notice it. [Calls.] And my skullcap, Morten. Katrine, can't you tell him where I left it Ah! he's got it [The boys bring in the things.] Now, friends, help yourselves. You know I stick to my pipe;–this one has been on many a stormy journey with me up there in the north. [They touch glasses.] Your health! There's nothing like sitting here, warm and sheltered.

Mrs. Stockmann [who sits knitting]. When do you sail Captain Horster?

Horster. I hope I shall have everything straight by next week.

Mrs. Stockmann. And you're going to America?

Horster. Yes, that's my intention.

Billing. But then you won't be able to take part in the election of the new council.

Horster. Is there to be a new election here?

Billing. Didn't you know?

Horster. No, I don't bother about things of that sort.

Billing. But I suppose you take an interest in public affairs.

Horster. No, I don't understand anything about them.

Billing. Still one ought to make use of one's vote.

Horster. Even those who don't understand anything about it?

Billing. Understand? Now, what do you mean by that? Society is like a ship; every man must help in the steering.

Horster. That may be all right on shore, but at sea it would not do at all.

Hovstad. It is very remarkable how little most seafaring folk care about public matters.

Billing. Most extraordinary.

Dr. Stockmann. Seafaring folk are like birds of passage; they feel at home both in the south and in the north. So the rest of us have to be all the more energetic, Mr. Hovstad. Will there be anything of public interest in the People's Messenger to-morrow?

Hovstad. Nothing of local interest. But the day after to-morrow I'm thinking of using your paper–

Dr. Stockmann. Yes–d–n it all, I say, you'll have to hold that over.

Hovstad. Really? And we'd just got room for it. I should say, too, that this was the very time for it–

Dr. Stockmann. Yes, yes, you may be right, but you'll have to hold it over all the same. I'll explain to you by-and-by–

[PETRA enters with hat and cloak on, with a number of exercise books under her arm. She comes in from the ante-room.]

Petra. Good evening!

Dr Stockmann. Good evening, Petra! Is that you?

[They all bow. PETRA puts cloak and books on a chair by the door.]

Petra. Here you all are, enjoying yourselves, while I've been out slaving!

Dr. Stockmann. Well, then, you come and enjoy yourself too.

Billing. May I mix you a little–?

Petra. [coming towards the table]. Thanks, I'll help myself–you always make it too strong. But by the way father, I've a letter for you.

[Goes to the chair where her things are lying.]

Dr. Stockmann. A letter! From whom?

Petra [searching the pocket of her cloak]. I got it from the postman just as I was going out–

Dr. Stockmann [rising and going towards her]. And you only bring it me now?

Petra. I really hadn't time to run up again. Forgive me, father–here it is.

Dr. Stockmann [taking letter]. Let me see, let me see, child. [Reads the address]. Yes; allright!

Mrs. Stockmann. It is the one you've been expecting so, Thomas.

Dr. Stockmann. Yes, it is. Now, I must go to my room at once. Where shall I find a light, Katrine? Is there a lamp in the other room?

Mrs. Stockmann. Yes–the lamp is lit. It's on the writing table.

Dr. Stockmann. Excuse me one moment.

[He goes to room R. and closes door]

Petra.What can it be, mother?

Mrs. Stockmann. I don't know. For the last few days he has been always on the look-out for the postman.

Billing. Probably a country patient.

Petra. Poor father! He really works too hard. [Mixes her toddy.] Ah! that'll be good.

Hovstad. Have you been teaching in the night school as well to-day?

Petra [sipping her glass]. Two hours.

Billing. And in morning four hours at the Institute–

Petra [sitting down by table]. Five hours.

Mrs. Stockmann. And I see you've some exercises to correct this evening.

Petra. Yes, quite a heap of them.

Horster. You've enough to do, it seems to me.

Petra. Yes; but that's a good thing. One is so delightfully tired after it.

Billing. Do you really think that?

Petra. Yes, for then one sleeps so well.

Morten. I say, Petra, you must be a very great sinner.

Petra. A sinner!

Morten. Yes, if you work so hard. Mr Rorlund says work is a punishment for our sins.

Ejlif [with a superior air]. Bosh! You are a child to believe such stuff as that.

Mrs. Stockmann. Come, come, Ejlif.

Billing [laughing]. No! that's too rich!

Hovstad. Would you like to work so hard, Morten?

Morten. No, I shouldn't.

Hovstad. Yes; but what will you turn out then?

Morten. I should like to be a Viking.

Ejlif. But then you'd have to be a heathen.

Morten. Then I'd be a heathen.

Billing. There I agree with you, Morten. I say just the same.

Mrs. Stockmann [making a sign to him]. No, no, Mr. Billing, you don't.

Billing. God bless me! I should. I'm a heathen, and I'm proud of it. You'll see we shall all be heathens soon.

Morten. And shall we be able to do anything we like then?

Billing. Well, you see, Morten–

Mrs. Stockmann. Now, run away, boys; I'm sure you've some lessons to prepare for to-morrow.

Ejlif. I may stay just a little longer.

Mrs. Stockmann. No, not you either. Now be off, both of you.

[ The boys say good-night and go off by room L.]

Hovstad. Do you think it does the boys any harm to hear these things?

Mrs. Stockmann. Well, I don't know; but I don't like it.

Petra. But mother, I think that's ridiculous of you.

Mrs. Stockmann. Maybe! But I don't like it–here, at home.

Petra. There's so much falseness both at home and at school. At home you mustn't speak, and at school you have to stand there and lie to the children.

Horster. You have to lie?

Petra. Yes; don't you know that we have to teach many and many a thing we don't believe ourselves.

Billing. Yes, we know that well enough.

Petra. If only I could afford it I'd start a school myself, and things should be very different there.

Billing. Ah! as to means–

Horster. If you are really thinking of doing that, Miss Stockmann, I shall be delighted to let you have a room at my place. My big old house is nearly empty; there's a large dining-room on the ground floor–

Petra [laughing]. Yes, yes, thank you–but nothing will come of it.

Hovstad. Oh no! Miss Petra will yet come over to the journalists, I fancy. By-the-way, have you done anything at the English novel you promised to translate for us?– Petra. Not yet. But you shall have it in good time.

[DR. STOCKMANN enters from his room with the letter open in his hand]

Dr. Stockmann. [flourishing the letter]. Here's some news, I think, will wake up the town!

Billing. News?

Mrs. Stockmann. What news?

Dr. Stockmann. A great discovery, Katrine.

Hovstad. What?

Mrs. Stockmann. Made by you?

Dr. Stockmann. Yes–by me! [Walks up and down.] Now, let them come as usual, and say these are fads and crack-brained fancies. But they'll not dare to. Ha! ha! I know they won't.

Petra. Father, do tell us what it is.

Dr. Stockmann. Well, well, give me time, and you shall hear all about it. If only Peter were here now! There, you see how we men can go about and form judgments like blind moles–

Hovstad. What do you mean, doctor?

Dr. Stockmann [standing near table]. Is it not the general opinion that the town is healthy?

Hovstad. Of course.

Dr. Stockmann. Indeed, a quite exceptionally healthy place, worthy to be recommended in the warmest manner to our fellow-men, both the sick and the whole–

Mrs. Stockmann. My dear Thomas–

Dr. Stockmann. And we've recommended and belauded it too. I have written again and again, both in the Messenger and in pamphlets–

Hovstad. Yes, and what then?

Dr. Stockmann. These Baths, that we have called the pulse of the town, the living nerves of the town–and the devil knows what else–

Billing. "The town's palpitating heart"–it was thus that in one inspired moment I allowed myself to–

Dr. Stockmann. Ah, yes! that also! But do you know what in reality these mighty, magnificent, belauded Baths–that have cost so much money–do you know what they are?

Hovstad. No, what are they?

Mrs. Stockmann. Why, what are they?

Dr. Stockmann. The whole place is a pest-house.

Petra. The Baths, father?

Mrs. Stockmann [at the same time]. Our Baths!

Hovstad. [also at the same time]. But, doctor–!

Billing. Oh! it's incredible.

Dr. Stockmann. The whole place, I tell you, is a whited sepulchre; noxious in the highest degree. All that filth up there in the mill dale, with its horrible stench, taints the water in the feed-pipes of the Baths; and the same d–d muck oozes out on the shore–

Hovstad. Where the sea Baths are?

Dr. Stockmann. There.

Hovstad. But how are you so certain of all this, doctor?

Dr. Stockmann. I have investigated the conditions as conscientiously as possible. This long time I have had my doubts about it. Last year we had some extraordinary cases of illness–both typhoid and gastric attacks–

Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, I remember.

Dr. Stockmann. At the time we thought the visitors had brought the infection with them; but since–last winter–I came to another conclusion. So I set about examining the water as well as I could.

Mrs. Stockmann. It was this you were working so hard at!

Dr. Stockmann. Yes, you may well say I've worked, Katrine. But here, you know, I hadn't the necessary scientific appliances, so I sent both our drinking and seawater to the university for an exact analysis by a chemist.

Hovstad. And you have now received it?

Dr. Stockmann [shewing letter]. Here it is. And it proves beyond dispute the presence of organic matter in the water–millions of infusoria. It is absolutely injurious to health whether used internally or externally.

Mrs. Stockmann. What a blessing you found it out in time.

Dr. Stockmann. Yes, you may well say that.

Hovstad. And what do you intend to do now, doctor?

Dr. Stockmann. Why, set things right, of course.

Hovstad. Do you think that can be done?

Dr Stockmann. It must be done. Else the whole Baths are useless, ruined. But there's no need for that. I'm quite clear as to what will have to be done.

Mrs. Stockmann. But, my dear Thomas, that you should have kept all this so secret!

Dr. Stockmann. Would you have had me rush all over the town and chatter about it before I was quite certain? No, thanks ! I'm not so mad as that.

Petra. But us at home–

Dr. Stockmann. Not one word to a living soul. But to-morrow you may run in to the Badger.

Mrs. Stockmann. Oh! Thomas–

Dr. Stockmann. Well, well, to your grandfather. He'll have something to wonder at now, the old fellow. He thinks I'm not all right in my head–yes, and there are plenty of others who think the same, I've noticed. But now the good folk will see–now they will see! [Walks up and down rubbing his hands.] What a stir there'll be in the town, Katrine! You can't imagine what it will be! All the water-pipes will have to be re-laid.

Hovstad [rising]. All the water-pipes?

Dr. Stockmann. Why, of course. They've been laid too low down; they must be moved up to higher ground.

Petra. So, after all, you are right.

Dr. Stockmann. Yes, do you remember, Petra? I wrote against it when they began building them. But then no one would listen to me. Now, be sure, I'll speak straight out, for, of course, I have written a report to the Directors. It has been lying there ready a whole week; I've only been waiting for this letter. [Points to letter] But now they shall have it at once. [Goes into his room and returns with a packet of papers.] See! Four closely-written sheets. And the letter shall go too. A newspaper Katrine! Get me something to wrap them up in. There–that's it. Give it to–to– [Stamps.] What the devil's her name? Well, give it to the girl, and tell her to take it at once to the Burgomaster.

[MRS. STOCKMANN goes out with packet through the dining room.]

Petra. What do you think Uncle Peter will say, father?

Dr. Stockmann. What should he say? He'll be delighted that so important a fact has been discovered, I fancy.

Hovstad. I suppose you'll let me write a short notice about your discovery for the Messenger.

Dr. Stockmann. Yes, I should be really obliged to you.

Hovstad. It is very desirable. The sooner the public know about it the better.

Dr. Stockmann. Yes, so it is.

Mrs. Stockmann [returning]. She's gone with it.

Billing. God bless me, doctor, you're the greatest man in the town.

Dr. Stockmann. [walks up and down delightedly]. Oh, bosh! Why, alter all, I've done no more than my duty. I've been lucky in digging for treasures; that's all; but all the same–

Billing. Hovstad, don't you think the town ought to give Dr. Stockmann a torch-light procession?

Hovstad. I shall certainly see to it.

Billing. And I'll talk it over with Aslaksen.

Dr. Stockmann. No, dear friends. Let all such clap trap alone. I won't hear of anything of the sort. And if the directors want to give me a higher salary, I won't take it. I tell you, Katrine, I will not take it.

Mrs. Stockmann. And you will be right, Thomas.

Petra [raising her glass]. Your health, father.

Hovstad and Billing. Your health, your health, doctor!

Horster [touching glasses with the doctor]. I wish you much joy of your discovery.

Dr. Stockmann. Thanks, thanks, my good friends. I am so heartily glad;–ah ! it is in truth a blessing to know in one's own mind that one has deserved well of his native town and his fellow-citizens. Hurrah! Katrine!

[He seizes her with both hands, and whirls her round with him. Mrs. Stockmann screams and struggles. A burst of laughter, applause, and cheers for the doctor. The boys thrust in their heads in at the door]