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Full text of "Henrik Ibsen"

THE COLLECTED WORKS OF 

HENRIK IBSEN 




VOLUME VIII 

AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE 
THE W^ILD DUCK 



J^ 



THE COLLECTED WORKS OF 

HENRIK IBSEN 

Copyright Edition. Complete in 1 2 Volumes 

Cloth, 12mo. Price %l. 00 each 
Ldm-p Leather, IQmo. Price $1.25 net each 

ENTIRELY REVISED AND EDITED BY 
WILLIAM ARCHER 



Volume I. Feast of Solhaug, Lady Inger, Love's 
Comedy 
II. The Vikings at Helgeland, The Pre- 
tenders 
III. Brand 
IV PeerGynt 

V. Emperor and Galilean. (2 parts) 
VI. League of Youth, Pillars of Society 
VII. A Doll's Houpe, Ghosts 
VIII. Enemy of the People, Wild Duck 
IX. Rosmersholm, Lady from the Sea 
X. Hedda Gabler, Master Builder 
XI. Little Eyolf , John Gabriel Borkman, 
When We Dead Awaken 
" XII. A Volume of Hitherto Untranslated 
Material. (In preparation) 

The Like of Henrik Ibsen 

By Edmund Gosse . . . Cloth, $1.00 net 

Limp leather, $1.25 net 

The above 13 volumes in a box . Cloth, $13.00 

13 " " Limp leather, $16.25 



CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 



(THE COLLECTED WORKS OF^ 

HENRIK IBSEN 

Copyright Edition 

(volume VUl) 

AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE 

THE WILD DUCK 

WITH INTRODUCTIONS BY 

WILLIAM ARCHER 




NEW YORK 

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 

1910 






I 



INTRODUCTIONS BY WILLIAM ARCHER 
Copyright, 1907, by Charles Scribner's Sontt 




CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Introduction to "An Enemy of the People" . vii 
Introduction to "The Wild Duck" . - . xvii 



" An Enemy of the People " 1 

Translated by Mas. Eleanor Marx-Aveling 

**The Wild Duck" . . . . . . . .189 

Translated by Mrs. Frances E. Archer 



AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 



IlSrTRODUCTION* 

From Pillars of Society to John Gabriel Borh- 
man, all Ibsen's plays, with one exception, suc- 
ceeded each other at intervals of two years. The 
single exception was An Enemy of the People. 
The storm of obloquy which greeted Ghosts 
stirred him to unwonted rapidity of production. 
Ghosts had appeared in December 1881; already, 
in the spring of 1882, Ibsen, then living in Rome, 
was at work upon its successor; and he finished 
it at Gossensass, in the Tyrol, in the early au- 
tumn. It appeared in Copenhagen at the end 
of November. 

John Paulsen^ relates an anecdote of the 
poet's extreme secretiveness during the process 
of composition, which may find a place here: 
" One summer he was travelling by rail with 
his wife and son. He was engaged upon a new 
play at the time; but neither Fru Ibsen nor 
Sigurd had any idea as to what it was about. 
Of course they were both very curious. It hap- 
pened that, at a station, Ibsen left the carriage 
for a few moments. As he did so he dropped a 

» Samliv med Ibsen, p. 173. 
* Copyright, 1907, by Charlea Scribner's Sons. 

vii 



Vlll AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 



scrap of paper. His wife picked it up, and read 
on it only the words, * The doctor says. . . .' 
Nothing* more. Fru Ibsen showed it laughingly 
to Sigurd, and said, 'Now we will tease your 
father a little when he comes back. He will be 
horrified to find that we know anything of his 
play.' When Ibsen entered his carriage his 
wife looked at him roguishly, and said, ' What 
doctor is it that figures in your new piece? I 
am sure he must have many interesting things 
to say.' But if she could have foreseen the effect 
of her innocent jest, Fru Ibsen would certainly 
have held her tongue. For Ibsen was speechless 
with surprise and rage. When at last he re- 
covered his speech, it was to utter a torrent of 
reproaches. What did this mean? Was he not 
safe in his own house ? Was he surrounded with 
spies? Had his locks been tampered with, his 
desk rifled? And so forth, and so forth. His 
wife, who had listened with a quiet smile to the 
rising tempest of his wrath, at last handed him 
the scrap of paper. ' We know nothing more 
than what is written upon this slip which you 
let fall. Allow me to return it to you.' There 
stood Ibsen crestfallen. All his suspicions had 
vanished into thin air. The play on which he 
was occupied proved to be An Enemy of the 
Peophy and the doctor was none other than our 
old friend Stockmann, the good-hearted and 
muddleheaded reformer, for whom Jonas Lie 
partly served as a model." 

The indignation which glows in An Enemy of 
the People was kindled, in the main, by the atti- 
tude adopted towards Ghosts by the Norwegian 
Liberal press and the "compact majority" it 



NTRODUCTION. IX 



represented. But the image on which the play- 
rings the changes was present to the poet's mind 
before Ghosts was written. On December 19, 
1879 — a fortnight after the publication of A 
DolVs House — Ibsen wrote to Professor Dietrich- 
son : " It appears to me doubtful whether better 
artistic conditions can be attained in Norway 
before the intellectual soil has been thoroughly 
turned up and cleansed, and all the swamps 
drained off." Here we have clearly the germ of 
An Enemy of the People. The image so took 
hold of Ibsen that after applying it to social 
life in this play, he recurred to it in The Wild 
Duck, in relation to the individual life. 

The mood to which we definitely owe An 
Enemy of the People appears very clearly in a 
letter to George Brandes, dated January 3, 1882, 
in which Ibsen thanks him for his criticism of 
Ghosts. " What are we to say," he proceeds, 
" of the attitude taken up by the so-called Lib- 
eral press — by those leaders who speak and write 
about freedom of action and thought, and at the 
same time make themselves the slaves of the 
supposed opinions of their subscribers? I am 
more and more confirmed in my belief that 
there is something demoralising in engaging in 
politics and joining parties. I, at any rate, shall 
never be able to join a party which has the ma- 
jority on its side. Bjornson says, * The majority 
is always right ' ; and as a practical politician he 
is bound, I suppose, to say so. I on the con- 
trary, of necessity say, ^ The minority is always 
right.' Naturally I am not thinking of that 
minority of stagnationists who are left behind by 
the great middle party, which with us is called 



AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 



Liberal; I mean that minority which leads the 
van, and pushes on to points which the majority- 
has not yet reached. I hold that that man is 
in the right who is most closely in league with 
the future." 

The same letter closes with a passage which 
foreshadows not only An Enemy of the People, 
but Rosmersholm : " When I think how slow and 
heavy and dull the general intelligence is at 
home, when I notice the low standard by which 
everything is judged, a deep despondency comes 
over me, and it often seems to me that I might 
just as well end my literary activity at once. 
They really do not need poetry at home; they 
get along so well with the Parliamentary News 
and the Lutheran Weekly. And then they have 
their party papers. I have not the gifts that go 
to make a good citizen, nor yet the gift of ortho- 
doxy; and what I possess no gift for I keep out 
of. Liberty is the first and highest condition for 
me. At home they do not trouble much about 
liberty, but only about liberties, a few more or 
a few less, according to the standpoint of their 
party. I feel, too, most painfully affected by the 
crudity, the plebeian element, in all our public 
discussion. The very praiseworthy attempt to 
make of our people a democratic community has 
inadvertently gone a good way towards making 
us a plebeian community. Distinction of soul 
seems to be on the decline at home." 

So early as March 16, 1882, Ibsen announces 
to his publisher that he is " fully occupied with 
preparations for a new play." " This time," he 
says, " it will be a peaceable production which 
can be read by Ministers of State and whole* 



INTRODUCTION. XI 



sale merchants and their ladies, and from which 
the theatres will not be obliged to recoil. Its 
execution will come very easy to me, and I shall 
do my best to have it ready pretty early in the 
autumn." In this he was successful. From 
Gossensass on September Cj he wrote to Hegel: 
"I have the pleasure of sending you herewith 
the remainder of the manuscript of my new 
play. I have enjoyed writing this piece, and I 
feel quite lost and lonely now that it is out of 
hand. Dr. Stockmann and I got on excellently 
together; we agree on so many subjects. But the 
Doctor is a more muddleheaded person than I 
am, and he has, moreover, several other charac- 
teristics because of which people will stand hear- 
ing a good many things from him which they 
might perhaps not have taken in such very good 
part had they been said by me." 

A letter to Brandos, written six months after 
the appearance of the play (June 12, 1883), an- 
swers some objection which the critic seems to 
have made — of what nature we can only guess; 
"As to An Enemy of the People^ if we had a 
chance to discuss it I think we should come to a 
tolerable agreement. You are, of course, right 
in urging that we must all work for the spread 
of our opinions. But I maintain that a fighter 
at the intellectual outposts can never gather a 
majority around him. In ten years, perhaps, 
the majority may occupy the standpoint which 
Dr. Stockmann held at the public meeting. But 
during these ten years the Doctor will not have 
been standing still; he will still be at least ten 
years ahead of the majority. The majority, the 
mass, the multitude, can never overtake him; he 



XU AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 



can never have the majority with him. As for 
myself, at all events, I am conscious of this in- 
cessant progression. At the point where I stood 
when I wrote each of my books, there now stands 
a fairly compact multitude; but I myself am 
there no longer; I am elsewhere, and, I hope, 
further ahead." This is a fine saying, and as 
just as it is fine, with respect to the series of 
social plays, down to, and including, Rosmers- 
holm. To the psychological series, which begins 
with The Lady from the Sea, this law of pro- 
gression scarcely applies. The standpoint in 
each is different; but the movement is not so 
much one of intellectual advance as of deepen- 
ing spiritual insight. 

As Ibsen predicted, the Scandinavian theatres 
seized with avidity upon An Enemy of the Peo- 
ple. Between January and March 1883 it was 
produced in Christiania, Bergen, Stockholm, and 
Copenhagen. It has always been very popular 
on the stage, and was the play chosen to repre- 
sent Ibsen in the series of festival performances 
which inaugurated the National Theatre at 
Christiania. The first evening, September 1, 
1899, was devoted to Holberg, the great founder 
of Norwegian-Danish drama; An Enemy of the 
People followed on September 2; and on Sep- 
tember 3 Bjomson held the stage, with Sigurd 
Jorsalfar. Oddly enoug'h, Ein Volksfeind was 
four years old before it found its way to the 
German stage. It was first produced in Berlin, 
March 5, 1887, and has since then been very 
popular throughout Germany. It has even been 
presented at the Court Theatres of Berlin and 
Vienna — a fact which seems remarkable when we 



INTRODUCTION. XUl 



note that in France and Spain it has been 
pressed into the service of anarchism as a revo- 
lutionary manifesto. When first produced in 
Paris in 1895, and again in 1899, it was made 
the occasion of anarchist demonstrations. It was 
the play chosen for representation in Paris on 
Ibsen's seventieth birthday, March 29, 1898. In 
England it was first produced by Mr. Beerbohm 
Tree at the Haymarket Theatre on the after- 
noon of June 14, 1893. Mr. Tree has repeated 
his performance of* Stockmann a good many 
times in London, the provinces, and America. 
He revived the play at His Majesty's Theatre 
in 1905. Mr. Louis Calvert played Stockmann 
at the Gentleman's Concert Hall in Manchester, 
January 27, 1894. I can find no record of any 
performances of the play in America, save Ger- 
man performances and those given by Mr. Tree; 
but it seems incredible that no American actor 
should have been attracted by the part of Stock- 
mann. Een Vijand des Volks was produced in 
Holland in 1884, before it had even been ?een in 
Germany and in Italy. Un Nemico del Popolo 
holds a place in the repertory of the distinguished 
actor Ermete Novelli. 

Of all Ibsen's plays, An Enemy of the People 
is the least poetical, the least imaginative, the 
one which makes least appeal to our sensibilities. 
Even in The League of Youth there is a touch 
of poetic fancy in the character of Selmer ; while 
Pillars of Society is sentimentally conceived 
throughout, and possesses in Martha a figure of 
great, though somewhat conventional, pathos. In 
this play, on the other hand, there is no appeal 
either to the imagination or to the tender emo- 



XIV AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 



tions. It is a straightforward satiric comedy, 
dealing exclusively with the everyday prose of 
life. We have only to compare it with its im- 
mediate predecessor, Ghosts, and its immediate 
successor, The Wild Duck, to feel how absolutely 
different is the imaginative effort, involved in it. 
Realising this, we no longer wonder that the poet 
should have thrown it off in half the time he 
usually required to mature and execute one of 
his creations. 

Yet An Enemy of the ' People takes a high 
place in the second rank of the Ibsen works, in 
virtue of its buoyant vitality, its great technical 
excellence, and the geniality of its humour. It 
seems odd, at first sight, that a distinctly polem- 
ical play, which took its rise in a mood of exas- 
peration, should be perhaps the most amiable of 
all the poet's productions. But the reason is 
fairly obvious. Ibsen's nature was far too com- 
plex, and far too specifically dramatic, to per- 
mit of his giving anything like direct expression 
to a personal mood. The very fact that Dr. 
Stockmann was to utter much of his own indig- 
nation and many of his own ideas forced him 
to make the worthy Doctor in temperament and 
manner as unlike himself as possible. Now bois- 
terous geniality, loquacity, irrepressible rashness 
of utterance, and a total absence of self-criticism 
and self-irony were the very contradiction of 
the poet's own characteristics — at any rate, after 
he had entered upon middle life. He doubtless 
looked round for models who should be his own 
antipodes in these respects. John Paulsen, as 
we have seen, thinks that he took many traits 



INTRODUCTION. XV 



from Jonas Lie ; others say ^ that one yj£ his chief 
models was an old friend named Harald Thau- 
low, the father of the great painter. Be this as 
it may, the very effort to disguise himself natu- 
rally led him to attribute to his protagonist and 
mouthpiece a great superficial amiability. I am 
far from implying that Ibsen's own character 
was essentially unamiable; it would ill become 
one whom he always treated with the utmost 
kindness to say or think anything of the kind. 
But his amiability was not superficial, effusive, 
exuberant; it seldom reached that boiling-point 
which we call geniality; and for that very rea- 
son Thomas Stockmann became the most genial 
of his characters. He may be called Ibsen's 
Colonel Newcome. We have seen from the let- 
ter to Hegel (p. xi) that the poet regarded him 
with much the same ironic affection which 
Thackeray must have felt for that other Thomas 
who, amid many differences, had the same sim- 
ple-minded, large-hearted, child-like nature. 

In technical quality. An Enemy of the People 
is wholly admirable. We have only to compare 
it with Pillars of Society, the last play in which 
Ibsen had painted a broad satiric picture of the 
life of a Norwegian town, to feel how great an 
advance he had made in the intervening five 
years. In naturalness of exposition, suppleness 
of development, and what may be called general 
untheatricality of treatment the later play has 
every possible advantage over the earlier. In 
one point only can it be said that Ibsen has 

> See article by Julius Elias in Die neue Rundschau, De- 
cember 1906, p. 1461. 



XVI AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 



allowed a touch of artificiality to creep in. In 
order to render the peripetia of the third act 
more striking, he has made Hovstad, Billing, 
and Aslaksen, in the earlier scenes, unnaturally 
inapprehensive of the sacrifices implied in Stock- 
mann's scheme of reform. It is scarcely cred- 
ible that they should be so free and emphatic in 
their offers of support to the Doctor's agitation, 
before they have made the smallest inquiry as 
to what it is likely to cost the town. They think, 
it may be said, that the shareholders of the 
Baths will have to bear the whole expense; but 
surely some misgivings could not but cross their 
minds as to whether the shareholders would be 
prepared to do so. 



THE WILD DUCK. 



INTRODUCTION* 

The first mention of The Wild Duck (as yet un- 
named) occurs in a letter from Ibsen to George 
Brandes, dated Rome, June 12, 1883, some six 
months after the appearance of An Enemy of 
the People. " I am revolving in my mind just 
now," he says, " the plan of a new dramatic 
work in four acts. From time to time a variety 
of whimsies gathers in one's mind, and one wants 
to find an outlet for them. But as the play will 
neither deal with the Supreme Court nor with 
the Absolute Veto, nor even with the Pure Flag, 
it can hardly count upon attracting much at- 
tention in Norway. Let us hope, however, that 
it may find a hearing elsewhere." The allusion 
in this passage is to the great constitutional 
struggle of 1880-84, of which some account will 
have to be given in the Introduction to Ros- 
mersholm. The "Pure Flag" agitation aimed 
at, and obtained, the exclusion from the Nor- 
wegian flag of the mark of union with Sweden, 
and was thus a preliminary step towards the 
severance of the two kingdoms. The word which 

* Copyright, 1907, by Charles Scribner's Sons, 

xvii 



XVm THE WILD DUCK, 



I have translated " whimsies " is in the original 
galsJcaher, which might be literally rendered 
" mad fancies " or " crazy notions." This word, 
or galskah in the singular, was Ibsen's favourite 
term for his conceptions , as they grew up in his 
mind. I w^ell remember his saying to me, while 
he was engaged on The Lady from the Sea, 
" I hope to have some tomfoolery [galskah} ready 
for next year." Sometimes he would vary the 
expression and say djcBvelskah, or "devilry." 

Of this particular " tomf ooleiy " we hear no 
more for a full year. Then, at the end of June, 
1884, he writes in almost identical terms to 
Brandes and to Theodor Caspari, announcing its 
completion in the rough. His letter to Caspari 
is dated Kome, June 27. " All last winter," he 
says, " I have been pondering over some new 
whimsies, and have wrestled with them till at 
last they took dramatic form in a five-act play 
which I have just completed. That is to say, I 
have completed the rough draft of it. Now 
comes the more delicate elaboration, the more 
energetic individualisation of the characters and 
their methods of expression. In order to find the 
requisite quiet and solitude for this work, I am 
going in a few days to Gossensass, in the Tyrol." 
This little glimpse into his workshop is particu- 
larly interesting. 

From Gossensass he wrote to Hegel on Sep- 
tember 2 : " Herewith I send you the manuscript 
» of my new play. The Wild Duck, which has occu- 
pied me daily for the past four months, and from 
which I cannot part without a sense of regret. 
The characters in this play, despite their many 
frailties, have, in the course of our long daily 



INTRODUCTION. XIX 



association, endeared themselves to me. How- 
ever, I hope they will also find good and kind 
friends among the great reading public, and not 
least among the player-folk, to whom they all, 
without exception, offer problems worth the solv- 
ing. But the study and presentation of these 
personages will not be easy. . . . This new play 
in some ways occupies a place apart among my 
dramatic productions; its method of develop- 
ment [literally, of advance] is in many respects 
divergent from that of its predecessors. But for 
the present I shall say no more on this subject. 
The critics will no doubt discover the points in 
question; at all events, they will find a good 
deal to wrangle about, a good deal to interpret. 
Moreover, I think The Wild Duck may perhaps 
lure some of our younger dramatists into new 
paths, and this I hold to be desirable." 

The play was published on November 11, 1884, 
and was acted at all the leading theatres of Scan- 
dinavia in January or February, 1885. Ibsen's 
estimate of its acting value was fully justified. 
It everywhere proved itself immensely effective 
on the stage, and Hialmar, Gina, and Hedvig 
have made, or greatly enhanced, the reputation 
of many an actor and actress. Hialmar was one 
of the chief successes of Emil Poulsen, the lead- 
ing Danish actor of his day, who placed the sec- 
ond act of The Wild Duck in the programme of 
his farewell performance. It took more than 
three years for the play to reach the German 
stage. It was first acted in Berlin in March 
1888; but thereafter it rapidly spread through- 
out Germany and Austria, and everywhere took 
firm hold. It was on several occasions, and in 



XX THE WILD DUCK, 



various cities, selected for performance in Ib- 
sen's presence, as representing the best that 
the local theatre could do. In Paris it was 
produced at the Theatre Libre in 1891, and 
was pronounced by Francisque Sarcey to be 
" obscure, incoherent, insupportable," but never- 
theless to leave " a profound impression." In 
London it was first produced by the Independent 
Theatre Society on May 4, 1894, Mr. W. L. 
Abingdon playing Hialmar, and Miss Winifred 
Fraser giving a delightful performance of Hed- 
vig. The late Clement Scott's pronouncement on 
it was that " to make a fuss about so feeble a 
production was to insult dramatic literature and 
to outrage common sense." It was repeated at 
the Globe Theatre in May, 1897, with Mr. Lau- 
rence Irving as Hialmar and Miss Fraser again 
as Hedvig. In October 1905 it was revived at 
the Court Theatre, with Mr. Granville Barker as 
Hialmar and Miss Dorothy Minto as Hedvig. 
Of American performances I find no record. It 
has been acted in Italy and in Greece, I know 
not with what success. The fact that it has no 
part for a " leading lady " has rendered it less 
of an international stock-piece than A DolVs 
HousBj Hedda Gahlery or even Rosmersholm. 

There can be no doubt that The Wild DucJc 
marks a reaction in the poet's mood, following 
upon the eager vivacity wherewith, in ^n Enemy 
of the People, he had flung his defiance at the 
" compact Liberal majority," which, as the recep- 
tion of Ghosts had proved, could not endure to 
be told the truth. Having said his say and lib- 
erated his soul, he now began to ask himself 
whether human nature was, after all, capable of 



INTRODUCTION. XXI 



assimilating the strong' meat of truth — whether 
illusion might not be, for the average man, the 
only thing that could make life livable. It 
would be too much to say that the play gives a 
generally affirmative answer to this question. 
On the contrary, its last lines express pretty 
clearly the poet's firm conviction that if life 
cannot reconcile itself with truth, then life 
may as well go to the wall. Nevertheless his 
very devotion to truth forces him to realise and 
admit that it is an antitoxin which, rashly in- 
jected at wrong times or in wrong doses, may 
produce disastrous results. It ought not to be 
indiscriminately administered by " quacksal- 
vers." 

Gregers Werle is unquestionably a piece of 
ironic self -portraiture. In his habit of " pester- 
ing people, in their poverty, with the claim of 
the ideal," the poet adumbrates his own conduct 
from Brand onwards, but especially in Ghosts 
and An Enemy of the People. Relling, again, 
is an embodiment of the mood which was dom- 
inant during the conception of the play — the 
mood of pitying contempt for that poor thing 
human nature, as embodied in Hialmar. An 
actor who, in playing the part of Relling made 
up as Ibsen himself, has been blamed for hav- 
ing committed a fault not only of taste, but 
of interpretation, since Gregers (it is main- 
tained) is the true Ibsen. But the fact is that 
both characters represent the poet. They em- 
body the struggle in his mind between idealism 
and cynical despondency. There can be no doubt, 
however, that in some measure he consciously 
identified himself with Gregers. In a letter to 



XXll THE WILD DUCK. 



Mr. Gosse, written in 1872, he had employed in 
his own person the very phrase, den ideale ford- 
ring — " the claim of the ideal " — which is Greg- 
er's watchword. The use of this sufficiently ob- 
vious phrase, however, does not mean much. Far 
stronger evidence of identification is afforded by 
John Paulsen^ in some anecdotes he relates of 
Ibsen's habits of " self-help " — evidence which 
we may all the more safely accept, as Herr Paul- 
sen seems to have been unconscious of its bear- 
ing upon the character of Gregers. " Ibsen," he 
says, " was always bent upon doing things him- 
self, so as not to give trouble to servants. His 
ideal was * the self-made man.' ^ Thus, if a but- 
ton came off one of his garments he would re- 
tire to his own room, lock the door, and after 
many comical and unnecessary preliminaries pro- 
ceed to sew on the button himself, with the same 
care with which he wrote the fair copy of a new 
play. Such an important task he could not pos- 
sibly entrust to any one else, not even to his wife. 
One of his paradoxes was that ' a woman never 
knew how to sew on a button so that it would 
hold.' But if he himself sewed it on, it held to 
all eternity. Fru Ibsen smiled roguishly and 
subtly when the creator of Nora came out with 
such anti-feminist sentiments. Afterwards she 
told me in confidence, ^ It is true that Ibsen him- 
self sews on his vagrant buttons; but the fact 
that they hold so well is my doing, for, without 
his knowledge, I always " finish them off," which 

» Samliv med Ibsen^ p. 83. 

' Herr Paulsen uses the English words ; but it will appear 
from the sequel that Ibsen's ideal was not so much the self- 
made as the self-mended man. 



INTRODUCTIOX. XXlll 



he forgets to do. But don't disturb his convic- 
tion : it makes him so happy.' " 

" One winter day in Munich," Herr Paulsen 
continues, " Ibsen asked me with a serious and 
even anxious countenance, ' Tell me one thing, 
Paulsen — do you black your own boots every 
morning?' I was taken aback, and doubtless 
looked quite guilty as I answered, ^ISTo.' I had 
a vaguely uncomfortable sense that I had failed 
in a duty to myself and to society. ^But you 
really ought to do so. It will make you feel 
a different man. One should never let others do 
what one can do oneself. If you begin with 
blacking your boots, you will get on to putting 
your room in order, laying the fire, etc. In this 
way you will at last find yourself an emancipated 
man, independent of Tom, Dick, or Harry.' I 
promised to follow his advice, but have unfortu- 
nately not kept my word." It is evident that 
Ibsen purposely transferred to Gregers this char- 
acteristic of his own; and the sentiments with 
which Gina regards it are probably not unlike 
those which Fru Ibsen may from time to time 
have manifested. We could scarcely demand 
clearer proof that in Gregers the poet was laugh- 
ing at himself. 

To Hedvig, Ibsen gave the name of his only 
sister, and in many respects she seems to have 
served as a model for the character. She was the 
poet's favourite among all his relatives. " You 
are certainly the best of us," he wrote to her in 
1869. Bjornstjeme Bjomson said, after making 
her acquaintance, that he now understood what 
a large element of heredity there was in Ibsen's 
bent towards mysticism. We may be sure that 



XXIV THE WILD DUCK, 



Hedvig's researches among the books left by the 
old sea-captain, and her dislike for the frontis- 
piece of Harrison's History of London, are re- 
membered traits from the home-life of the poet's 
childhood. It does not seem to be known who 
had the honour of " sitting for " the character of 
Hialmar. Probably he is a composite of many 
originals. Moreover, he is obviously a younger 
brother of Peer Gynt. Deprive Peer Gynt of his 
sense of humour, and clip the wings of his imagi- 
nation, and you have Hialmar Ekdal. 

I confess I do not know quite definitely what 
Ibsen had in mind when he spoke of The Wild 
Duck holding " a place apart " among his pro- 
ductions and exemplifying a technique (for he is 
evidently thinking of its technical development) 
" divergent " from that of its predecessors. I 
should rather say that it marked the continua- 
tion and consummation of the technical method 
which he had been elaborating from Pillars of 
Society onward. It is the first example of what 
we may term his retrospective method, in its full 
complexity. Pillars of Society and A DolVs 
House may be called semi-retrospective; some- 
thing like half of the essential action takes place 
before the eyes of the audience. Ghosts is al- 
most wholly retrospective ; as soon as the past has 
been fully unravelled the action is over, and only 
the catastrophe remains; but in this case the 
past to be unravelled is comparatively simple and 
easy of disentanglement. An Enemy of the Peo- 
ple is scarcely retrospective at all; almost the 
whole of its action falls within the frame of the 
picture. In The Wild Duck, on the other hand, 
the unravelling of the past is a task of infinite 



INTRODUCTION. XXV 



subtlety and elaborate art. The execution of 
this task shows a marvellous and hitherto unex- 
ampled grasp of mind. Never before, certainly, 
had the poet displayed such an amazing power 
of fascinating and absorbing us by the gradual 
withdrawal of veil after veil from the past; and 
as every event was also a trait of character, it 
followed that never before had his dialogue been 
so saturated, as it were, with character-revela- 
tion. The development of the drama reminds 
one of the practice (in itself a very bad prac- 
tice) of certain modern stage-managers, who are 
fond of raising their curtain on a dark scene, 
and then gradually lighting it up by a series of 
touches on the electric switchboard. First there 
comes a glimmer from the right, then a flash 
from the left; then the background is suffused 
with light, so that we see objects standing out 
against it in profile, but cannot as yet discern 
their details. Then comes a ray from this batten, 
a gleam from that; here a penetrating shaft of 
light, there a lambent glow; until at last the 
footlights are turned on at full, and every nook 
and cranny of the scene stands revealed in a 
blaze of luminosity. But Ibsen's switchboard is 
far more subtly subdivided than that of even 
the most modem theatre. At every touch upon 
it some single, cunningly-placed, ingeniously- 
dissembled burner kindles, almost unnoticed save 
by the most watchful eye; so that the full light 
spreads over the scene as imperceptibly as dawn 
grows into day. 

It seems to me, then, that The Wild Duck is a 
consummation rather than a new departure. 
Assuredly it marks the summit of the poet's 



XXVI THE WILD DUCK. 



achievement (in modem prose) up to that date. 
Its only possible rival is Ghosts; and who does 
not feel the greater richness, depth, suppleness, 
and variety of the later play? It gives us, in a 
word, a larger segment of life. 



AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE 

(1882) 



CHARACTERS. 

Doctor Thomas Stockmann, medical officer of the 
Baths. 

Mrs. Stockmann, his wife. 

PetrA, their daughter, a teacher. 

El LIP ] their sons, thirteen and ten years old respec- 

MORTEN j tively. 

Peter Stockmann, the doctor s elder brother, Burgo- 
master 1 and chief of police, chairman of the Baths 
Committee, etc. 

Morten Kiil,^ mxister tanner, Mrs. Stockmunn's adop- 
tive-father. 

HOVSTAD, editor of the " People's Messenger." 

Billing, on the staff of the paper. 

HORSTER, a ship's captain. 

ASLAKSEN, a printer. 

Participants in a meeting of citizens : aU sorts and con 
ditions of men, som£ women, and a band of schoolboys. 

The action parses in a town on the South Coast of Norway. 



1 "Burgomaster" is the most convenient substitute for 
" Byfogd," but " Town Clerk " would perhaps be more nearly 
equivalent. It is impossible to find exact counterparts in 
English for the different grades of the Norwegian bureaucracy. 

2 Pronounce: ICeel. 



AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 

PLAY IN FIVE ACTS. 



ACT FIRST. 



Evening. Dr. Stockmann's sitting-room ; simply hut 
neatly decorated and furnished. In the wall to the 
right are two doors, the further one leading to the 
hall, the nearer one to the Doctor s study. In the 
opposite wall, facing the hall door, a door leading 
to the other rooms of the house. Against the 
middle of this wall stands the stove ; further for- 
ward a sofa with a mirror 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 leadiiig to the dining-room, in which is 
seen a supper-table, with a lamp on it. 

Billing is seated at the supper table, with a napkin 
under his chin. Mrs. Stockmann is standing by 
the table and placing before him a dish with a 
large joint of roast beef The other seats round 
the table are empty ; the table is in disorder, as 
after a meal. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
If you come an hour late, Mr. Billing, you must 
put up with a cold supper. 



4 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT I. 

Billing. 
[Eatifig.] It is excellent — really first rate. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
You know how Stockmann insists on regular 

meal-hours 

Billing. 
Oh, I don't mind at all. I almost think I enjoy 
my supper more when I can sit down to it like this, 
alone and undisturbed. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 

Oh, well, if you enjoy it [Listening in the 

direction of the hall.] I believe this is Mr. Hovstad 
coming too. 

Billing. 
Very likely. 

Burgomaster Stockmann enters, wearing an over- 
coat and an official gold-laced cap, and carrying 
a stick. 

Burgomaster. 
Good evening, sister-in-law. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
[Coming forward irdo the sitting-room.] Oh, good 
evening ; is it you .'' It is good of you to look in. 

Burgomaster. 

1 was just passing, and so [Looks towards the 

drawing-room.] Ah, I see you have company. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
[Rather embarrassed.] Oh no, not at all ; it's the 
merest chance. [Hurriedly.] Won't you sit down 
and have a little supper.^ 



act i.] an enemy of the people. 5 

Burgomaster. 
I ? No, thank you. Good gracious ! hot meat 
in the evening I That wouldn't suit my digestion. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Oh, for once in a way • 

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

Mrs. Stockmann. 
[Smiling.] You mustn't think Thomas and I are 
mere spendthrifts, either. 

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

Mrs. Stockmann. 
No, he has gone for a little turn after supper — 
with the boys. 

Burgomaster. 
I wonder if that is a good thing to do } [Lis- 
tening.] There he is, no doubt. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
No, that is not he. [A knock.] Come in .' 

Hovstad enters from the hall. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Ah, it's Mr. Hovstad 



AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT 1. 



HoVSTAD. 

You must excuse me; I was detained at the 
printer's. Good evening, Burgomaster. 

Burgomaster. 
[Bofvifig rather stiffly.'] Mr. Hovstad } You come 
on business, I presume } 

Hovstad. 
Partly. About an article for the paper. 

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

Hovstad. 
Yes, when he wants to unburden his mind on 
one thing or another^ he gives the Messenger the 
benefit. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 

[To Hovstad.] But will you not ? [Points 

to the dining-room.] 

Burgomaster. 
Well, well, I am far from blaming him for writing 
for the class of readers he finds most in sympathy 
with him. And, personally, I have no reason to 
bear your paper any ill-will, Mr. Hovstad. 

Hovstad. 
No, I should think not. 

Burgomaster. 
One may say, on the whole, that a fine spirit of 
mutual tolerance prevails in our town — an excellent 



ACT I.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 



public spirit. And that is because we have a great 
common interest to hold us together — an interest 
in which all right-minded citizens are equally con- 
cerned 

HOVSTAD. 

Yes — the Baths. 

Burgomaster. 
Just so. We have our magnificent new Baths. 
Mark my words ! The whole life of the town will 
centre around the Baths, Mr. Hovstad. There can 
be no doubt of it I 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
That is just what Thomas says. 

Burgomaster. 
How marvellously the place has developed, even 
in this couple of years ! Money has come into cir- 
culation, and brought life and movement with it. 
Houses and ground-rents rise in value every day. 

Hovstad. 
And there are fewer people out of work. 

Burgomaster. 
That is true. There is a gratifying diminution 
in the burden imposed on the well-to-do classes by 
the poor-rates; and they will be still further 
lightened if only we have a really good summer 
this year — a rush of visitors — plenty of invalids, to 
give the Baths a reputation. 

Hovstad. 
I hear there is every prospect of that. 



8 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT I, 

Burgomaster. 
Things look most promising. Inquiries about 
apartments and so forth keep on pouring in. 

HOVSTAD. 

Then the Doctor's paper will come in very 
opportunely. 

Burgomaster. 
Has he been writing again } 

HoVSTAD. 

This is a thing he wrote in the winter ; enlarging 
on the virtues of the Baths, and on the excellent 
sanitary conditions of the town. But at that time 
1 held it over. 

Burgomaster. 

Ah — I suppose there was something not quite 
judicious about it ? 

HoVSTAD. 

Not at all. But I thought it better to keep 
it till the spring, when people are beginning to 
look about them, and think of their summer 

quarters 

Burgomaster. 

You were right, quite right, Mr. Hovstad. 

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

Burgomaster. 
It is his duty as one of the staff. 

Hovstad. 
And of course he was really their creator. 



act i.] an enemy of the people. 9 

Burgomaster. 
Was he .'' Indeed ! I gather that certain persons 
are of that opinion. But I should have thought 
that I, too, had a modest share in that undertaking. 

Mrs. St^ckmann. 
Yes, that it what Thomas is always saying. 

Hovstad. 
No one dreams of denying it, Burgomaster. You 
set the thing going, and put it on a practical basis ; 
everybody . knows that. I only meant that the 
original idea was the doctor's. 

Burgomaster. 
Yes, my brother has certainly had ideas enough 
in his time — worse luck ! But when it comes to 
realising them, Mr. Hovstad, we want men of 
another stamp. I should have thought that in 
this house at any rate 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Why, ray dear brother-in-law 

HoVSTAD. 

Burgomaster, how can you ^ 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Do go in and have some supper, Mr. Hovstad ; 
my husband is sure to be home directly. 

Hovstad. 
Thanks ; just a mouthful, perhaps. 

[He goes into the dining-room. 

Burgomaster. 
[Speaking in a low voice.] It is extraordinary how 



10 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT I. 

people who spring direct from the peasant class 
never can get over their want of tact. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
But why should you care ? Surely you and 
Thomas can share the ho^jour, like brothers. 

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

Mrs. Stockmann. 
What nonsense I You and Thomas always get 
on so well together. [Listening.] There, I think 
I hear him. [Goes and opens the door to the hall. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Laughing and tailing loudly, without^ Here's 
another visitor for you, Katrina. Isn't it capital, 
eh } Come in. Captain Horster. Hang your coat 
on that peg. What ! you don't we'ar an overcoat .'' 
Fancy, Katrina, I caught him in the street, and I 
could hardly get him to come in. 

Captain Horster. 
Enters and bows to Mrs. Stockmann. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[In the doorway.] In with you, boys. They're 
famishing again ! Come along. Captain Horster; 

you must try our roast beef 

[He forces Horster into the dining-room. 
EiLiF and Morten follow them. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
But, Thomas, don't you see 



act i.] an enemy of the people. ii 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Turning round in the doorway. '\ Oh, is that you, 
Peter ! [Goes up to him and holds out his hand,] 
Nqw this is really capital. 

Burgomaster. 
Unfortunately, I have only a moment to 

spare 

Dr. Stockmann. 

Nonsense ! We shall have some toddy in a 
minute. You're not forgetting the toddy, Katrina? 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Of course not ; the water's boiling. 

[She goes into the dining-room. 

Burgomaster. 
Toddy too ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes ; sit down, and let's make ourselves com- 
fortable. 

Burgomaster. 

Thanks ; I never join in drinking parties. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
But this isn't a party. 

Burgomaster. 

I don't know what else [Looks towards the 

dining-room.] It's extraordinary 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 ! That's 



12 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT I. 

as it should be. They need good, solid meat to 
put stamina into them ! It is they that have got 
to whip up the ferment of the future, Peter. 

Burgomaster. 

May I ask what there is to be " whipped up/* as 
you call it ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 

You'll have to ask the young people that — when 
the time comes. We shan't see it, of course. Two 
old fogies like you and me 

Burgomaster. 
Come, come ! Surely that is a very extraor- 
dinary expression to use 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Oh, you mustn't mind my nonsense, Peter. I'm 
in such glorious spirits, you see. I feel so unspeak- 
ably happy in the midst of all this growing, ger- 
minating life. Isn't it a marvellous time we live 
in ! It seems as though a whole new world were 
springing up around us. 

Burgomaster. 
Do you really think so ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Of course, you can't see it as clearly as I do. 
You have passed your life in the midst of it all ; 
and that deadens the impression. But I who had 
to vegetate all those years in that little hole in 
the north, hardly ever seeing a soul that could 
speak a stimulating word to me — all this affects me 
as if I had suddenly dropped into the heart of 
some teeming metropolis. 



ACT I.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 13 

Burgomaster. 
Well, metropolis 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Oh, I know well enough that things are on a 
small scale here, compared with many other places. 
But there's life here — there's promise — there's'^an 
infinity of things to work and strive for ; and that 
is the main point. [Calling.] Katrina, haven't 
there been any letters ? 

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

Dr. Stockmann. 
And then a good income, Peter ! That's a 
thing one learns to appreciate when one has lived 
on starvation wages 

Burgomaster. 

Good heavens ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Oh yes, I can tell you we often had hard times 
of it up there. And now we can live like princes ! 
To-day, for example, we had roast beef for dinner ; 
and we've had some of it for supper too. Won't 
you have some } Come along — ^just look at it, at 

any rate 

Burgomaster. 
No, no ; certainly not 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Well then, look here — do you see we've bought 
a table-cover ? 

Burgomaster. 
Yes, so I observed. 



14 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT I. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

And a lamp-shade, too. Do you see } Katrina 

has been saving up for them. They make the 

room look comfortable, don't they } Come over 

here. No, no, no, not there. So — yes ! Now 

you see how it concentrates the light . I 

really think it ha« quite an artistic effect. Eh ? 

Burgomaster. 
Yes, when one can afford such luxuries 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Oh, I can afford it now. Katrina says I make 
almost as much as we spend. 

BuRGpMASTER. 

Ah — almost ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Besides, a man of science must live in some style. 
Why, I believe a mere sheriff^ spends much more 
a year than I do. 

Burgomaster. 
Yes, I should think so I A member of the 
superior magistracy 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Well then, even a common shipowner ! A 
man of that sort will get through many times as 

much 

Burgomaster. 
That is natural, in your relative positions. 

Amtmand, the chief magistrate o'l an Amt or county; 
consequently a high dignitary in the official hierarchy. 



ACT I.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 15 

• 

Dr. Stockmann. 
And after all, Peter, I really don't squander any 
money. But I can't deny myself the delight of 
having people about me. I must have them. 
After living so long out of the world, I find it a 
necessity of life to have bright, cheerful, freedom- 
loving, hard-working young fellows around me — 
and that's what they are, all of them, that are 
sitting there eating so heartily. I wish you knew 
more of Hovstad 

Burgomaster. 
Ah, that reminds me — Hovstad was telling me 
that he is going to publish another article of 
yours. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
An article of mine ? 

Burgomaster. 
Yes, about the Baths. An article you wrote last 
winter. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Oh, that one ! But I don't want that to appear 
for the present. 

Burgomaster. 
Why not ? It seems to me this is the very 
time for it. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

Very likely — under ordinary circumstances 

[Crosses the room. 

Burgomaster. 
[Following him with his eyes.'\ And what is un- 
usual in the circumstances now t 



l6 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT I. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Standing still.] The fact is, Peter, I really can- 
not tell you just now ; not this evening, at all 
events. There may prove to be a great deal that 
is unusual in the circumstances. On the other 
hand, there may be nothing at all. Very likely 
it's only my fancy. 

Burgomaster. 
Upon my word, you are very enigmatical. Is 
there anything in the wind ? Anything I am to 
be kept in the dark about ? I should think, as 
Chairman of the Bath Committee 

Dr. Stockmann. 

And I should think that I Well, well, don't 

let us get our backs up, Peter. 

Burgomaster. 

God forbid ! I am not in the habit of '^ getting 
my back up," as you express it. But I must 
absolutely insist that all arrangements shall be 
made and carried out in a businesslike manner, 
and through the properly constituted authorities. 
I cannot be a party to crooked or underhand 
courses. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

Have /ever been given to crooked or under- 
hand courses.^ 

Burgomaster. 
At any rate you have an ingrained propensity 
to taking your own course. And that, in a well- 
ordered community, is aimost as inadmissible. The 
individual must subordinate himself to society, or, 



ACT I.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 17 

more precisely, to the authorities whose business 
it is to watch over the welfare of society. 

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

Burgomaster. 
Why this is the very thing, my dear Thomas, 
that it seems you will never learn. But take 
care ; you will have to pay for it— sooner or later. 
Now I have warned you. Good-bye. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Are you stark mad ? You're on a totally wrong 

track 

Burgomaster. 
I am not often on the wrong track. Moreover, 
I must protest against [Bowing towards dining- 
room.] Good-bye, sister-in-law ; good-dayto you, 
gentlemen. [He goes. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
[Entering the sitting-room.'] Has he gone } 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, and in a fine temper, too. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Why, my dear Thomas, what have you been 
doing to him now } 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Nothing at all. He can't possibly expect me to 
account to him for everyfhing — before the time 
comes. 



18 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT I. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
What have you to account to him for ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
H'm ; — never minda bout that, Katrina. — It's 
very odd the postman doesn't come. 

[Hovstad, Billing and Horster have risen 
from table and come fommrd into the 
sitting-room. Eilif and Morten pre- 
sently follow. 

Billing. 
[Stretching himself ~\ Ah ! Strike me dead if 
one doesn't feel a new man after such a m^al. 

HOVSTAD. 

The Burgomaster didn't seem in the best of 
tempers this evening. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
That's his stomach. He has a very poor diges- 
tion. 

HoVSTAD. 

I fancy it's the staff of the Messenger he finds 
it hardest to stomach. 

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

HoVSTADo 

Oh, yes; but it's only a sort of armistice 
between us. 

Billing. 
That's it That word sums up the situation. 



act i.] an enemy of the people. 19 

Dr. Stockmann. 
We must remember that Peter is a lonely 
bachelor, poor devil ! He has no home to be 
happy in ; only business, business. And then all 
that cursed weak tea he goes and pours down his 
throat ! Now then, chairs round the table, boys ! 
Katrina, shan't we have the toddy now ? 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
[Going towards the dining-room.^ I am just 
getting it. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
And you. Captain Horster, sit beside me on the 

sofa. So rare a guest as you . Sit down, 

gentlemen, sit down. 

'^The men sit round the table ; Mrs. Stock- 
mann brings in a tray with kettle, glasses, 
decanters, etc. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Here you have it : 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. 
Eilif, I think you know where the box is. And 
Morten, you may fetch my pipe. [The boys go into 
the room on the right.] I have a suspicion that 
Eilif sneaks a cigar now and then, but I pretend 
not to notice. [Calls] And my smoking-cap, 
Morten I Katrina, can't you tell him where I left 
it. Ah, he's got it. [The boys bring in the things.] 
Now, friends, help yourselves. I stick to my pipe, 
you know ; — this one has been on many a stormy 



20 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT I. 

journey with me, up there in the north. [They 
clink glasses.^ Your health ! Ah, I can tell you 
it's better fun to sit cosily here, safe from wind 
and weather. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
[Who sits knitting.'] Do you sail soon, Captain 
Horster } 

HORSTER. 

I hope to be ready for a start by next week. 

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

Horster. 
Yes, that's the intention. 

Billing. 
But then you'll miss the election of the new 
Town Council. 

Horster. 
Is there to be an election again ? 

Billing. 
Didn't you know .? 

Horster. 
No, I don't trouble myself about those things. 

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

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

Billing, 
All the same^ one ought at least to vote 



ACT I.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE, 21 

HORSTER. 

Even those who don't understand anything 
about it ? 

Billing. 

Understand? Why, what do you mean by that ? 
Society is hke a ship : every man must put his 
hand to the helm. 

HoRSTER. 

That may be all right on shore ; but at sea it 
wouldn't do at all. 

HOVSTAD. 

It's remarkable how little sailors care about 
public affairs as a rule. 

Billing. 
Most extraordinary. 

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

HoVSTAD. 

Nothing of local interest. But the day after 
to-morrow I think of printing your article 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Oh confound it, that article ! No, you'll have 
to hold it over. 

Hovstad. 
Really ? We happen to have plenty of 
space, and I should say this was the very time 
for it 



22 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT I. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, yes, you may be right ; but you must hold 
it over all the same. I shall explain to you by- 
and-by. 

Petra, wearing a hat and cloak, and with a number of 
exercise-hooks under her arm^ enters from the hall. 

Petra. 
Good evening. 

Dr. SrocKMANN. 
Good evening, Petra. Is that you } 

[General greetings. Petra puts her cloak, 
hat, 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.] Thank you, I'd 
rather help myself — you always make it too strong. 
By the way, father, I have a letter for you. 

[Goes to the chair ivhere her things are lying. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
A letter ! From whom .'* 

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



act i.] an enemy of the people. 23 

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

Petra. 
I really hadn't time to run up again. Here it 
is. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

[Seizing the letter S\ Let me see, let me see, child. 
[Reads the address.'] Yes ; this is it i 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Is it the one you have been so anxious about, 
Thomas } 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes it is. I must go at once. Where shall I 
/ind a light, Katrina } Is there no lamp in my 
study again ! 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Yes — the lamp is lighted. It's on the writing- 
table. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

Good, good. Excuse me one moment 

[He goes into the room on the right. 

Petra. 
What can it be, mother ? 

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

Billing. 
Probably a country patient 

Petra. 
Poor father ! He'll soon have far too much 



24 



AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT I. 



to do. [Mixes her toddy.'] Ah, this will taste 
good ! 

HOVSTAD. 

Have you been teaching in the night school as 

well to-day .'* 

Petra. 
[Sipping from her glass.] Two hours. 

Billing. 
And four hours in the morning at the in- 
stitute 

Pltra. 

[Sittitig down by the table.] Five hours. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
And I see you have exercises to correct this 
evening. 

Petra. 
Yes, a heap of them. 

HORSTER. 

It seems to me you have plenty to do, too. 

Petra. 
Yes ; but I like it. You feel so delightfully 
tired after it. 

Billing 
Do you like that } 

Petra, 
Yes, for then you sleep so well. 

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



act i.] an enemy of the people. 25 

Pktra. 
A sinner ? 

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

ElLIF. 

[Contemptuously.'] Bosh ! What a silly you 
are, to believe such stuff as that. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Come come, Eilif. 

Billing. 
[Laughing.] Capital, capital ! 

HOVSTAD. 

Should you not like to work so hard, Morten } 

Morten. 
No, I shouldn't. 

HoVSTAD. 

Then what will you do with yourself in the 
world.? 

Morten. 
I should like to be a Viking. 

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

Morten. 
Well, so I would. 

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

Sec Pillars of Society. 



26 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT I. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
[MaHng a sign to kirn.] No, no, Mr. Billing, 
I'm sure you don't. 

Billing. 
Strike me dead but 1 do, though. I am 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 have lessons 
to prepare for to-morrow. 

ElLIF. 

You might let me stay just a little longer 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
No, you must go too. Be off, both of you, 

[The hoys say good-night and go into the 
room on the left. 

Hovstad. 
Do you really think it can hurt the boys to 
hear these things .'* 

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

Petra. 
Really, mother, I think you are quite wrong 
there. 



ACT I.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 2? 



Mrs. Stockmann. 
Perhaps. But I don't like it — not here, at 
home. 

Petra. 
There's no end of hypocrisy both at home and 
at school. At home you must hold your tongue, 
and at school you have to stand up and tell lies 
to the children. 

Horster. 
Have you to tell lies ? 

Petra. 
Yes ; do you think we don't have to tell 
them many and many a thing we don't believe 
ourselves ? 

Billing. 
Ah, that's too true. 

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

Billing. 
Oh, afford it I 

Horster. 
If you really think of doing that, Miss Stock- 
mann, I shall be delighted to let you have a 
room at my place. You know my father's old 
house is nearly empty ; there's a great big dining- 
room on the ground floor 

Petra. 
[Laughing.] Oh, thank you very much — but 
I'm afraid it won't come to anything. 



28 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT I. 

HOVSTAD. 

No, I fancy Mis3 Petra is more likely to go over 
to journalism. By the way, have you had time 
to look into the English novel you promised to 
translate for us ? 

PetrAo 

Not yet. But you shall have it in good time. 

Dr. Stockmann enters from his roomy with the 
letter open in his hand. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Flourishing the letter. 1 Here's news^ I can tell 
you, that will waken up the town ! 

Billing. 
News ? 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
What news } 

Dr. Stockmann. 
A great discovery, Katrina ! 

HoVSTAD. 

Indeed } 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Made by you ? 

Dr. Stockmann, 
Precisely — by me ! [ Walks up and down. ] Now 
let them go on accusing me of fads and crack- 
brained notions. But they won't dare to 1 Ha- 
ha ' I tell you they won't dare ! 

Petra. 
Do tell us what it is, father. 



act i.] an enemv of the people. 29 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Well, well, give me time, and you shall hear 
all about it. If only I had Peter here now ! This 
just shows how we men can go about forming 
judgments like the blindest moles 

HOVSTAD. 

What do you mean, doctor ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Stopping beside the tahle.^ Isn't it the general 
opinion that our town is a healthy place } 

Ho VST AD. 

Of course. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

A quite exceptionally healthy place, indeed — a 
place to be warmly recommended, both to invalids 
and people in health 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
My dear Thomas 

Dr. Stockmann. 
And assuredly we haven't failed to recommend 
and belaud it. I've sung its praises again and again, 
both in the Messenger and in pamphlets 



HoVSTAD. 



Well, what then ? 



Dr. Stockmann. 
These Baths, that we have called the pulse of the 
town, its vital nerve, and — and the devil knows 
what else 



30 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT I. 

Billing. 
" Our city's palpitating heart," I once ventured 
to call them in a convivial moment 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, I daresay. Well — do you know what 
they really are, these mighty, magnificent, be- 
lauded Baths, that have cost so much money — do 
you know what they are .'' 

Hovstad. 
No, what are they .'' 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Do tell us. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Simply a pestiferous hole. 

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, 

I tell you the whole place is a poisonous whited- 

sepulchre ; noxious in the highest degree ! All 

that filth up there in the Mill Dale — the stuff 

that smells so horribly — taints the water in the 



ACT I.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 



31 



feed-pipes of the Pump-Room ; and the same 
accursed poisonous refuse oozes out by the 
beach 

HOVSTAD. 

Where the sea-baths are ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Exactly. 

HoVSTAD. 

But how are you so sure of all this, Doctor ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I've investigated the whole thing as conscien- 
tiously as possible. I've lonjg^ had my suspicions 
about it. Last year we had some extraordinary 
cases of illness among the patients — both typhoid 
and gastric attacks 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Yes, I remember. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
We thought at the time that the visitors had 
brought the infection with them'; but afterwards 
— last winter — I began to question that. So I 
set about testing the water as well as I could. 

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

Dr. Stockmann. 

Yes, you may well say I've worked, Katrina. 

But here, you know, I hadn't the necessary 

scientific appliances ; so I sent samples both 

of our drinking-water and of our sea-watei 



32 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT I. 

to the University, for exact analysis by a 
chemist. 

HOVSTAD. 

And you have received his report ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Skomng letter.] Here it is I And it proves 
beyond dispute the presence of putrefying organic 
matter in the water — millions of infusoria. It's 
absolutely pernicious 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, to set things right, of course. 

HoVSTAD. 

You think it can be done, then f 

Dr. Stockmann. 
It must be done. Else the whole Baths are 
useless, ruined. But there's no fear. I am quite 
clear as to what is required. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
But, my dear Thomas, why should you have 
made such a secret of all this ? 



act i.] an enemy of the people. 33 

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

Petra. 
But to us at home 

Dr. Stockmann, 
I couldn't say a word to a living soul. But 
to-morrow you may look in at the Badger's 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Oh, Thomas I 

Dr. Smockmann. 
Well well, at your grandfather's. The old 
fellow will be astonished! He thinks I'm not 
quite right in my head — yes, and plenty of others 
think the same, I've noticed. But now these 
good people shall see — yes, they shall see now ! 
[Walks up and down nibbing his hands.'] What a 
stir there will be in the town, Katrina ! Just 
think of it ! All the water-pipes will have to be 
relaid. 

HOVSTAD. 

\Iiising.'\ All the water-pipes } 

Dr. Stockmann. 

Why, of course. The intake is too low down ; 
it must be moved much higher up. 

Petra. 
So you were right, after all. 



S* AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT I. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, do yoa remember, Petra ? I wrote against 
it when they were beginning the works. But no 
one would Hsten to me then. Now, you may be 
sure, I shall give them my full broadside — for of 
course I've prepared a statement for the Directors ; 
it has been lying ready a whole week ; I've only 
been waiting for this report. [Points to letter.] 
But now they shall have it at once. [Goes into his 
room and returns with a MS. in his hand.] See ! Four 
closely- written sheets ! And I'll enclose the report. 
A newspaper, Katrina ! Get me something to wrap 
them up in. There — that's it. Give it to — to — 
[Stamps.] — what the devil's her name ? Give it 
to the girl, I mean, and tell her to take it at once 
to the Burgomaster. 

[Mrs. Stockmann goes out with the packet 
through the dining-room. 

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

Dr. Stockmann. 
What should he say? He can't possibly be 
otherwise than pleased that so important a fact 
lias been brought to light. 

Hovstad. 
I suppose you will let me put a short announce- 
ment of your discovery in the Messenger. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, I shall be much obliged if you will. 

Hovstad. 
It is highly desirable that the public should 
know about it as soon as possible. 



act i.] an enemy of the people. 35 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, certainly. 

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

Billing. 
Strike me dead if you won't be the first man in 
the town. Doctor ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Walks up and down in high glee.] Oh, nonsense i 
After all, I have done no more than my duty. I've 
been a lucky treasure-hunter, that's all. But all 

the same 

Billing. 

Hovstad, aon't you think the town ought to 
get up a torchlight procession in honour of Dr. 
Stockmann ? 

Hovstad. 

I shall certainly propose it. 

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

Dr, Stockmann. 
No, my dear friends ; let all such claptrap alone. 
I won't hear of anything of the sort. And if the 
Directors should want to raise my salary, I won't 
accept it. I tell you, Katrina, I will not accept 
it. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 

You are quite right, Thomas. 

Petra. 
[Raising her glass.] Your health, father ! 



36 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT 



HovsTAD and Billing. 
Your health, your health, Doctor ! 

HORSTER. 

[Clinking glasses with the Doctor.] I hope you 
may have nothing but joy of your discovery. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Thanks, thanks, my dear friends ! I can't tell 
you how happy I am — ! Oh, what a blessing it 
is to feel that you have deserved well of your 
native town and your fellow citizens Hurrah, 
Katrina ! 

[He puts both his arms round her neck, 
and whirls her round with him. Mrs. 
Stockmann screams and struggles. A 
burst of laughter, applause, and cheers 
for the Doctor, The boys thrust their 
heads in at the door. 



ACT SECOND. 

The Doctor's sitting-room. The dining-room door is 
closed. Morning. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
[Enters from the dining-room with a sealed letter in 
her hand, goes to the foremost door on the right, and 
peeps 2w.] Are you there, Thomas ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Within.^ Yes, I have just come in. [Enters.^ 
What is it .? 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
A letter from your brother. [Hands it to him. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Aha, let us see. [Opens the envelope and reads.] 

" The MS. sent me is returned herewith " 

[Rends on, mumbling to himself.] H'm — 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Well, what does he say ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Putting the paper in his pocket.] Nothing ; only 
that he'll come up himself about midday. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Then be sure you remember to stay at home. 



fiS AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT II. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Oh, I can easily manage that ; I've finished my 
morning's visits. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
I am very curious to know how he takes It. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
You'll see he won't be over-pleased that it is I 
that have made the discovery, and not he him- 
self. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Ah, that's just what I'm afraid of. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

Of course at bottom he'll be glad. But still — 
Peter is damnably unwilling that any one but 
himself should do anything for the good of the 
town. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 

Do you know, Thomas, I think you might 
stretch a point, and share the honour with him. 
Couldn't it appear that it was he that put you on 
the track f 

Dr. Stockmann. 
By all means, for aught I care. If only I can 
get things put straight 

Old Morten Kiil puts his head in at the 
hall door, and asks slyly : 

Morten Kiil. 
Is it — is it true ? 



act ii.] an enemy of the people. sq 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
[Going towards him.] Father — is that you ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Hallo, father-in-law! Good morning, good 
morning. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Do come in. 

Morten Kiil. 
Yes, if it's true ; if not, I'm off again. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
If what is true .'* 

Morten Kiil. 
This crazy business about the water-works 
Now, is it true } 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Why, of course it is. But how came you to 
hear of it ? 

Morten Kiil. 
[Coming in.] Petra looked in on her way to the 
school 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Oh, did she ? 

Morten Kiil. 
Ay ay — and she told me — . I thought she was 
only making game of me ; but that's not like 
Petra either. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
No, indeed ; how could you think so ? 



40 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT II. 

Morten Kiil. 
Oh, you can never be sure of anybody. You 
may be made a fool of be*fore you know where 
you are. So it is true, after all .'' 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Most certainly it is. Do sit down, father-in- 
law. [Forces him donm on the sofa.^ Now isn't it 
a real blessing for the town } 

Morten Kiil. 
[Suppressing his laughter,^ A blessing for the 
town .'' 

Dr. Stockmann. 

Yes, that I made this discovery in time 

Morten Kiil. 
[As before.^ Ay, ay, ay ! — Well, I could never 
have believed that you would play monkey-tricks 
with your very own brother. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Monkey-tricks ! 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Why, father dear 

Morten Kiil. 
[Resting his hands and chifi on the top of his stick 
and blinking shfUf at the Doctor.] What was it 
again } Wasn't it that some animals had got 
into the water-pipes i 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes ; infusorial animals. 

Morten Kiil. 
And any number of these animals had got in, 
Petra said — whole swarms of them. 



act ii.] an enemy of the people. 41 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Certainly ; hundreds of thousands. 

Morten Kiil. 
But no one can see them — isn't that it ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Quite right ; no one can see them. 

Morten Kiil. 
[With a quiet y chuckling longk.] I'll be damned 
if that isn't the best thing I've heard of you yet. 

Dr Stockman. 
What do you mean ? 

Morten Kiil. 
But you'll never in this world make the Burgo- 
master take in anything of the sort. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

Well, that we shall see. 

» 

Morten Kiil. 
Do you really think he'lJ be so crazy ^ 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I hope the whole town will be so crazy. 

Morten Kiil. 
The whole town ! Well, I don't say but it 
may. But it serves them right ; it'll teach them 
a lesson. They wanted to be so much cleverer 
than we old fellows. They hounded me out of 
the Town Council. Yes ; I tell you they hounded 
me out like a dog, that they did. But now it's 



42 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT II. 

their turn. Just you keep up the game with 
them, Stockmann. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, but, father-in-law 

Morten Kiil. 
Keep it up, I say. [Rising.'\ If you can make 
the Burgomaster and his gang eat humble pie, 
I'll give a hundred crowns straight away to the 
poor. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Come, that's good of you. 

Morten Kiil. 
Of course I've little enough to throw away ; but 
if you can manage that, I shall certainly remember 
the poor at Christmas-time, to the tune of fifty 
crowns. 

HovsTAD enters from hall. 

HOVSTAD. 

Good morning ! [Pausing.] Oh ! I beg your 

pardon 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Not at all. Come in, come in. 

Morten Kiil. 
[Chuckling again.] He ! Is he in it too ? 

HoVSTAD. 

What do you mean ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, of course he is. 



act ii.] an enemy of the people. 43 

Morten Kiil. 
I might have known it ! It's to go into the 
papers. Ah, you're the one, Stockmann I Do 
you two lay your heads together ; I'm off. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Oh no ; don't go yet, father-in-law. 

Morten Kiil. 
No, I'm off now. Play them all the monkey- 
tricks you can think of. Deuce take me but you 
shan't lose by it. 

[He goes J Mrs. Stockmann accompanying 
him. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Laughing.'] What do you think — } The old 
fellow doesn't believe a word of all this about the 
water-works. 

Ho VST AD. 

Was that what he } 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes ; that was what we were talking about. 
And I daresay you have come on the same 
business } 

HOVSTAD. 

Yes. Have you a moment to spare, Doctor ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
As many as you like, my dear fellow. 

HoVSTAD. 

Have you heard anything from the Burgo- 
master } 



44 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT II. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Not yet. He'll be here presently. 

HOVSTAD. 

I have been thinking the matter over since last 
evening. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Well? 

HoVSTAD. 

To you, as a doctor and a man of science, this 
business of the water-works appears an isolated 
affair. I daresay it hasn't occurred to you that a 
good many other things are bound up with it } 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Indeed ! In what way ? Let us sit down, my 
dear fellow. — No; there, on the sofa. 

[HovsTAD sits on sofa : the Doctor in an 
easy-chair on the other side of the table. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Well, so you think } 

HoVSTAD. 

You said yesterday that the water is polluted by 
impurities in the soil. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, undoubtedly; the mischiet comes from 
that poisonous swamp up in the Mill Dale. 

HoVSTAD. 

Excuse me. Doctor, but I think it comes from 
a very different swamp. 



act ii.] an enemy of the people. 45 

Dr. Stockmann. 
What swamp may that be } 

HOVSTAD. 

The swamp in which our whole municipal life 
is rotting. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

The devil, Mr. Hovstad ! What notion is this 
you've got hold of .^ 

Hovstad. 
All the affairs of the town have gradually drifted 
into the hands of a pack of bureaucrats 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Come now, they're not all bureaucrats. 

Hovstad. 
No ; but those who are not are the friends and 
adherents of those who are. We are entirely under 
the thumb of a ring of wealthy men, men of old 
family and position in the town. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, but they are also men of ability and 
insight. 

Hovstad. 

Did they show ability and insight when they 
laid the water-pipes where they are } 

Dr. Stockmann. 
No ; that, of course, was a piece of stupidity 
But that will be set right now. 

Hovstad. 
Do you think it will go so smoothly ^ 



46 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT II. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Well, smoothly or not, it will have to be done. 

HOVSTAD. 

Yes, if the press exerts its influence. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Not at all necessary, my dear fellow ; I am sure 
my brother 

HoVSTAD. 

Excuse me. Doctor, but I must tell you that I 
think of taking the matter up. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
In the paper } 

HoVSTAD. 

Yes. When I took over the People s Messenger, I 
was determined to break up the ring of obstinate 
old blockheads who held everything in their hands. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
But you told me yourself what came of it. You 
nearly ruined the paper. 

HovsTAD. 
Yes, at that time we had to draw in our horns, 
that's true enough. The whole Bath scheme 
might have fallen through if these men had been 
sent about their business. But now the Baths are 
an accomplished fact, and we can get on without 
these august personages. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Get on without them, yes; but still we owe 
them a great deal. 



ACT II.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 47 

HOVSTAD. 

The debt shall be duly acknowledged. But a 
journalist of my democratic tendencies cannot let 
such an opportunity slip through his fingers. We 
must explode the tradition of official infallibility. 
That rubbish must be got rid of, like every other 
superstition. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

There I am with you with all my heart, Mr. 
Hovstad. If it's a superstition, away with it ! 

HoVSTAD. 

I should be sorry to attack the Burgomaster, as 
he is your brother. But I know you think with 
me — the truth before all other considerations. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Why, of course. [Fekeinentli/.] But still — ! 

but still ! 

Hovstad. 
You mustn't think ill of me. I am neither 
more self-interested nor more ambitious than other 
men. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Why, my dear fellow — who says you are ? 

Hovstad. 
I come of humble folk, as you know ; and I have 
had ample opportunities of seeing what the lower 
classes really require. And that is to have a share 
in the direction of public affairs. Doctor. That 
is what develops ability and knowledge and self- 
respect 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I understand that perfectly. 



48 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT II. 

HOVSTAD. 

Yes ; and I think a journalist incurs a heavy 
responsibiHty if he lets slip a chance of helping to 
emancipate the downtrodden masses. I know 
well enough that our oligarchy will denounce me 
as an agitator, and so forth ; but what do I care ? 
If only my conscience is clear, I 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Just so, just so, my dear Mr. Hovstad. But 

still — deuce take it ! [A knock at the door.] 

Come in ! 

AsLAKSEN, the printer, appears at the door leading 
to the hall. He is humbly but respectably dressed 
in blacky wears a white necktie, slightly crumpled, 
and has a silk hat and gloves in his hand. 

AsLAKSEN. 

[Bowing.] I beg pardon. Doctor, for making 

so bold 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Rising.] Hallo I If it isn't Mr. Aslaksen I 

Aslaksen. 
Yes, it*s me, Doctor. 

Hovstad. 
[Rising.] Is it me you want, Aslaksen } 

Aslaksen. 
No, not at all. I didn't know you were here. 
No, it's the Doctor himself 



Dr. Stockmann. 
Well, what can I do for you ? 



ACT II.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 49 

ASLAKSEN. 

Is it true, what Mr. Billing tells me, that you're 
going to get us a better set of water-works ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, for the Baths. 

AsLAKSEN. 

Of course, of course. Then I just looked in to 
say that I'll back up the movement with all my 
might. 

HOVSTAD. 

[To the Doctor.] You see ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I'm sure I thank you heartily ; but 

AsLAKSEN. 

You may find it no such bad thing to have us 
small middle-class men at your back. We form 
what you may call a compact majority in the town 
— when we really make up our minds, that's to 
say. And it's always well to have the majority 
with you. Doctor. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
No doubt, no doubt ; but I can t conceive that 
aiiy special measures will be necessary in this case. 
I should think in so clear and straightforward a 
matter 

AsLAKSEN. 

Yes, but all the same, it can do no harm. I 
know the local authorities very well — the powers 
that be are not over ready to adopt suggestions 
from outsiders. So I think it wouldn't be amiss 
if we made some sort of a demonstration. 



50 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. ACT II. 



HoVSTAD. 

Precisely my opinion. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
A demonstration, you say .'* But in what way 
would you demonstrate ? 

AsLAKSEN. 

Of course with great moderation. Doctor, i 
always insist upon moderation; for moderation 
is a citizen's first virtue — at least that's my way 
of thinking. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

We all know that, Mr. Aslaksen. 

Aslaksen. 
Yes, I think my moderation is generally recog- 
iiised. And this affair of the water-works is very 
important for us small middle-class men. The 
Baths bid fair to become, as you might say, a little 
gold-mine for the town. We shall all have to live 
by the Baths, especially we house-owners. So we 
want to support the Baths all we can ; and as I 
am Chairman of the House-owners' Associa- 
tion 

Dr. Stockmann. 

Well .? 

Aslaksen. 

And as I'm an active worker for the Tem- 
perance ^ Society — of course you know. Doctor, 
that I'm a temperance man } 

Dr. Stockmann. 

To be sure, to be sure. 

1 The word " madehold," in Norwegian, means both "mode 
ration" and "temperance." 



ACT II.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 51 

ASLAKSEN. 

Well, you'll understand that I come in con- 
tact with a great many people. And as I'm known 
to be a prudent and law-abiding citizen, as you 
yourself remarked. Doctor, I have a certain in- 
fluence in the town, and hold some power in my 
hands — though I say it that shouldn't. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I know that very well, Mr. Aslaksen. 

AsLAKSEN. 

Well then, you see — it would be easy fbr me to 
get up an address, if it came to a pinch. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

An address ? 

Aslaksen. 

Yes, a kind of vote of thanks to you, from the 
citizens of the town, for your action in a matter 
of such general concern. Of course it will have 
to be drawn up with all fitting moderation, so as 
to give no offence to the authorities and parties in 
power. But so long as we're careful about that, 
no one can take it ill, I should think. 

HOVSTAD. 

Well, even if they didn't particularly like it 

Aslaksen. 
No no no ; no offence to the powers that be, 
Mr. Hovstad. No opposition to people that can 
take it out of us again so easily. I've had enough 
of that in my time ; no good ever comes of it. But 
no one can object to the free but temperate ex- 
pression of a citizen's opinion. 



52 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [acT II. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Shaking his hand.] I can't tell you, my dear 
Mr. Aslaksen, how heartily it delights me to find 
so much support among my fellow townsmen. 
I'm so happy — so happy! Come, you'll have a 
glass of sherry } Eh } 

Aslaksen. 
No, thank you ; I never touch spirituous 
liquors. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Well, then, a glass of beer — what do you say to 
that } 

Aslaksen. 
Thanks, not that either. Doctor. I never take 
anything so early in the day. And now I'll be 
off round the town, and talk to some of the house- 
owners, and prepare public opinion. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
It's extremely kind of you, Mr. Aslaksen ; but I 
really cannot get it into my head that all these 
preparations are necessary. The affair seems to 
me so simple and self-evident. 

Aslaksen. 
The authorities always move slowly. Doctor — 
God forbid I should blame them for it 

HOVSTAD. 

We'll stir them up in the paper to-morrow, 
Aslaksen 

Aslaksen. 

No violence, Mr. Hovstad. Proceed with mo- 
deration, or you'll do nothing with them. Take 



ACT II.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 53 



my advice ; I've picked up experience in the 
school of life. — And now I'll say good morning, 
Doctor. You know now that at least you have us 
small middle-class men behind you, solid as a wall. 
You have the compact majority on your side. 
Doctor. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Many thanks, my dear Mr. Aslaksen. [Holds 
out his hand.] Good-bye, good-bye. 

Aslaksen. 
Are you coming to the office, Mr. Hovstad ? 

HOVSTAD, 

I shall come on presently. I have still one or 
two things to arrange. 

Aslaksen. 
Very well. 

[Bows and goes. Dr. Stockmann accom- 
panies him into the hall. 

Hovstad, 
[As the Doctor re-enters.'\ Well, what do you 
say to that. Doctor ? Don't you think it is high 
time we should give all this weak-kneed, half- 
hearted cowardice a good shaking up ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Are you speaking of Aslaksen ? 

Hovstad. 

Yes, I am. He's a decent enough fellow, but 

he's one of those who are sunk in the swamp. And 

most people here are just like him ; they are for 

ever wavering and wobbling from side to side; 



54 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT II. 

what with scruples and misgivings, they never 
dare advance a step. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, but Aslaksen seems to me thoroughly well- 
intentioned, 

HOVSTAD. 

There is one thing I value more than good 
intentions, and that is an attitude of manly self- 
reliance. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

There I am quite with you. 

HoVSTAD, 

So I am going to seize this opportunity, and try 
whether I can't for once put a little grit into their 
good intentions. Tlie worship of authority must be 
rooted up in this town. This gross, inexcusable 
blunder of the waterworks must be brought home 
clearly to every voter. 

Dr. Stockmann, 
Very well. If you think it's for the good of the 
community, so be it ; but not till I have spoken to 
my brother, 

HoVSTAD. 

At all events, I shall be writing my leader in the 
meantime. And if the Burgomaster won't take 
the matter up 

Dr. Stockmann. 
But how can you conceive his refusing .'* 

Hovstad. 
Oh, it's not inconceivable. And then 



act ii.] an enemy of the people 55 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Well then, I promise you — ; look here — in 
that case you may print my paper — put it in just 
as it is. 

HOVSTAD. 

May I ? Is that a promise ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Handing him the manuscript ] There it is ; take 
it with you. You may as well read it in any case ; 
you can return it to me afterwards. 

Hovstad. 
Very good ; I shall do so. And now, good-bye. 
Doctor. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Good-bye, good-bye. You'll see it will all go 
smoothly, Mr. Hovstad — as smoothly as possible. 

Hovstad, 
H'm — we shall see. 

[Bows and goes out through the hall. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Going to the dining-room door and looking in.] 
Katrina ! Hallo ! are you back, Petra ? 

Petra. 
[Efdering.] Yes, I've just got back from schooL 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
[Entering.] Hasn't he been here yet } 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Peter.? No; but I have been having a long 



56 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT II. 

talk with Hovstad. He's quite enthusiastic about 
my discovery. It turns out to be of much wider 
import than I thought at first. So he has placed 
his paper at my disposal, if I should require it. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Do you think you will ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Not I ! But at the same time, one cannot but 
be proud to know that the enlightened, indepen- 
dent press is on one's side. And what do you 
think ? I have had a visit from the Chairman of 
the House-owners' Association too. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Really ? What did he want ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
To assure me of his support. They will all stand 
by me at a pinch. Katrina, do you know what I 
have behind me ? 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Behind you } No. What have you behind 
you? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
The compact majority ! 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Oh ! Is that good for you, Thomas ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, indeed; I should think it was good. 
Rubbing his hands as he walks up and down.] Great 



ACT II.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 57 



God ! what a delight it is to feel oneself in such 
brotherly unison with one'a fellow townsmen ? 

Petra. 
And to do so much that's good and useful, 
father ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
And all for one's native town, too ! 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
There's the bell. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
That must be he. [Kriock at the door.] Come 
in! 

Enter Burgomaster Stockmann from the hall. 

Burgomaster. 
Good morning. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I'm glad to see you, Peter. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Good morning, brother-in-law. How are you ? 

Burgomaster. 
Oh, thanks, so-so. [To the Doctor.] Yester- 
day evening, after office hours, I received from 
you a dissertation upon the state of the water at 
the Baths. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes. Have you read it ? 

Burgomaster. 
I have. 



58 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT U 

Dr. Stockmann. 
And what do you think of the affair ? 

Burgomaster. 
H'm — [ With a sidelong glance, 

Mrs, Stockmann. 
Come, Petra. 

[She and Petra go into the room on the left. 

Burgomaster. 
[AJlet a pause.] Was it necessary to make all 
these investigations behind my back } 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, till I was absolutely certain^ I 

Burgomaster. 
And are you absolutely certain now ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
My paper must surely have convinced you of 
that. 

Burgomaster. 
Is it your intention to submit this statement to 
the Board of Directors, as a sort of official docu- 
ment ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Of course. Something must be done in the 
matter, and that promptly. 

Burgomaster. 
As usual, you use very strong expressions in your 
statement. Amongst other things, you say that 
what we offer our visitors is a slow poison. 



act ii.] an enemy of the people. 59 

Dr. Stockmann, 
Why, Peter, what else can it be called ? Only 
think — poisoned water both internally and exter- 
nally ! And that to poor invalids who come to us 
in all confidence, and pay us handsomely to cure 
them ! 

Burgomaster. 
And then you announce as your conclusion that 
we must build a sewer to carry off the alleged im- 
purities from the Mill Dale, and must re-lay all 
the water-pipes. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes. Can you suggest any other plan.'* — I 
know of none. 

Burgomaster. 
I found a pretext for looking in at the town 
engineer's this morning, and — in a half-jesting 
way — I mentioned these alterations as things 
we might possibly have to consider, at some 
future time. 

Dr. Stockmann 3 
At some future time ! 

BurgomasteRo 
Of course he smiled at what he thought my 
extravagance. Have you taken the trouble to 
think what your proposed alterations would 
cost ? From what the engineer said, X gathered 
that tlie expenses would probably mount up to 
several hundred thousand crowns. 

Dr. Stockmann 
So much as that ? 



60 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPL*^ [aC? I. 

Burgomaster. 
Yes. But that is not the worst The work 
would take at least two years. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Two years ! J)o you mean to say two whole 
years ? 

Burgomaster. 
At least. And what are we to do with the 
Baths in the meanwhile ? Are we to close them ? 
We should have no alternative. Do you think 
any one would come here, if it got abroad that the 
water was pestilential ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
But, Peter, that's precisely what it is. 

Burgomaster. 
And all this now, just now, when the Baths are 
doing so well ! Neigbouring towns, too, are not 
without their claims to rank as health-resorts. 
Do you think they would not at once set to work 
to divert the full stream of visitors to themselves ? 
Undoubtedly they would ; and we should be left 
stranded. We should probably have to give up 
the whole costly undertaking ; and so you would 
have ruined your native town. 

Dr. Stockmann, 
I — ruined ! 

Burgomaster, 
It is only through the Baths that the town has 
any future worth speaking of. You surely know 
that as well as I do. 



act ii.] an enemy of the people. 6] 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Then what do you think should be done ? 

Burgomaster. 
I have not succeeded in convincing myself that 
the condition of the water at the Baths is as 
serious as your statement represents. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I tell you it's if anything worse — or will be in 
the summer, when the hot weather sets in. 

Burgomaster. 
I repeat that I believe you exaggerate greatly. 
A competent physician should know what measures 
to take — he should be able to obviate deleterious 
influences, and to counteract them in case they 
should make themselves unmistakably felt. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Indeed — ? And then — ? 

Burgomaster. 
The existing water-works are, once for all, a 
fact, and must naturally be treated as such. But 
when the time comes, the Directors will probably 
not be indisposed to consider whether it may not 
be possible, without unreasonable pecuniary sacri- 
fices, to introduce certain improvements. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
And do you imagine I could ever be a party to 
such dishonesty ? 

Burgomaster. 
Dishonesty } 



62 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT II. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, it would be dishonesty — a fraud, a lie, an 
absolute crime against the public, against society 
as a whole ! 

Burgomaster. 
I have not, as I before remarked, been able to 
convince myself that there is really any such 
imminent danger. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
You have ! You must have ! I know that my 
demonstration is absolutely clear and convincing. 
And you understand it perfectly, Peter, only you 
won't admit it. It was you who insisted that both 
the Bath-buildings and the water-works should be 
placed where they now are; and it's that — it's 
that damned blunder that you won't confess. 
Pshaw ! Do you think I don't see through you ? 

Burgomaster. 

And even it were so ? If I do watch over 
my reputation with a certain anxiety, I do it for 
the good of the town. Without moral authority 
I cannot guide and direct affairs in the way I 
consider most conducive to the general welfare. 
Therefore — and on various other grounds — it is 
of great moment to me that your statement 
should not be submitted to the Board of 
Directors. It must be kept back, for the good 
of the community. Later on I will bring up the 
matter for discussion, and we will do the best 
we can, quietly ; but not a word, not a whisper, 
of this unfortunate business must come to the 
public ears. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

But it can't be prevented now, my dear Peter. 



act ii.] an enemy of the people. 63 

Burgomaster. 
It must and shall be prevented. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
It can't be, I tell you ; far too many people 
know about it already. 

Burgomaster. 
Know about it ! Who ? Surely not those fellows 
on the People's Messenger ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Oh yes ; they know. The liberal, independent 
press will take good care that you do your duty. 

Burgomaster. 
[Afier a short pause. ^ You are an amazingly 
reckless man, Thomas. Have not you reflected 
what the consequences of this may be to yourself } 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Consequences ? — Consequences to me } 

Burgomaster. 
Yes — to you and yours. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
What the devil do you mean ? 

Burgomaster. 
I believe I have always shown myself ready and 
willing to lend you a helping hand. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, you have, and I thank you for it. 

Burgomaster. 
I ask for no thanks. Indeed, I was in some 



64 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT II. 



measure forced to act as I did — for my own sake. 
I always hoped I should be able to keep you a 
little in check, if I helped to imorove your- 
pecuniary position. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
What ! So it was only for your own sake ! 

Burgomaster. 
In a measure, I say. It is painful for a man in 
an official position, when his nearest relative goes 
and compromises himself time after time. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
And you think I do that } 

Burgomaster. 
Yes, unfortunately, you do, without knowing it. 
Yours is a turbulent, unruly, rebellious spirit. And 
then you have an unhappy propensity for rushing 
into print upon every possible and impossible 
occasion. You no sooner hit upon an idea than 
you must needs write a newspaper article or a 
whole pamphet about it. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Isn't it a citizen's duty, when he has conceived 
a new idea, to communicate it to the public ! 

Burgomaster. 
Oh, the public has no need for new ideas. The 
public gets on best with the good old recognised 
ideas it has already. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
You say that right out ! 



act ii.] an enemy of the people. 65 

Burgomaster. 
Yes, I must speak frankly to you for once. 
Hitherto I have tried to avoid it, for I know how 
irritable you are ; but now I must tell you the 
truth, Thomas. You have no conception how 
much you injure yourself , by your officiousness. 
You complain of the authorities, ay, of the 
Government itself— you cry them down and main- 
tain that you have been slighted, persecuted. But 
what else can you expect, with your impossible 
disposition ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Oh, indeed ! So I am impossible, am I ? 

Burgomaster. 
Yes, Thomas, you are an impossible man to 
work with. I know that from experience. You 
have no consideration for any one or any thing ; 
you seem quite to forget that you have me to 
thank for your position as medical officer of the 
Baths 

Dr. Stockmann. 
It was mine by right ! Mine, and no one else's ! 
I was the first to discover the town's capabilities 
as a watering-place ; I saw them, and, at that time, 
I alone. For years I fought single-handed for 
this idea of mine ; I wrote and wrote 

Burgomaster. 
No doubt ; but then the right time had not 
come. Of course, in that out-of-the-world corner, 
you could not judge of that. As soon as the 
propitious moment arrived, I — and others — took 
the matter in hand 



66 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT II. 



Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, and you went and bungled the whole of 
my glorious plan. Oh, we see now what a set of 
wiseacres you were ! 

Burgomaster. 

All / can see is that you are again seeking an 
outlet for your pugnacity. You want to make 
an onslaught on your superiors — that is an old 
habit of yours. You cannot endure any authority 
over you ; you look askance at any one who holds 
a higher post than your own ; you regard him as 
a personal enemy — and then you care nothing 
what kind of weapon you use against him. But 
now I have shown you how much is at stake for 
the town, and consequently for me too. And 
therefore I warn you, Thomas, that I am in- 
exorable in the demand I am about to make of 
you! 

Dr. Stockmann. 

What demand ? 

Burgomaster. 
As you have not had the sense to refrain from 
chattering to outsiders about this deHcate business, 
which should have been kept an official secret, of 
course it cannot now be hushed up. All sorts oi 
rumours will get abroad, and evil-disposed persons 
will invent all sorts of additions to them. It will 
therefore be necessary for you publicly to contra 
diet these rumours. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I ! How ? I don't understand you } 

Burgomaster. 
We expect that, after further investigation, you 



ACT II] an enemy OF THE PEOPLE. 67 



will come to the conclusion that the affair is not 
nearly so serious or pressing as you had at first 
imagined. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Aha ! So you expect that .'* 

Burgomaster. 
Furthermore, we expect you to express your 
confidence that the Board of Directors will 
thoroughly and conscientiously carry out all 
measures for the remedying of any possible 
defects. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, but that you'll never be able to do, so long 
as you go on tinkering and patching. I tell you 
that, Peter ; and it's my deepest, sincerest con- 
viction 

Burgomaster. 
As an official, you have no right to hold any 
individual conviction. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Starting.] No right to } 

Burgomaster. 
As an official, I say. In your private capacity, 
of course, it is another matter. But as a sub- 
ordinate official of the Baths, you have no right to 
express any conviction at issue with that of your 
superiors. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
This is too much ! I, a doctor, a man of science, 
have no right to ! 

Burgomaster. 
The matter in question is not a purely scientific 



68 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT II. 

one ; it is a complex affair ; it has both a technical 
and an economic side. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
What the devil do I care what it is ! I will be 
free to speak my mind upon any subject under 
the sun ! 

Burgomaster. 
As you please — so long as it does not concern 
the Baths. With them we forbid you to meddle. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Shouts.] You forbid ! You ! A set of 

Burgomaster. 
/forbid it — /, your chief;' and when I issue an 
order, you have simply to obey. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Controlling himself.] Upon my word, Peter, if 
you weren't my brother 

Petra. 
[Tears open the door.] Father, you shan't sub- 
mit to this ! 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
[Following her.] Petra, Petra ! 

Burgomaster. 
Ah I So we have been listening ! 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
The partition is so thin, we couldn't help 

Petra. 
I stood and listened on purpose. 



act ii.] an enemy of the people. 69 

Burgomaster. 
Well, on the whole, I am not sorry 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Coming nearer to him.] You spoke to me of 
forbidding and obeying 

Burgomaster. 
You have forced me to adopt that tone. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
And am I to give myself the lie, in a public 
declaration ^ 

Burgomaster. 
We consider it absolutely necessary that you 
should issue a statement in the terms indicated. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
And if I do not obey ? 

Burgomaster. 
Then we shall ourselves put forth a statement 
to reassure the public. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Well and good ; then I shall write against you. 
I shall stick to my point and prove that / am 
right, and you wrong. And what will you do 
then ? 

Burgomaster. 
Then I shall be unable to prevent your dismissal. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

What .' 

Petra. 
Father ! Dismissal 



70 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT II. 



Mrs. Stockmann. 
Dismissal ' 

Burgomaster. 
Your dismissal from the Baths. I shall be 
compelled to move that notice be given you at 
once, and that you have henceforth no connection 
whatever with the Baths. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
You would dare to do that ! 

Burgomaster. 
It is you who are playing the daring game. 

Petra. 
Uncle, this is a shameful way to treat a man 
like father ! 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Do be quiet, Petra ! 

Burgomaster. 
[Looking at Petra.] Aha ! We have opinions 
of our own already, eh ? To be sure, to be sure ! 
[To Mrs. Stockmann.] Sister-in-law, you are 
presumably the most rational member of this 
household. Use all your influence with your 
husband ; try to make him realise what all this 
will involve both for his family 

Dr. Stockmann. 
My family concerns myself alone ! 

Burgomaster. 

both for his family, I say, and for the town 

he lives in. 



act ii.] an enemy of the people. 71 

Dr. Stockmann. 
It is I that have the real good of the town at 
heart I I want to lay bare the evils that, sooner 
or later, must come to light. Ah ! You shall see 
whether I love my native town. 

Burgomaster 
You^ who, in your blind obstinacy, want to cut 
off the town's chief source of prosperity ! 

Dr Stockmann 
That source is poisoned, man ! Are you mad ? 
We live by trafficking in filth and corruption ! 
The whole of our flourishing social life is rooted 
in a lie ! 

Burgomaster. 
Idle fancies — or worse. The man who scatters 
broadcast such offensive insinuations against his 
native place must be an enemy of society. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[^Going towards hini.^ You dare to » 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
[Throwing herself behveen them.'\ Thomas 1 

Petra. 
[Seizing her father s arm.] Keep calm, father ! 

Burgomaster. 
I will not expose myself to violence. You have 
had your warning now. Reflect upon what is due 
to yourself and to your family. Good-bye. 

[He goes. 
Dr. Stockmann. 
[Walking up and down."] And I must put up 



72 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT II. 

with such treatment ! In my own house, Katrina ' 
What do you say to that ! j 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Indeed, it's a shame and a disgrace, Thoma s -^ 

Petra. 
Oh, if I could only get hold of uncle 1 

Dr. Stockmann. 
It's my own fault I ought to have stood up 
against them long ago — to have shown my teeth 
— and used them too ! — And to be called an 
enemy of society ! Me ! I won't bear it ; by 
Heaven, I won't ! 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
But my dear Thomas, after all, your brother 
has the power 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, but I have the right. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Ah yes, right, right ! What good does it do to 
have the right, if you haven't any might } 

Petra. 
Oh, mother — how can you talk so ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
What ! No good, in a free community, to have 
right on your side ? What an absurd idea, 
Katrina ! And besides — haven't I the free and 
independent press before me — and the compact 
majority at my back ? That is might enough, I 
should think I 



ACT II.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 13 



Mrs. Stockmann. 
Why, good heavens, Thomas ! you're surely not 
thinking of — — — ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
What am I not thinking of ? 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
— - — of setting yourself up against your brother, 
I mean. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
What the devil would you have me do, if not 
stick to what is right and true ? 

Petra. 
Yes, that's what I should like to know } 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
But it will be of no earthly use. If they won't, 
they won't. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Ho-ho, Katrina ! just wait a while, and you shall 
see whether I can fight my battles to the end. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Yes, to the end of getting your dismissal ; that 
is what will happen. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Well then, I shall at any rate have done my duty 
towards the public, towards society — I who am 
called an enemy of society ! 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
But towards your family, Thomas ? Towards us 
at home ? Do you think that is doing your duty 
towards those who are dependent on you ? 



74 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT II. 

Petra. 
Oh, mother, don't always think first of us. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Yes, it's easy for you to talk ; you can stand alone 
if need be. — But remember the boys, Thomas; 
and think a little of yourself too, and of me 

Dr. Stockmann. 

You're surely out of your senses, Katrina ! If I 

were to be such a pitiful coward as to knuckle 

under to this Peter and his confounded crew — 

should I ever have another happy hour in all my life .'' 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
I don't know about that ; but God preserve us 
from the happiness we shall all of us have if you 
persist in defying them. There you will be again, 
with nothing to live on, with no regular income. I 
should have thought we had had enough of that in 
the old days. Remember them, Thomas ; think 
of what it all means. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

[Struggling with himself and clenching his hands.^ 
And this is what these jacks-in-office can bring 
upon a free and honest man ! Isn't it revolting, 
Katrina .'' 

Mrs. Stockmann. 

Yes, no doubt they are treating you shamefully. 
But God knows there's plenty of injustice one 
must just submit to in this world, — Here are the 
boys, Thomas. Look at them ! What is to become 
of them ? Oh no, no ! you can never have the 
heart 

EiLiF and Morten, with school-books, have meanwhile 
entered. 



ACT II.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 75 



Dr. Stockmann. 

The boys— ! [ With a sudden access qfjirmness 

arid decision.] Never, though the whole earth should 
crumble, will I bow my neck beneath the yoke. 

[Goes towards his room. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
[Following kim.] Thomas — what are you going 
to do ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[At the door.] I must have the right to look my 
boys in the face when they have grown into free 
men. [Goes into his room^ 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
[Bursts into tears.] Ah, God help us all ! 

Petra. 
Father is true to the core. He will never give in ! 
[The boys ask wonderingly what it all 
means ; Petra signs to them to he quiet. 



ACT THIRD. 

The Editor s Room of the " People s Messenger " In 
the background, to the left, an entrance-door ; to 
the right another door, with glass panes, through 
which can he seen the composing-room. A door 
in the right-hand wall. In the middle of the room 
a large table covered with papers, newspapers, and 
books. In front, on the left, a ivindow, and by it 
a desk with a high stool. A couple of arm-chairs 
beside the table ; some other chairs along the walls. 
The room is dingy and cheerless, the furniture 
shabby, the arm-chairs dirty and torn. In the 
composing-room are seen a few compositors at 
work ; further back, a hand-press in operation. 

HovsTAD is seated at the desk, writing. Presently 
BiLLiN3 enters from the right, with the Doctor's 
manuscript in his hand. 

Billing. 
Well, I must say ! 

HoVSTAD. 

\^Writing.'\ Have you read it through ? 

Billing. 
[Laying the MS, on the desk.] Yes, I should think 
I had. 

HoVSTAD. 

Don't you think the Doctor comes out strong? 



act iii.] an enemy of the people. 77 

Billing. 
Strong I Why, strike me dead if he isn't 
crushing! Every word falls like a — well, like a 
sledge-hammer. 

HOVSTAD. 

Yes, but these fellows won't collapse at the first 
blow. 

Billing. 
True enough; but we'll keep on hammering away, 
blow after blow, till the whole officialdom comes 
crashing down. As I sat in there reading that 
article, I seemed to hear the revolution thundering 
afar. 

HoVSTAD. 

[Turning round.^ Hush ! Don't let Aslaksen 
hear that. 

Billing. 

[In a lower voice.] Aslaksen's a white-livered, 
cowardly fellow, without a spark of manhood in 
him. But this time you'll surely carry your point ? 
Eh ? You'll print the Doctor's paper ? 

HovsTAD. 
YeS; if only the Burgomaster doesn't give in 

Billing. 
That would be deuced annoying. 

HoVSTAD. 

Well, whatever happens, fortunately we can turn 
the situation to account. If the Burgomaster won't 
agree to the Doctor's proposal, he'll have all the 
small middle-class down upon him — all the House- 
owners' Association, and the rest of them. And 
if he does agree to it, he'll fall out with the whole 



78 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT III. 

crew of big shareholders in the Baths, who have 
hitherto been his main support 

Billing. 
Yes, of course ; for no doubt they'll have to fork 
out a lot of money 

HOVSTAD. 

You may take your oath of that. And then, 
don't you see, when the ring is broken up, we'll 
din it into the public day by day that the Burgo- 
master is incompetent in every respect, and that 
all responsible positions in the town, the whole 
municipal government in short, must be entrusted 
to men of liberal ideas. 

Billing. 
Strike me dead if that isn't the square truth ! I 
see it — 1 see it : we are on the eve of a revolution I 

[A knock at the door. 

HoVSTAD. 

Hush ! [Calls.] Come in ! 

Dr. Stockmann enters from the back, left. 

HoVSTAD. 

[Going towards him^ Ah, here is the Doctor. 
Well } 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Print away, Mr. Hovstad ! 

HoVSTAD. 

So it has come to that } 

Billing. 
Hurrah ! 



act iii.] an enemy ctf the people. 79 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Print away, I tell you. To be sure it has come 
to that. Since they will have it so, they must. 
War is declared, Mr. Billing ! 

Billing. 
War to the knife, say I ! War to the death. 
Doctor ! 

Dr. Stockmann, 

This article is only the beginning. I have four 
or five others sketched out in my head already. But 
where do you keep Aslaksen f 

Billing. 
[Calling into the pri7iting-room.] Aslasken ! just 
come here a moment. 

HOVSTAD. 

Four or five more articles, eh .'' On the same 
subject } 

Dr. Stockmann. 

Oh no — not at all, my dear fellow. No ; they 
will deal with quite different matters. But they're 
all of a piece with the water-works and sewer 
question. One thing leads to another. It's just 
like beginning to pick at an old house, don't you 
know ? 

Billing. 

Strike me dead, but that's true ! You feel you 
can't leave off till you've pulled the whole lumber- 
heap to pieces. 

Aslaksen. 

[E?iters from the printing-room.^ Pulled to pieces ! 
Surely the Doctor isn't thinking of pulling the 
Baths to pieces ? 



80 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT III. 

HOVSTA D. 

Not at all. Don't be alarmed. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
No, we were talking of something quite different. 
Well, what do you think of my article, Mr. Hovstad.? 

HOVSTAD. 

I think it's simply a masterpiece 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, isn't it ? I'm glad you think so — very glad. 

HoVSTAD. 

it's so clear and to the point. One doesn't in 
tlrC least need to be a specialist to understand the 
gist of it. I am certain every intelligent man will 
be on your side. 

ASLAKSEN. 

And all the prudent ones too, I hope ? 

Billing. 
Both the prudent and imprudent — in fact, 
almost the whole town. 

AsLAKSEN. 

Then I suppose we may venture to print it. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I should think so ! 

HoVSTAD. 

It shall go in to-morrow. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, plague take it, not a day must be lost. 



ACT III.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 81 

Look here, Mr. Aslaksen, this is what' I wanted to 
ask you : won't you take personal charge of the 
article ? 

ASLAKSEN. 

Certainly I will. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Be as careful as if it were gold. No printers' 
errors ; every word is important. I shall look in 
again presently ; perhaps you'll be able to let me 
see a proof. — Ah I I can't tell you how I long to 
have the thing in print — to see it launched 

Billing. 
Yes, like a thunderbolt ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 

and submitted to the judgment of every 

intelligent citizen. Oh, you have no idea what I 
have had to put up with to-day. I've been 
threatened with all sorts of things. I was to be 
robbed of my clearest rights as a human 

being 

Billing. 
What ! Your rights as a human being ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
-I was to humble myself, and eat the dust; 



I was to set my personal interests above my 
deepest, holiest convictions 

Billing. 
Strike me dead, but that's too outrageous 

Hovstad. 
Oh, what can you expect from that quarter ? 



82 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT III. 



Dr. Stockmann. 
But they shall find they were mistaken in me ; 
they shall learn that in black and white, I promise 
them ! I shall throw myself into the breach every 
day in the Messenger, bombard them with one 
explosive article after another 

ASLAKSEN . 

Yes, but look here 

Billing. 
Hurrah ! It's war ! War ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I shall smite them to the earth, I shall crush 
them, I shall level their entrenchments to the 
ground in the eyes of all right-thinking men! 
That's what I shall do ! 

AsLAKSEN. 

But above all things be temperate, Doctor ; 
bombard with moderation 

Billing. 
Not at all, not at all ! Don't spare the dyna- 
mite ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Going on imperturhahly .'\ For now it's no 
mere question of water-works and sewers, you see. 
No, the whole community must be purged, dis- 
infected 

Billing. 

There sounds the word of salvation! 

Dr. Stockmann 
All the old bunglers must be sent packing, you 



ACT III.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 83 



understand. And that in every possible depart- 
ment ! Such endless vistas have opened out before 
me to-day. I am not quite clear about everything 
yet, but I shall see my way presently. It's young 
and vigorous standard-bearers we must look for, 
my friends ; we must have new captains at all the 
outposts. 

Billing. 
Hear^ hear ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
And if only we hold together, it will go so 
smoothly, so smoothly ! The whole revolution will 
glide off the stocks just like a ship. Don't you 
think so ? 

HOVSTAD. 

For my part, I believe we have now every 
prospect of placing our municipal affairs in the 
right hands. 

Aslaksen. 

And if only we proceed with moderation, I 
really don't think there can be any danger. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Who the devil cares whether there's danger or 
not ! What I do, I do in the name of truth and 
for conscience' sake. 

HovsTAD. 
You are a man to be backed up, Doctor. 

Aslaksen. 
Yes, there's no doubt the Doctor is a tru6 
friend to the town ; he's what I call a friend of 

society. 



84 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT III. 

Billing. 
Strike me dead if Dr. Stockmann isn't a Friend 
of the People, Aslaksen ! 

ASLAKSEN. 

I have no doubt the House-owners' Association 
will soon adopt that expression. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Shaking their hands ^ deeply moved. ^ Thanks, 
thanks, my dear, faithful friends ; it does me good 
to hear you. My respected brother called me 
something very different. Never mind ! Trust 
me to pay him back with interest ! But I must 
be off now to see a poor devil of a patient. I shall 
look in again, though. Be sure you look after 
the article, Mr. Aslaksen ; and, whatever you do, 
don't leave out any of my notes of exclamation ! 
Rather put in a few more ! Well, good-bye for 
the present, good-bye, good-bye. 

[Mutual salutations while they accompany 
him to the door. He goes out. 

HOVSTAD. 

He will be invaluable to us. 

Aslaksen. 
Yes, so long as he confines himself to this 
matter of the Baths. But if he goes further, it 
will scarcely be advisable to follow him. 

HoVSTAD. 

H'm — that entirely depends on 

Billing. 
You're always so confoundedly timid, Aslaksen. 



ACT III.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 85 

ASLAKSEN. 

Timid ? YeSj when it's a question of attacking 
local authorities, I am timid, Mr. Billing; 1 have 
learnt caution in the school of experience, let me 
tell you. But start me on the higher politics, 
confront me with the Government itself, and then 
see if I'm timid. 

Billing. 
No, you're not; but that's just where your 
inconsistency comes in. 

AsLAKSEN. 

The fact is, I am keenly alive to my responsi- 
bilities. If you attack tlie Government, you at 
least do society no harm ; for the men attacked 
don't care a straw, you see — they stay where they 
are all the same. But local authoritiescanbe turned 
out ; and then we might get some incompetent 
set into power, to the irreparable injury both of 
house-owners and other people. 

HOVSTAD. 

But the education of citizens by self-govern- 
ment — do you never think of that .-^ 

AsLAKSEN. 

When a man has solid interests to protect, he 
can't think of everything, Mr. Hovstad. 

HovsTAD. 
Then I hope I may never have solid interests 
to protect. 

Billing. 
Hear, hear ! 



86 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT III. 

ASLAKSEN. 

[Smiling.'] H'm ! [Points to the desk.] Governor 
Stensgard ^ sat in that editorial chair before you. 

Billing. 
[Spitting.] Pooh ! A turncoat like that ! 

HOVSTAD. 

I am no weathercock — and never will be. 

ASLAKSEN. 

A politician should never be too sure of any- 
thing on earth, Mr. Hovstnd. And as for you, 
Mr. Billing, you ought to take in a reef or two, I 
should say, now that you are applying for the 
secretaryship to the Town Council. 

Billing. 



HoVSTAD. 

Is that so. Billing } 

Billing. 
Well, yes — but, deuce take it, you understand, 
I'm only doing it to spite their high-mightinesses. 

Aslaksen. 
Well, that has nothing to do with me. But if 
I am to be accused of cowardice and inconsistency, 
I should just like to point out this : My political 
record is open to every one. I have not changed 
at all, except in becoming more moderate. My 

* It will be remembered ^that Aslaksen figures in The League 
of Youth, of which Stensgard is the central character. Stens- 
gard, we see, has justified Lundestad's prophecy by attaining the 
high administrative dignity of " Stiftamtmand, " here roughly 
translated " Governor." 



ACT III.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 87 

heart still belongs to the people ; but I don't 
deny that my reason inclines somewhat towards 
the authorities — the local ones, I mean. 

[Goes into the printing-room.] 

Billing. 
Don't you think we should try to get rid of 
him, Hovstad ? 

HOVSTAD. 

Do you know of any one else that will pay for 
our paper and printing ? 

Billing. 
What a confounded nuisance it is to have no 
capital ! 

HoVSTAD. 

[Sitting donm hy the desk.] Yes, if we only had 

that 

Billing. 
Suppose you applied to Dr. Stockmann ? 

HoVSTAD. 

[Turning over his papers.] What would be the 
good ? He hasn't a rap. 

Billing. 
No ; but he has a good man behind him — old 
Morten Kiil — " The Badger," as they call him. 

Hovstad. 
[Writing.] Are you so sure he has money ? 

Billing. 
Yes, strike me dead if he hasn't ! And part of 
it must certainly go to Stockmann's family. He's 
bound to provide for — for the children at any rate. 



88 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT III. 

HOVSTAD. 

[Half turning.] Are you counting on that ? 

Billing. 
Counting ? How should I be counting on it ? 

HoVSTAD. 

Best not ! And that secretaryship you shouldn't 
count on either; for I can assure you you won't 
get it. 

Billing. 

Do you think I don't know that .'' A refusal is 
the very thing I want. Such a rebuff fires the 
spirit of opposition in you, gives you a fresh supply 
of gall, as it were ; and that's just what you need 
in a god-forsaken hole like this, where anything 
really stimulating so seldom happens. 

HoVSTAD. 

[Writing.] Yes, yes. 

Billing. 
Well — they shall soon hear from me ! — Now I'll 
go and write the appeal to the House-owners* 
Association. [Goes into the room on the right. 

HoVSTAD. 

[Sits at his desk, biting his penholder, and says 
slowly :] H'm — so that's the way of it. — [A knock 
at the door.] Come in. 

Petra enters from the hack, left. 

HoVSTAD. 

[Rising.] What ! Is it you } Here } 



act iii.] an enemy of the people. 89 

Petra. 
Yes ; please excuse me 



H OVSTAD. 

[Offering her an arm-chair.] Won't you sit 
down ? 

Petra. 
No, thanks ; I must go again directly. 

H OVSTAD. 

Perhaps you bring a message from your 

father ? 

Petra. 

No, I have come on my own account. [Takes 
a hook from the pocket of her cloak.] Here is that 
English story. 

H OVSTAD. 

Why have you brought it back ? 

Petra. 
Because I won't translate it. 

H OVSTAD. 

But you promised 

Petra. 
Yes ; but then I hadn't read it. I suppose you 
have not read it either } 

HOVSTAD. 

No ; you know I can't read English ; but 



Petra. 
Exactly ; and that's why I wanted to tell you 
that you must find something else, [Putting the 



90 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT III. 

book on the table.] This will never do for the 
Messenger. 

HOVSTAD. 

Why not ? 

Petra. 
Because it flies in the face of all your convictions. 

Hovstad. 
Well, for that matter 

Petra. 
You don't understand me. It makes out that a 
supernatural power looks after the so-called good 
people in this world, and turns everything to their 
advantage at last ; while all the so-called bad 
people are punished. 

Hovstad. 
Yes, but that's all right. That's the very thing 
the public like. 

Petra. 
And would you supply the public with such 
stuff? You don't believe a word of it yourself. 
You know well enough that things do not really 
happen like that. 

Hovstad. 
Of course not ; but an editor can't always do as 
he likes. He has often to humour people's fancies 
in minor matters. After all, politics is the chief 
thing in life — at any rate for a newspaper; and if 
I want the people to follow me along the path of 
emancipation and progress, I mustn't scare them 
away. If they find a moral story like this down 



ACT III.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 91 

in the cellar,^ they are all the more ready to take 
in what we tell them above — they feel themselves 
safer. 

Petra. 

For shame ! You're not such a hypocrite as to 
set traps like that for your readers. You're not a 
spider. 

Hovstad. 

[Smiling.] Thanks for your good opinion. It's 
true that the idea is Billing's, not mine. 

Petra. 
Mr. Billing's ! 

Hovstad. 
Yes, at least he was talking in that strain the 
other day. It was Billing that was so anxious to 
get the story into the paper ; I don't even know 
the book. 

Petra. 
But how can Mr. Billing, with his advanced 

views 

Hovstad. 
Well, Billing is many-sided. He's applying for 
the secretaryship to the Town Council, I hear. 

Petra. 
I don't believe that, Mr. Hovstad. How could 
he descend to such a thing ? 

Hovstad. 
That you must ask him. 

» The reference is to the continental feuilleton at the foot of 
the page. 



92 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [acT III. 



Petra. 
I could never have thought it of Billing ! 

HOVSTAD. 

[Looking more closely at her J] No ? Is it such a 
surprise to you ? 

Petra. 
Yes. And yet — perhaps not. Oh, I don't 



HoVSTAD. 

We journalists are not worth much. Miss Petra. 

Petra. 
Do you really ?ay that ? 

Hovstad. 
[ think so, now and then. 

Petra. 
Yes, in the little every-day squabbles — that I 
can understand. But now that you have taken up 

a great cause 

Hovstad. 
You mean this affair of your father's ? 

Petra. 
Of course. I should think you must feel your- 
self worth more than the general run of people 
now. 

Hovstad. 
Yes, to-day I do feel something of the sort. 

Petra. 
Yes, surely you must. Oh, it's a glorious career 
you have chosen ! To be the pioneer of unrecog- 



ACT III.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 9^ 

nised truths and new and daring ways of thought ! 
— even, if that were all, to stand forth fearlessly 
in support of an injured man 

Ho VST AD. 

Especially when the injured man is — I hardly 
know how to put it 

Petra. 
You mean when he is so upright and true .'* 

Hovstad. 
[In a low voice.] I mean — especially when he is 
your father. 

Petra. 
[Suddeny taken aback.] That .»* 

Hovstad. 
Yes, Petra — Miss Petra. 

Petra. 
So that is your chief thought, is it ? Not the 
cause itself ? Not the truth ? Not father's great, 
warm heart ? 

Hovstad. 
Oh, that too, of course. 

Petra. 
No, thank you ; you said too much that time, 
Mr. Hovstad. Now I shall never trust you again, 
in anything. 

Hovstad. 
Can you be so hard on me because it's mainly 

for your sake ? 

Petra. 
What I blame you for is that you have not acted 



94 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT III. 

straightforwardly towards father. You have talked 
to him as if you cared only for the truth and the 
good of the community. You have trifled with 
both father and me. You are not the man you 
pretended to be. And that I will never forgive 
you — never. 

HOVSTAD. 

You shouldn't say that so bitterly. Miss Petra — 
least of all now. 

Petra. 
Why not now ? 

HoVSTAD. 

Because your father cannot do without my help. 

Petra. 
[Measuring kirn from head to foot!] So you are 
capable of that, too } Oh, shame ! 

HoVSTAD. 

No, no. I spoke without thinking. You mustn't 
believe that of me. 

Petra. 
I know what to believe. Good-bye. 

Aslaksen enters from printing-room, hurriedly 
arid mysteriously. 

Aslaksen. 
What do you think, Mr. Hovstad — [Seeing 
Petra.] Ow, that's awkward 

Petra. 
Well, there is the book. You must give it to 
some one else. [Going towards the main door. 



ACT 111.1 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 95 



HOVSTAD. 

\Following her.^ But, Miss Petra 

Petra. 
Good-bye. [She goes. 

ASLAK»KN. 

1 say, Mr. Hovstad ! 

Ho VST AD. 

Well well ; what is it } 

Aslaksen. 
The Burgomaster's out there, in the printing- 
office. 

Hovstad. 
The Burgomaster } 

Aslaksen. 
Yes. He wants to speak to you ; he came in 
by the back way — he didn t want to be seen, you 
understand. 

Hovstad. 
What can be the meaning of this ? Stop, I'll 

go myself 

\Goes towards the printing-room, opens the 
door, hows and invites the Burgomaster 
to enter. 

Hovstad. 
Keep a look-out, Aslaksen, that no one 

Aslaksen. 
I understand. [Goes into the printing-room. 

Burgomaster. 
You didn't expect to see me here, Mr. Hovstad. 



96 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT Hi. 



HOVSTAD. 

No, I cannot say that I did. 

Burgomaster. 
[Looking about him.] You are very comfortably 
installed here — capital quarters. 

HoVSTAD. 

Oh 

Burgomaster. 
And here have I come, without with your leave 
or by your leave, to take up your time 

HoVSTAD. 

You are very welcome. Burgomaster ; I am at 
your service. Let me take your cap and stick. 
[He does so, and puts them on a chair.] And won't 
you be seated ? 

Burgomaster. 

[Sitting dofvn hy the table.'] Thanks. [Hovstad 
also sits by the table.] I have been much — very 
much worried to-day, Mr. Hovstad. 

Hovstad. 
Really ? Well, I suppose with all your various 
duties. Burgomaster 

Burgomaster. 
It is the Doctor that has been causing me 
annoyance to-day. 

Hovstad. 

Indeed ! The Doctor } 

Burgomaster. 
He has written a sort of memorandum to the 



ACT III.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 9? 

Directors about some alleged shortcomings in the 
Baths. 

HOVSTAD. 

Has he really ? 

Burgomaster. 
Yes ; hasn't he told you ? I thought he said 

HoVSTAD. 

Oh yes, by-the-bye, he did mention some- 
thing 

AsLAKSEN. 

[From the printing-office.] I've just come for the 
man u script 

HoVSTAD. 

[In a tone of vexation.] Oh ! — there it is on the 
desk. 

AsLAKSEN. 

[Finding it.] All right. 

Burgomaster. 
Why, that is the very thing 

AsLAKSEN. 

Yes, this is the Doctor's article, Burgomaster. 

HoVSTAD. 

Oh, is that what you were speaking of? 

Burgomaster. 
Precisely. What do you think of it f 

HoVSTAD. 

I have no technical knowledge of the matter, 
and I've only glanced through it. 



98 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT III. 



Burgomaster. 
And yet you are going to print it ! 

HOVSTAD. 

I can't very well refuse a signed communica- 
tion 

AsLAKSEN. 

I have nothing to do with the editing of the 
paper, Burgomaster 

Burgomaster. 
Of course not. 

AsLAKSEN. 

I merely print what is placed in my hands. 

Burgomaster. 
Quite right, quite right. 

ASLASKEN. 

So I must [Goes towards (he printing-room. 

Burgomaster. 
No, stop a moment, Mr. Aslaksen. With your 
permission, Mr. Hovstad 

HoVSTAD. 

By all means, Burgomaster. 

Burgomaster. 
You are a discreet and thoughtful man, Mr 
Aslaksen. 

Aslaksen. 
I am glad you think so, Burgomaster. 

Burgomaster. 
And a man of very wide influence. 



ACT III.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 99 

AsLAKSEN. 

Well — chiefly among the lower middle-class. 

Burgomaster. 
The small taxpayers form the majority — here as 
everywhere. 

Aslaksen. 
That's very true. 

Burgomaster. 
And I have no doubt that you know the general 
feeling among them. Am 1 right ? 

Aslaksen. 
Yes, I think I may say that I do, Burgomaster. 

Burgomaster. 
Well — since our townsfolk of the poorer class 
appear to be so heroically eager to make sacri- 
fices 

Aslaksen. 
How so ? 

Ho VST ad. 
Sacrifices ? 

Burgomaster. 
It is a pleasing evidence of public spirit — a most 
pleasing evidence. I admit it is more than I 
should quite have expected. But, of course, you 
know public feeling better than I do. 

Aslaksen, 
Yes but, Burgomaster 

Burgomaster. 
And assuredly it is no small sacrifice the town 
will have to make. 



100 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT II] 

HOVSTAD. 

The town ? 

ASLAKSEN. 

But I don't understand . It's the Baths 



Burgomaster. 
At a rough provisional estimate, the alterations 
the Doctor thinks desirable will come to two or 
three hundred thousand crowns. 

Aslaksen. 
That's a lot of money ; but 

Burgomaster. 
Of course we shall be obliged to raise a 
municipal loan. 

HoVSTAD. 

[Rising.] You surely can't mean that the 

town .'' 

Aslaksen. 

Would you come upon the rates ? Upon the 
scanty savings of the lower middle-class ? 

Burgomaster. 
Why, my dear Mr. Aslaksen, where else are the 
funds to come from ? 

Aslaksen. 
The proprietors of the Baths must see to that. 

Burgomaster, 
The proprietors are not in a position to go to 
any further expense= 

Aslaksen. 
Are you quite sure of that, Burgomaster ? 



act iii.] an enemy of the people. 101 

Burgomaster. 
I have poFitive information. So if these exten- 
sive alterations are called for, the town itself will 
have to bear the cost. 

ASLAKSEN. 

Oh, plague take it all — I beg your pardon ! — 
but this is quite another matter, Mr. Hovstad. 

HOVSTAD. 

Yes, it certainly is. 

Burgomaster. 
The worst of it is, that we shall be obliged to 
close the establishment for a couple of years. 

HoVSTAD. 

To close it ? Completely .'* 

AsLAKSEN. 

For two years ! 

Burgomaster. "* 

Yes, the work will require that time — at least. 

Aslaksen. 
But, damn it all ! we can't stand that. Burgo- 
master. What are we house-owners to live on in 
the meantime ? 

Burgomaster. 
It's extremely difficult to say, Mr. Aslaksen. 
But what would you have us do ? Do you think 
a single visitor will come here if we go about 
making them fancy that the water is poisoned, 
that the place is pestilential, that the whole 
town 



102 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT III. 

ASLAKSEN. 

And it's all nothing but fancy ? 

Burgomaster. 
With the best will in the world, I have failed to 
convince myself that it is anything else. 

Aslaksen. 
In that case it's simply inexcusable of Dr. 
Stockmann — I beg your pardon. Burgomaster, 

but 

Burgomaster. 
I'm sorry to say you are only speaking the 
truth, Mr. Aslaksen. Unfortunately, my brother 
has always been noted for his rashness. 

Aslaksen. 
And yet you want to back him up in this, Mr. 
Hovstad! 

HOVSTAD. 

But who could possibly imagine that ? 

Burgomaster. 
1 have drawn up a short statement of the facts, 
as they appear from a sober-minded standpoint ; 
and I have intimated that any drawbacks that 
may possibly exist can no doubt be remedied by 
measures compatible with the finances of the Baths. 

Hovstad. 
Have you the article with you. Burgomaster } 

Burgomaster. 
[Feeling in his pockets.] Yes ; I brought it with 
me, in case you 



ACT III.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 103 

AsLAKSEN. 

[Qiiickli/.'\ Plague take it, there he is ! 

Burgomaster. 
Who } My brother ? 

Hovstad, 
Where ? where ? 

AsLAKSEN. • 

He*s coming through the composing-room. 

Burgomaster. 
Most unfortunate I I don't want to meet him 
here, and yet there are several things I want to 
talk to you about. 

Hovstad. 
[Pointing to the door on the right.] Go in there 
for a moment. 

Burgomaster. 
But ? 

Hovstad. 
You'll find nobody but Billing there. 

AsLAKSEN. 

Quick, quick, Burgomaster; he's just coming. 

Burgomaster. 
Very well, then. But try to get rid of him 
quickly. 

[He goes out hy the door on the right, 
which AsLAKSEN opcns, and closes behind 
him. 



104 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT III. 



HOVSTAD. 

Pretend to be busy, Aslaksen. 

[He sits down and writes. Aslaksen turns 
over a heap of newspapers on a chair, 
right. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Entering from the composing-room.^ Here I am, 
back again. [Puts down his hat and stick.] 

HoVSTAD. 

[Writing.] Already, Doctor.? Make haste with 
what we were speaking of, Aslaksen. We've no 
time to lose to day. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[To Aslaksen.] No proof yet, I hear. 

Aslaksen. 
[Wilhoid turning round.] No; how could you 
expect it } 

Dr. Stockmann, 

Of course not ; but you understand my im- 
patience. I can have no rest or peace until I see 
the thing in print. 

HoVSTAD. 

H'm ; it will take a good while yet. Don't 
you think so, Aslaksen } 

Aslaksen. 
I'm afraid it will. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
All right, all right, my good friend ; then I 
shall look in again. I'll look in twice if necessary. 
With so much at stake — the welfare of the whole 



ACT III.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 105 

town — one mustn't grudge a little trouble. [Is on 
the point of going but stops and coines back.^ Oh, by 
the way — there's one other thing I must speak to 
you about. 

HOVSTAD. 

Excuse me ; wouldn't some other time ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I can tell you in two words. You see it's this : 
when people read my article in the paper to- 
morrow, and find I have spent the whole winter 
working quietly for the good of the town 

HoVSTAD. 

Yes but. Doctor 

Dr. Stockmann. 

I know what you're going to say. You don't 
think it was a bit more than my duty — my simple 
duty as a citizen. Of course I know that, as well 
as you do. But you see, my fellow townsmen — 
good Lord ! the poor souls think so much of 

me 

Aslaksen. 

Yes, the townspeople have hitherto thought 
very highly of you, Doctor. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
That's exactly why I'm afraid that — . What I 
wanted to say was this : when all this comes to 
them — especially to the poorer classes — as a 
summons to take the affairs of the town into their 
own hands for the future 

HoVSTAD. 

[Rising.^ H'm, Doctor, I won't conceal from 
you 



10b 



AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT 



Dr. Stockmann. 
Aha ! I thought there was something brewing I 
But I won't hear of it. If they are getting up 
anything of that sort 

Hovstad. 
Of what sort ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Well, anything of any sort — a procession with 
banners, or a banquet, or a subscription for a 
testimonial, or whatever it may be — you must 
give me your solemn promise to put a stop to it. 
And you too, Mr. Aslaksen ; do you hear ? 

Hovstad. 
Excuse me, Doctor ; we may as well tell you 
the whole truth first as last 

Mrs. Stockmann ew/er^/ro7w ike back, left 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
[Seeing the Doctor.] Ah ! just as I thought 

Hovstad. 
[Going towards her.] Mrs. Stockmann, too ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
What the devil do you want here, Katrina ? 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
You know very well what I want 

Hovstad. 
Won't you sit down ? Or perhaps 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Thanks, please don't trouble. And you must 



ACT III.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 107 

forgive my following my husband here ; remember, 
I ain the mother of three children 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Stuff and nonsense ! We all know that well 
enough. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Well, it doesn't look as if you thought very 
much about your wife and children to day, or you 
wouldn't be so ready to plunge us all into ruin. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Are you quite mad, Katiina ! Has a man with 
a wife and children no right to proclaim the 
truth ? Has he no right to be an active and 
useful citizen ? Has he no right to do his duty 
by the town he lives in ? 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Everything in moderation, Thomas ! 

ASLAKSEN. 

That's just what I say. Moderation in every- 
thing. 

Mrs. Stockmann 

You are doing us a great wrong, Mr Hovstad, 
in enticing my husband away from house and 
home, and befooling him in this way. 

Hovstad. 
I am not befooling any one 



Dr. Stockmann. 
Befooling ! Do you think I should let myself 
be befooled ? 



108 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT III. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Yes, that's just what you do. I know very well 
that you are the cleverest man in the town ; but 
you're very easily made a fool of, Thomas, [To 
HovsTAD.] Remember that he loses his post at 
the Baths if you print what he has written 

ASLAKSEN. 

What: 

HOVSTED. 

Well now, really. Doctor 



Dr. Stockmann. 
[Laughing.] Ha ha ! just let them try — ! No 
no, my dear, they'll think twice about that. I 
have the compact majority behind me, you see ! 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
That's just the misfortune, that you should have 
such a horrid thing behind you. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Nonsense, Katrina ; — you go home and look 
after your house, and let me take care of society. 
How can you be in such a fright when you see me 
so confident and happy .'' [Rubbing his hands and 
walking up and down.] Truth and the People must 
win the day ; you may be perfectly sure of that. 
Oh ! I can see all our free-souled citizens standing 

shoulder to shoulder like a conquering army ! 

[Stopping by a chair.] Why, what the devil is 
that? 

AsLAKSEN. 

[Looking at it.] Oh Lord ' 



ACT III.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE 1C9 

HOVSTAD. 

[The same.] H'm— 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Why, here's the top-knot of authority ! 

[He takes the Burgomaster's official cap 
carejulh/ between the tips of his fingers 
and holds it up. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
The Burgomaster's cap I 

Dr. Stockmann. 
And here's the staff of office, too ! But how in 
the devil's name did they ? 

HoVSTAD. 

Well then 

Dr. Stockmann. 

Ah, I understand ! He has been here to talk 
you over. Ha, ha ! He reckoned without his host 
that time ! And when he caught sight of me in the 
printing-room — [Bursts out laughing] — he took to 
his heels, eh, Mr. Aslaksen } 

Aslaksen. 
[Hurriedly.] Exactly ; he took to his heels. 
Doctor. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

Made off without his stick and . No, that 

won't do 3 Peter never left anything behind him. 
But where the devil have you stowed him } Ah 
— in here, of course. Now you shall see, Katrina 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Thomas — I implore you ! 



110 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT Hi 



ASLAKSEN. 

Take care. Doctor I 

[Dr. Stockmann has put on the Burgo- 
master's cap and grasped his stick ; he 
now goes up to the door, throws it open, 
and makes a military salute. 

The Burgomaster enters, red with anger. Behirid 
him comes Billing. 

Burgomaster. 
What is the meaning of these antics ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Respect, my good Peter ! Now, it's I that am in 
power in this town. [lie struts up and down. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
[Almost in tears.'] Oh, Thomas I 

Burgomaster. 
[Following him.] Give me my cap and stick .' 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[As before.] You may be Chief of Police, but 1 
am Burgomaster. I am master of the whole town I 
tell you ! 

Burgomaster. 
Put down my cap, I say. Remember it is an 
official cap, as by law prescribed ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Pshaw ! Do you think the awakening lion of the 
democracy will let itself be scared by a gold-laced 
cap } There's to be a revolution in the town to- 
morrow, let me tell you. You threatened me with 



ACT III.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. HI 



dismissal; but now / dismiss you— dismiss you 
from all your offices of trust — . You think I can't 
do it.^ — Oh, yes, I can ! I have the irresistible forces 
of society on my side. Hovstad and Billing will 
thunder in the People s Messenger, and Aslaksen 
will take the field at the head of the House-owners' 
Association— 

AsLAKSEN. 

No, Doctor, I shall not. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Why, of course you will-* 

Burgomaster. 

Aha ! Perhaps Mr. Hovstad would like to join 
the agitation after all } 

Hovstad. 
No, Burgomaster. 

Aslaksen. 
No, Mr. Hovstad isn't such a fool as to ruin both 
himself and the paper for the sake of a delusion. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Looking about him.'\ What does all this mean ? 

Hovstad. 
\ ou have presented your case in a false light. 
Doctor; therefore I am unable to give you my 
support. 

Billing. 
And after what the Burgomaster has been so kind 
as to explain to me, I 

Dr. Stockmann. 
In a false light ! Well, I am responsible for that. 



112 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT III. 

Just you print my article, and I promise you I shall 
prove it up to the hilt. 

HOVSTAD. 

I shall not print it. I cannot, and will not, and 
dare not print it. 

Dr. StockmaNn. 
You dare not .'* What nonsense is this ? You 
are editor ; and I suppose it's the editor that con- 
trols a paper. 

ASEAKSEN. 

No, it's the subscribers. Doctor. 

Burgomaster. 
Fortunately. 

ASLAKSEN. 

It's public opinion, the enlightened majority, 
the house-owners and all the rest. It's they who 
control a paper. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Cfl/m/y.] And all these powers I have against 
me ? 

AsLAKSEN. 

Yes, you have. It would mean absolute ruin 
for the town if your article were inserted. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
So that is the way of it! 

Burgomaster. 
My hat and stick I 

[Dr. Stockmann takes off the cap and lays 
it on the table along with tht stick 



ACT III.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 113 



Burgomaster. 
[Taking them both.^ Your term of office has 
come to an untimely end. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
The end is not yet. [To Hovstad.] So you are 
quite determined not to print my article in the 
Messenger ? 

Hovstad. 
Quite ; for the sake of your family, if for no 
other reason. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Oh, be kind enough to leave his family out of 
the question, Mr. Hovstad. 

Burgomaster. 

[Takes a manuscript from his pocket.] When this 
appears, the public will be in possession of all 
necessary information ; it is an authentic statement. 
I place it in your hands. 

Hovstad. 

[Taking the MS.] Good. It shall appear in due 
course. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

And not mine ! You imagine you can kill me 
and the truth by a conspiracy of silence ! But it 
won't be so easy at you think. Mr. Aslaksen, will 
you be good enough to print my article at once, 
as a pamphlet ? I'll pay for it myself, and be my 
own publisher. I'll have four hundred copies — 
no, five — six hundred. 

Aslaksen. 
No. If you offered me its weight in gold, I dare 



114 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT III. 

not lend my press to such a purpose, Doctor. I 
tlaren't fly in the face of public opinion You won't 
get it printed anywhere in the whole town. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Then give it me back. 

HOVSTAD. 

[Handing him the MS.] By all means. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Taking up his hat and cane.] It shall be made 
public all the same. I shall read it at a great mass 
meeting; all my fellow citizens shall hear the 
voice of truth I 

Burgomaster. 
Not a single society in the town would let 3^ou 
their hall for such a purpose. 

ASLAKSEN. 

Not one, I'm quite certain. 

Billing. 
No, strike me dead if they would ! 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
That would be too disgraceful ! Why do they 
turn against you like this, every one of them } 

Dr. Stockv\nn. 
[Irritated.] I'll tell you why. It s because in 
this town all the men are old vomen — like you. 
They all think of nothing but then families, not 
of the general good. 



act iii.] an enemy of the people. 115 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
[Taking his anw.] Then I'll show them that an 
— an old woman can be a man for once in a way. 
For now I'll stand by you, Thomas. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Bravely said, Katrina ! I swear by my soul and 
conscience the truth shall out ! If they won't let 
me a hall, I'll hire a drum and march through the 
town with it ; and I'll read my paper at every 
street comer. 

Burgomaster. 
You can scarcely be such a raving lunatic as 
that } 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I am. 

Aslaksen. 
You would not get a single man in the whole 
town to go with you. 

Billing. 
No, strike me dead if you would ! 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Don't give in, Thomas. I'll ask the boys to go 
with you. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
That's a splendid idea ! 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Morten will be delighted ; and Eilif will go too, 
I daresay. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

Yes, and so will Petra! And you yourself, 
Katrina ! 



Il6 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE, [aCT III. 



Mrs. Stockmann. 
No no, not I. But I'll stand at the window and 
w^atch you — that I will. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Throwing his arms about her and kissing her.] 
Thank you for that ! Now, my good sirs, we're 
ready for the fight ! Now we shall see whether 
your despicable tactics can stop the mouth of the 
patriot who wants to purge society ! 

[He and his wife go out together hy the door 
in the hack, left.] 

Burgomaster. 
[Shaking his head dubiously.] Now he has turned 
her head too \ 



ACT FOURTH. 

A large old-fashioned room in Captain Horster's 
house. An open folding-door in the background 
leads to an anteroom. In the wall on the left 
are three windows. Aboid the middle of the 
opposite wall is a platform, and on it a small 
table, two candles, a water-bottle and glass, and 
a bell. For the rest, the room is lighted by 
sconces placed between the windows. In front, 
on the left, is a table with a candle on it, and 
by it a chair. In front, to the right, a door, and 
near it a few chairs. 

Large assemblage of all classes of townsfolk. In the 
crowd are a few women and schoolboys. More 
and more people gradually stream in from the 
back until the room is quite full. 

First Citizen. 
[To another standing near him.] So you're here 
too, Lamstad } 

Second Citizen. 
1 never miss a public meeting. 

A Bystander. 
I suppose you've brought your whistle ? 

Second Citizen. 
Of course I have ; haven't you ? 



118 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT IV. 

Third Citizen. 
I should think so. And Skipper Evensen said 
he'd bring a thumping big horn. 

Second Citizen. 
He's a good 'un, is Evensen ! 

[Laughter in the group. 

A Fourth Citizen. 
[Joining them.] I say, what's it all about } 
What's going on here to-night } 

Second Citizen. 
Why, it's Dr. Stockmann that's going to lecture 
against the Burgomaster. 

Fourth Citizen. 
But the Burgomaster's his brother. 

First Citizen. 
That makes no difference. Dr. Stockmann's 
not afraid of him. 

Third Citizen. 
But he's all wrong ; the People's Messenger says 
so. 

Second Citizen. 
Yes, he must be wrong this time ; for neither 
the House-owners* Association nor the Citizens' 
Club would let him have a hall. 

First Citizen. 
They wouldn't even lend him the hall at the 
Baths. 

Second Citizen. 
No, you may be sure they wouldn't. 



I 



ACT IV.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 119 

A Man. 
[In another group.] Now, who's the one to 
follow in this business, eh ? 

Another Man. 
[In the same group.] Just keep your eye on 
Aslaksen, and do as he does. 

Billing. 
[With a portfolio under his arm, makes his way 
through the crowd.] Excuse me, gentlemen. Will 
you allow me to pass ? I'm here to report for the 
People s Messenger. Many thanks. 

[Sits by the table on the left. 

A Working-man. 
Who's he ? 

Another Working-man. 
Don't you know him } It's that fellow Billing, 
that writes for Aslaksen's paper. 

Captain Horster enters by the door in front on 
the right, escorting Mrs. Stockmann and Petra. 
EiLiF and Morten follow them. 

Horster. 
This is where I thought you might sit ; you can 
so easily slip out if anything should happen^. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Do you think there will be any disturbance ? 

Horster. 
One can never tell— with such a crowd. But 
there's no occasion for anxiety. 



V 



120 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT IV. 

Mrs. Stockman n. 
[Sitting down.] How kind it was of you to offer 
Stockmann this room. 

HORSTER. 

Since no one else would, I 

Petra. 
[Who has also seated herself.] And it was brave 
too. Captain Horster. 

HoRSTER. 

Oh, I don't see where the bravery comes in. 

HovsTAD and Aslaksen enter at the same moment, 
hut make their way through the crowd separately. 

Aslaksen. 
[Going up to Horster.] Hasn't thQ Doctor 
come yet.^ 

Horster. 
He's waiting in there. 

[A movement at the door in the background. 

Hovstad. 
[To Billing.] There's the Burgomaster ! 
Look! 

Billing, 
Yes, strike me dead if he hasn't put in an 
appearance after all ! 

Burgomaster Stockmann makes his way blandly 
through the meeting, bowing 'politely to both 
sides, and takes his stand by the wall on the left. 
Soon aftetivards, Dr. Stockmann enters by the 
door on the right. He wears a black frock- 
coat and white necktie. Faint applause, met 
by a subdued hissing. Then silence. 



act iv.] an enemy of the people. 121 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[In a low tone.^ How do you feel, Katrina ? 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Quite comfortable, thank you. [In a low voice.] 
Now do keep your temper, Thomas. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Oh, I shall keep myself well in hand. [Looks 
at his watch, ascends the jjlatform, and bows.] It's a 

quarter past the hour, so 1 shall begin 

[Takes out his MS. 
Aslaksen. 
But surely a chairman must be elected first. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
No , that's not at all necessary. 

Several Gentlemen. 
[Shouting.] Yes, yes. 

Burgomaster. 
I should certainly say that a chairman ought to 
be elected. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
But I've called this meeting to give a lecture, 
Peter ! 

Burgomaster. 
Dr. Stockmann's lecture may possibly lead to 
differences of opinion. 

Several Voices in the Crowd. 
A chairman J A chairman I 

Hovstad. 
The general voice of the meeting seems to be 
for a chairman! 



122 



AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [acT IV. 



Dr. Stock MANN. 
[Controlli?ig himself.] Very well then ; let the 
meeting have its way. 

ASLAKSEN. 

Will not the Burgomaster take the chair > 

Three Gentlemen. 
[Clapping.] Bravo ! Bravo ! 

Burgomaster. 
For reasons you will easily understand, I must 
decline. But, fortunately, we have among us one 
whom I think we can all accept. I allude to the 
president of the House-owners' Association, Mr. 
Aslaksen. 

Many Voices, 
Yes, yes ! Bravo Aslaksen ! Hurrah for 
Aslaksen ! 

[Dr. Stockmann takes his MS. and descends 
from the platform. 

Aslaksen. 
Since my fellow citizens repose this trust in me, 

I cannot refuse 

[Applause and cheers. Asi aksen ascends 
the platform. 

Billing. 
[ Writing.] So — " Mr. Aslaksen was elected by 

acclamation ' ' 

Aslaksen. 

And now, as I have been called to the chair, I 

take the liberty of saying a few brief words. I 

am a quiet, peace-loving man ; I am in favour of 

discreet moderation, and of — and of moderate 



ACT IV.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 123 

discretion. Every one who knows me, knows 
that. 

Many Voices. 
Yes, yes, Aslaksen ! 

Aslaksen. 
I have learnt in the school of life and of 
experience that moderation is the virtue in which 
the individual citizen finds his best advantage 

Burgomaster. 
Hear, hear ! 

Aslaksen. 

and it is discretion and moderation, too, 

that best serve the community. I could there- 
fore suggest to our respected fellow citizen, who 
has called this meeting, that he should endeavour 
to keep within the bounds of moderation, 

A Man. 
[Bi/ the door.^ Three cheers for the Temperance 
Society ! 

A Voice. 
Go to the devil ! 

Voices. 
Hush ! hush ! 

Aslaksen. 
No intenuptions, gentlemen I — Does any one 
wish to offer any observations ? 

Burgomaster. 
Mr. Chairman ! 

Aslaksen. 

Burgomaster Stockmann will address the 
meeting. 



1^4 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT IV. 



Burgomaster. 
On account of my close relatioiiship — of which 
you are probably aware — to the present medical 
officer of the Baths, I should have preferred not 
to speak here this evening. But my position as 
chairman of the Baths, and my care for the vital 
interests of this town, force me to move a resolu- 
tion. I may doubtless assume that not a single 
citizen here present thinks it desirable that un- 
trustworthy and exaggerated statements should 
get abroad as to the sanitary condition of the 
Baths and of our town. 

Many Voices. 
No, no, no ! Certainly not ! We protest 

Burgomaster. 
I therefore beg to move, " That this meeting 
declines to hear the proposed lecture or speech 
on the subject by the medical officer of the 
Baths." 

Dr. Stockmann. 

[Flaring up,] Declines to hear ! What do 

you mean ? 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
[Coughing.] H'm! h'm ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Controlling himself.] So I am not to be heard ? 

Burgomaster. 

In my statement in the People's Messenger I have 

made the public acquainted with the essential 

facts, so that all well-disposed citizens can easily 

form their own judgment. From that statement 



ACT IV.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 125 

it will be seen that the medical officer's proposal 
— besides amounting to a vote of censure upon 
the leading men of the town — at bottom only 
means saddling the ratepayers with an un- 
necessary outlay of at least a hundred thousand 
crowns. [Sounds of protest and some kissing. 

AsLAKSEN. 

[Ringing the bell.] Order, gentlemen ! I must 
beg leave to support the Burgomaster's resolution. 
I quite agree with him that there is something 
beneath the surface of the Doctor's agitation. In 
all his talk about the Baths, it is really a revolu- 
tion he is aiming at ; he wants to effect a redis- 
tribution of power. No one doubt the excellence 
of Dr. Stockmann's intentions — of course there 
cannot be two opinions as to that, I, too, am in 
favour of self-government by the people, if only it 
doesn't cost the ratepayers too much. But in 
this case it would do so ; and therefore I'll be 
hanged if — excuse me — in short, I cannot go with 
Dr. Stockmann upon this occasion. You can buy 
even gold too dear; that's my opinion. 

[Loud applause on all sides. 

HOVSTAD. 

I, too feel bound to explain my attitude. Dr. 
Stockmann's agitation seemed at first to find 
favour in several quarters, and I supported it as 
impartially as I could. But it presently appeared 
that we had been misled by a false representation 

of the facts 

Dr. Stockmann. 

False ! 

HoVSTAD. 

Well then, an untrustworthy representation. 



126 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT IV. 

This the Burgomaster's report has proved. I 
trust no one here present doubts my liberal 
principles ; the attitude of the Messenger on all 
great political questions is well known to you all. 
But I have learned from men of judgment and 
experience that in purely local matters a paper 
must observe a certain amount of caution. 

ASLAKSEN. 

I entirely agree with the speaker. 

HOVSTAD. 

And in the matter under discussion it is quite 
evident that Dr. Stockmann has public opinion 
against him. But, gentlemen, what is an editor's 
clearest and most imperative duty ? Is it not to 
work in harmony with his readers ? Has he not 
in some sort received a tacit mandate to further 
assiduously and unweariedly the interests of his 
constituents } Or am I mistaken in this ? 

Many Voices. 
No, no, no ! Hovstad is right ! 

HovsTAD. 
It has cost me a bitter struggle to break with a 
man in whose house I have of late been a frequent 
guest — with a man who, up to this day, has en- 
joyed the unqualified goodwill of his fellow 
citizens — with a man whose only, or, at any rate, 
whose chief fault is that he consults his heart 
rather than his head. 

A Few Scattered Voices. 
That's true I Hurralisfor Dr. Stockmann ! 



\CT IV.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 127 



HOVSTAD. 

But my duty towards the community has con- 
strained me to break with him. Then, too, there 
is another consideration that impels me to oppose 
him, and, if possible, to block the ill omened path 
upon which he is entering : consideration for his 

family 

Dr. Stockmann. 

Keep to the water-works and sewers ! 

HoVSTAD. 

-consideration for his wife and his unpro- 



tected^ children. 

Morten. 
Is that us, mother ? 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Hush! 

ASLAKSEN. 

I will now put the Burgomaster's resolution to 
the vote. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

You need not. I have no intention of saying 
anything this evening of all the filth at the Baths. 
No I You shall hear something quite different. 

Burgomaster. 
[Half aloud.] What next, I wonder ? 

A Drunken Mvn. 
[At the main entrance.] I'm a ratepayer, so I've 
a right to my opinion ! And it's my full, firm, 
incomprehensible opinion that 

1 Literally, ' ' unprovided-for." 



128 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT IY. 

Several Voices. 
Silence up there I 

Others. 
He's drunk ! Turn him out ! 

[The drunken man is turned out. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Can I speak } 

ASLAKSEN. 

[Ringing the bell] Dr. Stockmann will address 
the meeting. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
A few days ago, I should flave liked to see any 
one venture upon such an attempt to gag me as 
has been made here to-night ! I would have 
fought like a lion for my sacred rights ! But now 
I care little enough ; for now I have more 
important things to speak of. 

[The people crowd closer round him. 
Morten Khl comes in sight among the 
bystanders. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Continuing.'\ I have been pondering a great 
many things during these last days — thinking such 
a multitude of thoughts, that at last my head was 
positively in a whirl 

Burgomaster. 
[Coughing.^ H'm ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
But presently things seemed to straighten 
themselves out, and I saw them clearly in all 



:T IV.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 129 



their bearings. That is why I stand here this even- 
ing. I am about to make great revelations, my 
fellow citizens ! I am going to announce to you 
a far-reaching discovery, beside which the trifling 
fact that our water-works are poisoned, and that 
our health-resort is built on pestilential ground, 
sinks into insignificance. 

Many Voices. 
[Shouting.] Don't speak about the Baths ! We 
won't listen to that ! No more of that ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I have said I would speak of the great discovery 
I have made within the last few days — the dis- 
covery that all our sources of spiritual life are 
poisoned, and that our whole society rests upon 
a pestilential basis of falsehood. 

Several Voices. 
[In astonishment and half aloud.] What's he 
saying ? 

Burgomaster. 
Such an insinuation ! 

ASLAKSEN. 

[ With his hand on the hell.] I must call upon the 
speaker to moderate his expressions. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I have loved my native town as dearly as any 
man can love the home of his childhood. 1 was 
young when I left our town, and distance, home- 
sickness and memory threw, as it were, a glamour 
over the place and its people. 

[Some applause and cries of approval. 



130 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT IV. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Then for years I was imprisoned in a horrible 
hole, far away in the north. As I went about 
among the people scattered here and there over 
the stony wilderness, it seemed to me, many a 
time, that it would have been better for these 
poor famishing creatures to have had a cattle-doctor 
to attend them, instead of a man like me. 

[Murmurs in the room. 

Billing. 
[Lai/ing dorvn his pen.] Strike me dead if I've 
ever heard ! 

HOVSTAD. 

What an insult to an estimable peasantry ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Wait a moment ! — I don't think any one can 
reproach me with forgetting my native town up 
there. I sat brooding like an eider duck; and 
what I hatched was — the plan of the Baths. 

[Applause and expressions of dissent. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
And when, at last, fate ordered things so happily 
that I could come home again — then, fellow 
citizens, it seemed to me that I hadn't another 
desire in the world. Yes, one desire I had : an 
eager, constant, burning desire to be of service to 
my birthplace, and to its people. 

Burgomaster. 
[Gazing into vacancy.'] A strange method to 

select ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
So I went about revelling in my happy illusions. 



ACT IV.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 131 

But yesterday morning — no, it was really two 
nights ago — my mind's eyes were opened wide, 
and the first thing I saw was the colossal stupidity 

of the authorities 

[Noise, cries, and laughter. Mrs. Stock- 
MANN couglis repeatedly. 

Burgomaster. 
Mr. Chairman I 

ASLAKSEN. 

[Ringing his hell.] In virtue of my position ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
It's petty to catch me up on a word, Mr. 
Aslaksen ! I only mean that I became alive to 
the extraordinary muddle our leading men had 
been guilty of, down at the Baths. I cannot for 
the life of me abide leading men — I've seen enough 
of them in my time. They are like goats in a 
young plantation : they do harm at every point ; 
they block the path of a free man wherever he 
turns — and I should be glad if we could exter- 
minate them like other noxious animals 

[Uproar in the room. 

Burgomaster. 
Mr. Chairman, are such expressions permissible ? 

Aslaksen. 
[ With his hand on the bell.] Dr. Stockmann 

Dr. Stockmann 
I can't conceive how it is that I have only now 
seen through these gentry ; for haven't I had a 
magnificent example before my eyes here every 



132 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT IV. 

day — my brother Peter — slow of understanding, 

tenacious in prejudice 

[Laughter, noise, and whistling. Mrs. Stock- 
MANN coughs. AsLAKSEN Hngs violently. 

The Drunken Man. 
[Who has come in again.] Is it me you're allud- 
ing to ? Sure enough, my name's Petersen ; but 
devil take me if 

Angry Voices. 
Out with that drunken man ! Turn him out ! 
[The man is again turned out. 

Burgomaster. 
Who is that person ? 

A Bystander. 
I don't know him, Burgomaster. 

Another. 
He doesn't belong to the town. 

A Third. 

I believe he's a timber-dealer from 

[The rest is inaudible. 

Aslaksen, 
The man was evidently intoxicated. — Con- 
tinue, Dr. Stockmann ; but pray endeavour to be 
moderate. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

Well, fellow citizens, I shall say no more about 
our leading men. If any one imagines, from what 
I have just said, that it's these gentlemen I want 
to make short work of to-night, he is mistaken — 
altogether mistaken. For I cherish the comfortable 



ACT IV.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 133 

conviction, that these laggards, these relics of a 
decaying order of thought, are diligently cutting 
their own throats. They need no doctor to hasten 
their end. And it is not people of that sort that 
constitute the real danger to society ; it is not they 
who are most active in poisoning the sources of 
our spiritual life and making a plague-spot of the 
ground beneath our feet; it is not they who are 
the most dangerous enemies of truth and freedom 
in our society. 

Cries from All Sides. 
Who, then ? Who is it ? Name, name ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, you may be sure I shall name them ! For 
this is the great discovery I made yesterday: 
[/w a louder tone.^ The most dangerous foe to 
truth and freedom in our midst is the compact 
majority. Yes, it's the confounded, compact, liberal 
majority — that, and nothing else ! There, I've 
told you. 

[Immense disturbance in the room. Most of 
the audience are shouting, stamping, and 
whistling. Several elderly gentlemen ex- 
change furtive glances and seem to be 
enjoying the scene. Mrs. Stockmann 
rises in alarm. Eilif and Morten ad- 
vance threateningly towards the school- 
boys, who are making noises. Aslaksen 
rings the bell and calls for order. Hov- 
STAD and Billing both speak, but nothing 
can be heard. At last quiet is restored. 

Aslaksen. 
I must request the speaker to withdraw his 
ill considered expressions. 



134 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT IV. 



Dr. Stockmann. 
Never, Mr. Aslaksen ! For it's this very majority 
that robs me of my freedom, and wants to forbid 
me to speak the truth. 

HOVSTAD. 

The majority always has right on its side. 

Billing. 
Yes, and truth too, strike me dead ' 

Dr. Stockmann. 
The majority never has right on its side. Never 
I say ! That is one of the social lies that a free, 
thinking man is bound to rebel against. Who 
make up the majority in any given country ? Is 
it the wise men or the fools ? I think \^e must 
agree that the fools are in a terrible, overwhelming 
majority, all the wide world over. But how in the 
devil's name can it ever be right for the fools to 
rule over the wise men ? yUproar and yells. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, yes, you can shout me down, but you cannot 
gainsay me. The majority has might — unhappily 
— but right it has not. It is I, and the few, the 
individuals, that are in the right. The minority 
is always right. [Renewed uproar. 

HoVSTAD. 

Ha ha ! Dr. Stockmann has turned aristocrat 
since the day before yesterday ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
T have said that I have no words to waste on 
the little, narrow-chested, short-winded crew that 
lie in our wake. Pulsating life has nothing more 



ACT IV.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 135 

to do with them. I am speaking of the few, the 
individuals among us, who have made all the new, 
germinating truths their own. These men stand, 
as it were, at the outposts, so far in the van that 
the compact majority has not yet reached them — 
and there they fight for truths that are too lately 
born into the world's consciousness to have won 
over the majority. 

HOVSTAD. 

So the Doctor's a revolutionist now ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, by Heaven, I am, Mr. Hovstad ! I am 
going to revolt against the lie that truth belongs 
exclusively to the majority. What sort of truths 
do the majority rally round ? Truths so stricken 
in years that they are sinking into decrepitude 
When a truth is so old as that, gentlemen, it's in 
a fair way to become a lie. [Laughter and jeers. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, yes, you may believe me or not, as you 
please ; but truths are by no means the wiry 
Methusalehs some people think them. A nor- 
mally-constituted truth lives — let us say — as a 
rule, seventeen or eighteen years ; at the outside 
twenty ; very seldom more. And truths so 
patriarchal as that are always shockingly 
emaciated ; yet it's not till then that the 
majority takes them up and recommends them 
to society as wholesome food, I can assure you 
there's not much nutriment in that sort of fare; 
you may take my word as a doctor for that. All 
these majority- truths are like last year's salt pork ; 
they're like rancid, mouldy ham, producing all the 
moral scurvy that devastates society. 



1S6 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT IV. 

ASLAKSEN. 

It seems to me that the honourable speaker is 
wandering rather far from the subject. 

Burgomaster. 
I beg to endorse the Chairman's remark. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Why you're surely mad, Peter ! I'm keeping as 
closely to my text as I possibly can ; for my text 
is precisely this — that the masses, the majority, 
this devil's own compact majority — it's that, I say, 
that's poisoning the sources of our spiritual life, 
and making a plague-spot of the ground beneath 
our feet. 

Hovstad. 

And you make this charge against the great, 
independent majority, just because they have the 
sense to accept only certain and acknowledged 
truths ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 

Ah, my dear Mr. Hovstad, don't talk about 
certain truths ! The truths acknowledged by the 
masses, the multitude, were certain truths to the 
vanguard in our grandfathers' days. We, the 
vanguard of to-day, don't acknowledge them any 
longer; and I don't believe there exists any other 
certain truth but this — that no society can live a 
healthy life upon truths so old and and marrowless. 

Hovstad. 
But instead of all this vague talk, suppose you 
were to give us some specimens of these old 
marrowless truths that we are living upon. 

[Approval from several quarters. 



act iv.] an enemy of the people. 137 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Oh, I could give you no end of samples from 
the rubbish-heap ; but, for the present, I shall 
keep to one acknowledged truth, which is a 
hideous lie at bottom, but which Mr. Hovstad, and 
the Messenger, and all adherents of the Messenger, 
live on all the same. 

Hovstad. 

And that is } 

Dr. Stockmann. 
That is the doctrine you have inherited from 
your forefathers, and go on thoughtlessly pro- 
claiming far and wide — the doctrine that the 
multitude, the vulgar herd, the masses, are the 
pith of the people — that they are the people — 
that the common man, the ignorant, undeveloped 
member of society, has the same right to sanction 
and to condemn, to counsel and to govern, as the 
intellectually distinguished few. 

Billing. 
Well, now, strike me dead ! 



Hovstad. 
[Shouting at the same time.] Citizens, please note 
this ! 

Angry Voices. 

Ho-ho ! Aren't we the people .^ Is it only the 
grand folks that are to govern ? 

A Working Man. 
Out with the fellow that talks like that ! 

Others. 
Turn him out I 



138 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT IV. 

A Citizen. 
[Shouting^ Blow your horn, Evensen. 

[The deep notes of a horn are heard ; whist- 
ling, and terrific noise in the room. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[When the noise has somewhat subsided.] Now do 
be reasonable ! Can't you bear even for once in 
a way to hear the voice of truth ? I don't ask you 
all to agree with me on the instant. But I certainly 
should have expected Mr. Hovstad to back me up, 
as soon as he had collected himself a bit. Mr. 
Hovstad sets up to be a freethinker 

Several Voices. 
[Subdued and jvondering.] Freethinker, did he 
say ? What ? Mr. Hovstad a freethinker } 

Hovstad. 
[Shouting.] Brove it, Dr. Stockmann. When 
have I said so in print .'' 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Reflecting.] No, upon my soul, you're right there; 
you've never had the frankness to do that. Well, 
well, I won't put you on the rack, Mr. Hovstad. 
Let me be the freethinker then. And now I'll 
make it clear to you all, and on scientific grounds 
too, that the Messenger is leading you shamefully 
by the nose, when it tells you that you, the masses, 
the crowd, are the true pith of the people. I tell 
you that's only a newspaper lie. The masses are 
nothing but the raw material that must be fashioned 
into a People. 

[Murmurs, laughter, and disturbance in the 
room. 



act iv.] an enemy of the people. 139 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Is it not so with all other living creatures .'' What 
a difference between a cultivated and an uncul- 
tivated breed of animals ! Just look at a common 
barn-door hen. What meat do you get from such 
a skinny carcase .'' Not much, I can tell you ! And 
what sort of eggs does she lay ? A decent crow 
or raven can lay nearly as good. Then take a cul- 
tivated Spanish or Japanese hen, or take a fine 
pheasant or turkey — ah ! then you'll see the differ- 
ence ! And now look at the dog, our near rela- 
tion. Think first of an ordinary vulgar cur — I 
mean one of those wretched, ragged, plebeian 
mongrels that haunt the gutters, and soil the side- 
walks. Then place such a mongrel by the side of 
a poodle-dog, descended through many generations 
from an aristocratic stock, who have lived on deli- 
cate food, and heard harmonious voices and music. 
Do you think the brain of the poodle isn't very 
differently developed from that of the mongrel ? 
Yes, you may be sure it is ! It's well-bred poodle- 
pups like this that jugglers train to perform the 
most marvellous tricks. A common peasant-cur 
could never learn anything of the sort — not if he 
tried till doomsday. 

[^Noise and laughter are heard all round. 

A Citizen. 
[Shouting.] Do you want to make dogs of us now.'^ 

Another Man. 
We're not animals, Doctor ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, on my soul, but we are animals, my good 
sir ! We're one and all of us animals, whether we 



140 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT IV. 

like it or not. But truly there are few enough 
aristocratic animals among us. Oh, there's a terrible 
difference between poodle-men and mongrel-men I 
And the ridiculous part of it is, that Mr. Hovstad 
quite agrees with me so long as it's four-legged 
animals we're talking of 

Hovstad. 
Oh, beasts are only beasts. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Well and good — but no sooner do 1 apply the 
law to two-legged animals, than Mr. Hovstad stops 
short; then he daren't hold his own opinions, or 
think out his own thoughts ; then he turns the 
whole principle upside down, and proclaims in the 
People s Messenger that the barn-door hen and the 
gutter-mongrel are precisely the finest specimens 
in the menagerie. But that's always the way, so 
long as the commonness still lingers in your 
system, and you haven't worked your way up to 
spiritual distinction. 

Hovstad. 
I make no pretence to any sort of distinction. I 
come of simple peasant folk, and I am proud that 
my root should lie deep down among the common 
people, who are here being insulted. 

Workmen. 
Hurrah for Hovstad. Hurrah ! hurrah ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
The sort of common people I am speaking of are 
not found among the lower classes alone; they 
crawl and swarm all around us — up to the very 



ACT IV.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 141 

summits of society. Just look at your own smug, 
respectable Burgomaster ! Why, my brother Peter 
belongs as clearly to the common people as any 

man that walks on two legs 

[Laughter and hisses. 

Burgomaster. 
I protest against such personalities. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

[Imperturhahly.^ and that not because, like 

myself, he's descended from a good-for-nothing old 
pirate from Pomerania, or thereabouts — for that's 
our ancestry 

Burgomaster. 
An absurd tradition ! Utterly groundless. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

but he is so because he thinks the thoughts 

and holds the opinions of his official superiors. Men 
who do that, belong, intellectually-speaking, to 
the common people ; and that is why my dis- 
tinguished brother Peter is at bottom so undis- 
tinguished, — and consequently so illiberal. 

Burgomaster. 
Mr. Chairman 1 

HOVSTAD. 

So that the distinguished people in this country 
are the Liberals ? That's quite a new light on the 
subject. [Laughter. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

Yes, that is part of my new discovery. And 
this, too, follows : that liberality of thought is 



142 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT IV. 

almost precisely the same thing as morality. There- 
fore I say it's absolutely unpardonable of the Mes- 
senger to proclaim, day out, day in, the false doctrine 
that it's the masses, the multitude, the compact 
majority, that monopolise liberality and morality, 
— and that vice and corruption and all sorts of 
spiritual uncleanness ooze out of culture, as all 
that filth oozes down to the Baths from the Mill 
Dale tan-works ! [Noise and interruptions. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Goes on imperturhahly , smiling in his eagerness.^ 
And yet this same Messenger can preach about 
elevating the masses and the multitude to a higher 
level of well-being ! Why, deuce take it, if the 
Messenger s own doctrine holds good, the elevation 
of the masses would simply mean hurling them 
straight to perdition ! But, happily, the notion 
that culture demoralises is nothing but an old tra- 
ditional lie. No it's stupidity, poverty, the ugliness 
of life, that do the devil's work ! In a house that 
isn't aired and swept every day — my wife main- 
tains that the floors ought to be scrubbed too, but 
perhaps that is going too far ; — well, — in such a 
house, I say, within two or three years, people lose 
the power of thinking or acting morally. Lack of 
oxygen enervates the conscience. And there 
seems to be precious little oxygen in many and 
many a house in this town, since the whole com- 
pact majority is unscrupulous enough to want to 
found its future upon a quagmire of lies and fraud, 

Aslaksen. 
I cannot allow so gross an insult to be levelled 
against a whole community. 



ACT IV.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 143 



A Gentleman. 
I move that the Chairman order the speaker to 
sit down. 

Eager Voices. 
Yes, yes I That's right ! Sit down ! Sit down ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Flaring up.^ Then I shall proclaim the truth at 
every street corner I I shall write to news- 
papers in other towns ! The whole country shall 
know how matters stand here ! 

Hovstad. 
It almost seems as if the Doctor's object were to 
ruin the town. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, so well do I love my native town that I 
would rather ruin it than see it flourishing upon a 
lie. 

Aslaksen. 
That's plain speaking. 

[Noise and whistling. Mrs. Stockmann 
coughs in vain ; the Doctor no longer 
heeds her. 

H OVSTAD. 

[Shouting amid the tumult.] The man who would 
ruin a whole community must be an enemy to his 
fellow citizens ! 

Dr. Stockman* . 
[With growing excitement.] What does it matter if 
a lying community is ruined ! Let it be levelled to 
the ground, say I ! All men who live upon a lie 



144 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT 



ought to be exterminated like vermin ! You'll end 
by poisoning the whole country ; you'll bring it to 
such a pass that the whole country will deserve to 
perish. And if ever it comes to that, I shall say, 
from the bottom of my heart : Perish the country ! 
Perish all its people ! 

A Man. 
[In the crowd.] Why, he talks like a regular enemy 
of the people ! 

Billing. 

Strike me dead but there spoke the people's 
voice ! 

The Whole Assembly. 

[Shouting.] Yes ! yes ! yes! He's an enemy of 
the people! He hates his country! He hates 
the whole people ! 

ASLAKSEN. 

Both as a citizen of this town and as a human 
being, 1 am deeply shocked at what it has been my 
lot to hear to-night. Dr. Stockman has unmasked 
himself in a manner I should never have dreamt 
of. I must reluctantly subscribe to the opinion 
just expressed by some estimable citizens ; and I 
think we ought to formulute this opinion in a reso- 
lution. I therefore beg to move, '^ That this meet- 
ing declares the medical officer of the Baths, Dr. 
Thomas Stockmann, to be an enemy of the people." 
[Thunders of applause and cheers. Many 
form a circle round the Doctor and hoot 
at him. Mrs. Stockmann and Petra 
have risen. Morten and 'Eil.if Jight the 
other school-boys, who have also been hoot- 
ing. Some grown-up persons separate 
them. 



act iv.] an enemy of the people. 145 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[To the people hooting.] Ah, fools that you 
are ! I tell you that 

ASLAKSEN. 

[Ringing.] The Doctor is out of order in speak • 
ing. A formal vote must be taken ; but out of 
consideration for personal feelings, it will be taken 
in writing and without names. Have you any 
blank paper, Mr. Billing ? 

Billing. 
Here's both blue and white paper 

AsLAKSEN. 

Capital; that will save time. Cut it up into 
.sHps. That's it. [To the meeting.] Blue means 
no, white means aye. I myself will go round and 
collect the votes. 

[The Burgomaster leaves the room. Aslak- 
SEN and a few others go round with pieces 
of paper in hats. 

A Gentleman. 
[To HovsTAD.] What can be the matter with 
the Doctor ? What does it all mean } 

HoVSTAD. 

Why, you know what a hare-brained creature 
he is. 

Another Gentleman. 

[To Billing.] I say, you're often at his house. 
Have you ever noticed if the fellow drinks } 

Billing. 
Strike me dead if I know what to say. The 



146 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT IV. 



toddy's always on the table when any one looks 
in. 

A Third Gentleman. 

No, I should rather say he went off his head at 
times. 

First Gentleman. 

I wonder if there's madness in the family ? 

Billing. 
I shouldn't be surprised. 

A Fourth Gentleman. 
No, it's pure malice. He wants to be revenged 
for something or other. 

Billing. 
He was certainly talking about a rise in ins 
salary the other day ; but he didn't get it. 

All the Gentlemen. 
[Together.] Aha ! That explains everything. 

The Drunken Man. 
[In the crowd.] I want a blue one, I do ! And 
I'll have a white one too. 

Several People. 
There's the tipsy man again ! Turn him out. 

Morten Kiil. 
[Approaching the Doctor.] Well, Stockmann, 
you see now what such monkey-tricks lead to ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I have done my duty. 



ACT IV.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 147 



Morten Kiil. 
What was that you said about the Mill Dale 
tanneries ? 

Dr Stockmann. 
You heard what I said- that all the filth comes 
from them. 

Morten Kiil. 
From my tannery as well ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I'm sorry to say yours is the worst of all. 

Morten Kiil. 
Are you going to put that in the papers, too? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I can't gloze anything over. 

Morten Kiil. 
This may cost you dear, Stockmann ! 

[He goes out. 
A Fat Gentleman. 
[Goes up to Horster, without bowing to the ladies J\ 
Well, Captain, so you lend your house to enemies 
of the people. 

HORSTER. 

I suppose I can do as I please with my own 
property, Sir. 

The Gentleman. 

Then of course you can have no objection if I 
follow your example .'* 

Horster. 
What do you mean, Sir } 



148 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT IV. 



The Gentleman. 

You shall hear from me to-morrow. 

[Turns away and goes out. 

Petra. 
Wasn't that the owner of your ship, Captain 
Horster ? 

HORSTER. 

Yes, that was Mr. Vik. 

ASLAKSEN. 

[ With the voting papers in his hands, ascends the 
platform and rings.'] Gentlemen ! I have now to 
announce the result of the vote. All the voters, 
with one exception 

A Young Gentleman. 
That's the tipsy man ! 

Aslaksen. 
With the exception of one intoxicated person, 
this meeting of citizens unanimously declares the 
medical officer of the Baths, Dr. Thomas Stock- 
mann, to be an enemy of the people. [Cheers and 
applause.] Three cheers for our fine old munici- 
pality ! [Cheers.] Three cheers for our able and 
energetic Burgomaster, who has so loyally set 
family prejudice aside ! [Cheers.] The meeting 
is dissolved. [He descends.] 

Billing. 
Three cheers for the Chairman ! 

All. 
Hurrah tor Aslaksen, 



ACT IV.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 149 



Dr. Stockmann. 
My "hat and coat, Petra. Captain, have you 
room for passengers to the new world ? 

HORSTER. 

For you and yours, Doctor, we'll make room. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[While Fetra helps him to put on his coat,] Good 
Come Katrina, come boys ! 

[He gives his wife his arm. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
[In a low votce.] Thomas, dear, let us go out by 
the back way. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
No back ways, Katrina ! [In a loud voice.] You 
shall hear from the enemy of the people, before 
he shakes the dust from his feet ! I am not so 
forbearing as a certain person ; I don't say : I 
forgive you, for you know not what you do. 

ASLAKSEN. 

[Shouts.] That is a blasphemous comparison. 
Dr. Stockmann ! 

Billing. 

Strike me ! This is more than a serious man 

can stand ! 

A Coarse Voice. 
And he threatens us into the bargain ! 

Angry Cries. 
Let's smash his windows! Duck him in the 
fiord! 



160 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT IV. 

A Man. 
[In the crowd] Blow your horn, Evensen .' Blow 
man, blow ! 

[Hom-hlowing, rvhutling, and wild shouting. 
The Doctor, with his family, goes 
towards the door. Horster clears the 
way for them. 

All. 
[ Yelling after them as they go out.] Enemy of the 
people ! Enemy of the people ! Enemy of the 
people ! 

Billing. 
Strike me dead if I'd care to drink toddy at 
Stockmann's to-night ! 

[The people throng towards the door; the 
shouting is taken up by others otdside ; 
from the street are heard cries of " Enemy 
of the people 1 Enemy of the people ! " 



ACT FIFTH. 

Dr. Stockmann's Study. Bookshelves and glass 
cases with various collections along the walls. In 
the back, a door leading to the hall ; in front, on 
the left, a door to the sitting-room. In the wall 
to the right are two windows, all the panes of 
which are smashed. In the middle of the room 
is the Doctor's writing-table, covered with books 
and papers. The room is in disorder. It is 
forenoon. 

Dr. Stock MANN, in dressing-gown, slippers, and 
skull-cap, is bending down and raking with an 
umbrella under one of the cabinets ; at last he 
rakes oict a stone. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Speaking through the sitting-room doorway. \ 
Katrina, I've found another I 

Mrs. bTOCKMANN. 

[In the sitting room.^ Oh, I'm sure you'll find 
plenty more. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

[Placing the stone on a pile of others on the table.^ 
I shall keep these stones as sacred relics. Eilif 
and Morten shall see tlieni every day, and when I 
die they shall be heirlooms. [Raking under the 
bookcase.^ Hasn't — what the devil is her name ? — 
the girl — hasn't she been for the glazier yet ? 



152 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT 



Mrs. Stockmann. 
[Coming in.'] Yes, but he said he didn't 
know whether he would be able to come to-day. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I believe, if the truth were told, he daren't 
come. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Well, Randina, too, had an idea he was afraid 
to come, because of the neighbours, \fipeaks through 
the sitting-room doorway.] What is it, Randina ? — 
Very well. [Goes out, and returns immediately.] 
Here is a letter for you, Thomas. 

Dr Stockmann. 
Let me see. [Opens the letter and reads.] Aha ! 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Who is it from } 

Dr. Stockmann. 
From the landlord. He gives us notice. 

"Mrs. Stockmann. 
Is it possible } He is such a nice man 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Looking at the letter.] He daren't do otherwise, 
he says. He is very unwilling to do it; but he 
daren't do otherwise — on account of his fellow 
citizens — out of respect for public opinion — is in 
a dependent position —doesn't dare to offend 
certain influential men 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
There, you see, Thomas. 



act v.] an enemy of the people. 153 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, yes, I see well enough ; they are all 
cowards, every one of them, in this town ; no one 
dares do anything for fear of all the rest. [Throws 
the letter on the table. 1^ But it's all the same to us, 
Katrina. We will shape our course for the new 
world, and then 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
But are you sure this idea of going abroad is 
altogether wise, Thomas .'* 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Would you have me stay here, where they have 
pilloried me as an enemy of the people, branded 
me, smashed my windows ! And look here, Katrina, 
they've torn a hole in my black trousers, too. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Oh dear ; and these are the best you have ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
A man should never put on his best trousers 
when he goes out to battle for freedom and truth. 
Well, I don't care so much about the trousers ; 
them you can always patch up for me. But that 
the mob, the rabble, should dare to attack me as 
if they were my equals — that is what I can't, for 
the life of me, stomach ! 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Yes, they have behaved abominably to you 
here, Thomas; but is that any reason for leaving 
the country altogether } 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Do you think the plebeians aren't just as insolent 



154 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT V. 

in other towns ? Oh yes^ they are, my dear ; it's 
six of one and half a dozen of the other. Well, 
never mind; let the curs yelp; that's not the 
worst ; the worst is that every one, all over the 
country, is the slave of his party. Not that I 
suppose — very likely it's no better in the free 
West either ; the compact majority, and en- 
lightened public opinion, and all the other devil's 
trash is rampant there too. But you see the con- 
ditions are larger there than here ; they may kill 
you, but they don't slow-torture you ; they don't 
screw up a free soul in a vice, as they do at home 
here. And then, if need be, you can keep out of 
it all. [Walks up and do?vn.] If I only knew of 
any primeval forest, or a little South Sea island 
to be sold cheap 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Yes, but the boys, Thomas. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

[Comes to a standstill.] What an extraordinary 
woman you are, Katrina ! Would you rather have 
the boys grow up in such a society as ours ? Why, 
you could see for yourself ye.iterday evening that 
one half of the population is stark mad, and if 
the other half hasn't lost its wits, that's only 
because they are brute beasts who haven't any wits 
to lose. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 

But really, my dear Thomas, you do say such 
imprudent things. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
What ! Isn't it the truth that I tell them ? 
Don't they turn all ideas upside down ? Don't 



ACT V.l AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 155 



they stir up right and wrong into one hotch-potch ? 
Don't they call lies everything that I know to be 
the truth ? But the maddest thing of all is to 
see crowds of grown men, calling themselves 
Liberals, go about persuading themselves and 
others that they are friends of freedom ! Did 
you ever hear anything like it, Katrina ? 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Yes, yes, no doubt. But 

Petra enters from the sitting-room. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Back from school already } 

Petra. 
Yes ; I have been dismissed. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Dismissed } 

Dr. Stockmann. 
You too ! 

Petra. 
Mrs. Busk gave me notice, and so I thought it 
best to leave there and then. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
You did perfectly right ! 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Who could have thought Mrs. Busk was such a 
bad woman ! 

Petra. 
Oh mother, Mrs. Busk isn't bad at all ; I saw 
clearly how sorry she was. But she dared not do 
otherwise, she said ; and so 1 am dismissed. 



156 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT V. 



Dr. Stockmann. 
[Laughing and rubbing his hands.] She dared 
not do otherwise — just like the rest ! Oh, it's 
delicious. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Oh well, after that frightful scene last night 

Petra. 
It wasn't only that. What do you think, 

father ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Well? 

Petra. 
Mrs. Busk showed me no fewer than three 
letters she had received this morning 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Anonymous, of course ? 

Petra. 
Yes. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
They never dare give their names, Katrina ! 

Petra. 
And two of them stated that a gentleman who 
is often at our house said at the club last night 
that I held extremely advanced opinions upon 
various things 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Of course you didn't deny it. 

Petra. 
Of course not. You know Mrs. Busk herself is 



ACT v.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 157 

pretty advanced in her opinions when we're alone 
together ; but now that this has come out about 
me, she dared not keep me on. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Some one that is often at our house, too . 
There, you see, Thomas, what comes of all your 
hospitality. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
We won't live any longer in such a pig-sty I 
Pack up as quickly as you can, Katrina ; let's get 
away — the sooner the better. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Hush ! I think there is some one in the 
passage. See who it is, Petra. 

Petra. 
[Opening the door.] Oh, is it you. Captain 
Horster ? Please come in. 

•HORSTER. 

[From the hall.] Good morning. I thought I 
might just look in and ask how you are. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Shaking his hand.] Thanks ; that's very good 
of you. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
And thank you for helping us through the 
crowd last night. Captain Horster. 

Petra. 
How did you ever get home again } 



58 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [acT V. 



HORSTER. 

Oh, that was all right. I am tolerably able- 
bodied, you know ; and those fellows' bark is 
worse than their bite. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, isn't it extraordinary, this piggish 
cowardice .'* Come here, and let me show you 
something ! Look, here are all the stones they 
threw in at us. Only look at them } Upon my 
soul there aren't more than two decent-sized 
lumps in the whole heap ; the rest are nothing 
but pebbles — mere gravel. They stood down 
there, and yelled, and swore they'd half kill me ; 
— but as for really doing it — no, there's mighty 
little fear of that in this town ! 

Horster. 

You may thank your stars for that this time, 
Doctor. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

So I do, of course. But it's depressing all the 
same ; for if ever it should come to a serious 
national struggle, you may be sure public opinion 
would be for taking to its heels, and the compact 
majority would scamper for their lives like a flock 
of sheep, Captain Horster. That is what's so 
melancholy to think of; it sfrieves me to the 
heart. — But deuce take it — it's foolish of me to 
feel anything of the sort ! They have called me 
an enemy of the people; well then, let me be an 
enemy of the people! 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
That you'll never be, Thomas. 



act v.] an enemy of the people. 159 

Dr. Stockmann. 
You'd better not take your oath of it, Katrina. 
A bad name may act like a pin-scratch in the lung. 
And that confounded word — I can't get rid of it ; 
it has sunk deep into my heart ; and there it lies 
gnawing and sucking like an acid. And no 
magnesia can cure me. 

Petra. 
Pooh ; you should only laugh at them, father. 

HORSTER. 

People will think differently yet, Doctor. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Yes, Thomas, that's as certain as that you are 
standing here. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, perhaps, when it is too late. Well, as they 
make their bed so they must lie ! Let them go 
on wallowing here in their pig-sty, and learn to 
repent having driven a patriot into exile. When 
do you sail. Captain Horster ? 

Horster. 
Well — that's really what I came to speak to 

you about 

Dr. Stockmann. 
What } Anything wrong with the ship } 

Horster. 
No ; but the fact is, I shan't be sailing in her. 

Petra. 
Surely you have not been dismissed } 



l60 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT V. 

HORSTER. 

[Smili7ig]. Yes, I have. 

Petra. ' . 

You too ! 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
There, you see, Thomas. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
And for the truth's sake ! Oh, if I could 
possibly have imagined such a thing 

HoRSTER. 

You mustn't be troubled about this; I shall 
soon find a berth with some other company, else- 
where. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

And this is that man Vik ! A wealthy man, 
independent of every one 1 Faugh ! 

HoRSTER. 

Oh, for that matter, he's a very well-meaning 
man. He said himself he would gladly have kept 
me on if only he dared 

Dr. Stockmann. 
But he didn't dare ? Of course not ! 

HoRSTER. 

It's not so easy, he said, when you belong to a 

party 

Dr. Stockmann. 

My gentleman has hit it there ! A party is like a 
sausage-machine ; it grinds all the brains together 
in one mash ; and that's why we see nothing but 
porridge-heads and pulp-heads all around ! 



ACT v.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. l6l 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Now really, Thomas ! 

Petra. 
[To Horster.] If only you hadn't seen us 
home, perhaps it would not have come to this. 

Horster. 
I don't regret it. 

Petra. 
[Gives him her hand.] Thank you for that ! 

Horster. 
[To Dr. Stockmann.] And then, too, I wanted 
to tell you this : if you are really determined to go 
abroad, I've thought of another way 

Dr. Stockmann. 
That's good — if only we can get off quickly 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Hush! Isn't that a knock .f* 

Petra. 
I believe it is uncle. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Aha ! [Calls.] Come in ! 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
My dear Thomas, now do promise mc 

The Burgomaster enters from the hau 

Burgomaster. 
[In the doorway.] Oh, you are engaged. Then 
I'd better 



16'2 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT V. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
No no ; come in. 

Burgomaster. 
But I wanted to speak to you alone. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
We can go into the sitting-room. 

Horster. 
And I shall look in again presently. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
No no ; go with the ladies, Captain Horster ; 
1 must hear more about 



Horster. 
All right, then I'll wait. 

[ife follows Mrs. Stockmann and Petra 
into the sitting room. The Burgomaster 
says nothing, but casts glances at the 
windows. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I daresay you find it rather draughty here to- 
day ? Put on your cap. 

Burgomaster, 
Thanks, if I may. [Does *o.] I fancy I caught 
cold yesterday evening. I stood there shiver- 
ing 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Really . On my soul, now, I found it quite warm 
enough. 

Burgomaster. 
I. regret that it was not in my power to prevent 
these nocturnal excesses. 



ACT v.] AN ENEMY OP THE PEOPLE. iGS 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Have you anything else in particular to say to 
me .'' 

Burgomaster. 

[Producing a large letter.'] I have this document 
for you from the Directors of the Baths. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
My dismissal ? 

Burgomaster. 
Yes ; dated from to-day. [Places the letter on 
the table.] We are very sorry — but frankly, we 
dared not do otherwise, on account of public 
opinion. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Smiling.] Dared not ? I've heard that phrase 
already to-day. 

Burgomaster. 
I beg you to realise your position clearly. For 
the future, you cannot count upon any sort of 
practice in the town. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

Devil take the practice ! But how can you be 
so sure of that } 

Burgomaster. 

The House-owners' Association is sending round 
a circular from house to house, in which all well- 
disposed citizens are called upon not to employ you ; 
a^jid I dare swear that not a single head of a 
family will venture to refuse his signature ; he 
simply dare not. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Well well ; I don't doubt that. But what then? 



l64 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT V. 



Burgomaster. 
If I might advise, I would suggest that you 
should leave the town for a time 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, I've had some such idea in my mind already. 

Burgomaster. 
Good. And when you have had six months or 
so for mature deliberation, if you could make up 
your mind to acknowledge your error, with a few 
words of regret 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I might perhaps be reinstated, you think ? 

Burgomaster. 
Perhaps it's not quite out of the question. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, but how about public opinion? You 
daren't, on account of public opinion. 

Burgomaster. 
Opinion is extremely variable. And, to speak 
candidly, it is of the greatest importance for us to 
have such an admission under your own hand. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, I daresay it would be mightily convenient 
for you ! But you remember what I've said to 
you before about such foxes' tricks ! 

Burgomaster. 
At that time your position was infinitely more 



ACT v.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. l65 

favourable ; at that time you thought you had the 
whole town at your back 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, and now I have the whole town on my 

back [Flaring up.'\ But no — not if I had 

the devil and his dam on my back — ! Never — 
never, 1 tell you ! 

Burgomaster. 
The father of a family has no right ^ to act as 
you are doing. You have no right to do it, 
Thomas. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I have no right I There's only one thing in 
the world that a free man has no right to do ; 
and do you know what that is .^ 

Burgomaster. 
No. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Of course not ; but / will tell you. A free man 
has no right to wallow in filth like a cur ; he has 
no right to act so that he ought to spit in his own 
face ! 

Burgomaster. 
That sounds extremely plausible ; and if there 
were not another explanation of your obstinacy — 
but we all know there is 

Dr. Stockmann. 
• What do you mean by that ? 

1 "Has no right " represents the Norwegian "tor ikke" — 
the phrase which, elsewhere in this scene, is translated " dare 
not." The latter rendering should perhaps have been adhered 
to throughout ; but in this passage the Norwegian words convey 
a shade of meaning which is best represented by " has no right." 



l66 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT V. 

Burgomaster. 
You understand well enough. But as your 
brother, and as a man who knows the world, I 
warn you not to build too confidently upon pros- 
pects and expectations that may very likely come 
to nothing. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Why, what on earth are you driving at ? 

Burgomaster, 
Do you really want me to believe that you are 
ignorant of the terms of old Morten Kiil's will ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I know that the little he has is to go to a home 
for old and needy artizans. But what has that 
got to do with me ? 

Burgomaster. 
To begin with, '* the little he has " is no trifle. 
Morten Kiil is a tolerably wealthy man. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I have never had the least notion of that ! 

Burgomaster. 

H'm — really ? Then I suppose you have no 
notion that a not inconsiderable part of his fortune 
is to go to your children, you and your wife 
having a life-interest in it. Has he not told you 
that ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 

No, I'll be hanged if he has ! On the contrary, 
he has done nothing but grumble about being so 
preposterously over- taxed. But are you really 
sure of this, Peter .'* 



ACT v.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. l67 

Burgomaster. 
I have it from a thoroughly trustworthy source. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Why, good heavens, then Katrina's provided 
for— and the children too I Oh, I must tell her 
[Calls.^ Katrina, Katrina! 

Burgomaster. 
[Holding him back.] Hush ! don't say anything 
about it yet. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
[Opening the door.] What is it.? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Nothing my dear ; go in again. 

[Mrs. Stockmann closes the door. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Pacing up and down.] Provided for ! Only 
think — all of them provided for ! And for life ! 
After all, it's a grand thing to feel yourself 
secure ! 

Burgomaster. 

Yes, but that is just what you are not. Morten 
Kill can revoke his will any day or hour he 
chooses. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

But he won't, my good Peter. The Badger is 
only too delighted to see me fall foul of you and 
your wiseacre friends. 

Burgomaster. 
[Starts and looks searchingly at Mm.] Aha ! 
That throws a new light on a good many things. 



l68 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT V. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
What things } 

Burgomaster. 
So the whole affair has been a carefully-con- 
cocted intrigue. Your recklessly violent on- 
slaught — in the name of truth — upon the leading 
men of the town 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Well, what of it ? 



Bu 



RGOMASTER. 



It was nothing but a preconcerted requital for 
that vindictive old Morten Kiil's will. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Almost speechless.^ Peter — you are the most 
abominable plebeian I have ever known in all my 
born days. 

Burgomaster. 
All is over between us. Your dismissal is 
irrevocable — for now we have a weapon against 
you. [He goes out. 
Dr. Stockmann. 
Shame ! shame ! shame ! [Calls.'\ Katrina 
The floor must be scrubbed after him ! Tell her 
to come here with a pail — what's her name } con- 
found it — the girl with the smudge on her nose 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
[In the sitting-room doorway.^ Hush, hush 
Thomas ! 

Petra. 
[Also in the doorway.'] Father, here's grandfather; 
he wants to know if he can speak to you alone. 



ACT v.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. IGQ 



Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, of course he can. [Bi/ the door.] Come 
in, father-in-law. 

Morten Kiil enters. Dr. Stockmann closes the 
door behind him. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Well, what is it ? Sit down. 

Morten Kiil. 
I won't sit down. [Looking about him.] It 
looks cheerful here to-day, Stockmann. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, don't you think so ? 

Morten Kiil. 
Sure enough. And you've plenty of fresh air 
too ; you've got your fill of that oxygen you were 
talking about yesterday. You must have a rare 
good conscience to-day, I should think. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, I have. 

Morten Kiil. 
So I should suppose. [Tapping himself on the 
breast.] But do you know what I have got here ? 

Dr. Stockman. 
A good conscience too, I hope. 

Morton Kiil. 
Pooh ! No ; something far better than that. 

[Takes out a large pocket-book, opens it, 
and shows Stockmann a bundle of 
papers. 



170 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT V. 



Dr. Stockmann. 
[Looking at htm in astonishment.] Shares in the 
Baths ! 

Morten Kiil. 
They weren't difficult to get to-day. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
And you've gone and bought these up ? 

Morten Kiil. 
All I had the money to pay for. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Why, my dear sir, — ^just when things are in 
such a desperate way at the Baths 

Morten Kiil. 
If you behave like a reasonable being, you can 
soon set the Baths all right again. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Well, you can see for yourself I'm doing all I 
can. But the people of this town are mad ! 

Morten Kiil. 

You said yesterday that the worst filth came 
from my tannery. Now, if that's true, then my 
grandfather, and my father before me, and I 
myself, have for ever so many years been poisoning 
the town with filth, like three destroying angels. 
Do you think I'm going to sit quiet under such a 
reproach ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 

Unfortunately, you can't help it. 



ACT v.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. l7l 

Morten Kiil. 
No, thank you. I hold fast to my good name. 
Tve heard that people call me " the Badger." A 
badger's a sort of a pig, I know ; but I'm deter- 
mined to give them the lie. I will live and die 
a clean man. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
And how will you manage that ? 

Morten Kiil. 
You shall make me clean, Stockmann. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I! 

Morten Kiil. 
Do you know what money I've used to buy 
these shares with ? No, you can't know; but now 
I'll tell you. It's the money Katrina and Petra 
and the boys are to have after my death. For, 
you see, I've laid by something after all. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Flaring up.] And you've taken Katrina's 
money and done this with it! 

Morten Kiil. 
Yes ; the whole of it is invested in the Baths 
now. And now I wan't to see if you're really so 
stark, staring mad after all, Stockmann. If you 
go on making out that these beasts and other 
abominations dribble down from my tannery, it'll 
be just as if you were to flay broad stripes of 
Katrina's skin — and Petra's too, and the boys. 
No decent father would ever do that — unless he 
were a madman. 



172 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT V. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Walki?ig up and down] Yes, but I am a mad- 
man ; I am a madman ! 

Morten Kiil. 
You surely can't be so raving, ramping mad 
where your wife and children are concerned. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Stopping in front of him.\ Why couldn't you 
have spoken to me before you went and bought 
all that rubbish } 

Morten Kiil. 
What's done can't be undone. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Walking restlessly about] If only I weren't so 

certain about the affair ! But I am absolutely 

convinced that I'm right. 

Morten Kiil. 
[Weighing the pocket-hook in his hand.] If you 
stick to this lunacy, these aren't worth much. 

[Puts the book into his pocket. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
But, deuce take it ! surely science ought to be 
able to hit upon some antidote, some sort of pro- 
phylactic 

Morten Kiil. 
Do you mean something to kill the beasts ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, or at least to make them harmless. 



ACT v.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. l73 

Morten Kiil. 
Couldn't you try ratsbane ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Oh, nonsense, nonsense ! — But since every one 
declares it's nothing but fancy, why fancy let it 
be ! Let them have it their own way ! Haven't 
the ignorant, narrow-hearted curs reviled me as 
an enemy of the people ? — and weren't they on 
the point of tearing the clothes off my back ? 

Morten Kiil. 
And they've smashed all your windows for you 
too! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, and then there's one's duty to one's family ! 
I must talk that over with Katrina ; such things 
are more in her line. 

Morten Kiil. 
That's right ! You just follow the advice of a 
sensible woman. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Turning upon him angrily.^ How could you ac 
so preposterously ! Risking Katrina's money, and 
putting me to this horrible torture ! When I look 
at you, I seem to see the devil himself ' 

Morten Kiil. 
Then I'd better be off. But I must hear from 
you, yes or no, by two o'clock. If it's no, all the 
shares go to the Hospital— and that this very 
day. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
And what will Katrina get ? 



174 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT V. 

Morten Kiil. 
Not a rap. 

[The door leading to the hall opens. Hovstad 
and Aslaksen are seen outside it. 

Morten Kiil. 
Hullo ! look at these two. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Staring at them.] What ! Do you actually ven- 
ture to come here ? 

Hovstad. 
Why, to be sure we do. 

Aslaksen. 
You see, we've something to discuss with you. 

Morten Kiil. 
[Whispers.] Yes or no — by two o'clock. 

Aslaksen. 
[ With a glance at Hovstad.] Aha ! 

[Morten Kiil goes out. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Well, what do you want with me } Be brief. 

Hovstad. 
I can quite understand that you resent our 
attitude at the meeting yesterday 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yo r attitude, you say ? Yes, it was a pretty 
attitude I I call it the attitude of cowards — of old 
women Shame upon you ! 



ACT v.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. l75 

HOVSTAD. 

Call it what you will; but we could not act 
otherwise. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
You dare d not, I suppose ? Isn't that so } 

HoVSTAD. 

Yes, if you like to put it so. 

ASLAKSEN. 

But why didn't you just say a word to us before- 
hand } The merest hint to . Mr. Hovstad or to 

me 

Dr. Stockmann. 

A hint ? What about ? 

AsLAKSEN. 

About what was really behind it all. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
I don't in the least understand you } 

Aslaksen. 
[Nods confidentially.] Oh yes, you do. Dr. Stock- 
mann. 

Hovstad. 
It's no good making a mystery of it any 
longer. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Looking from one to the other. 1 Why, what in 
the devil's name ! 

Aslaksen. 
May I ask — isn't your father-in-law going about 
the town buying up all the Bath stock 

? 



176 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT V 



Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, he has been buying Bath stock to-day 
but 

ASLAKSEN. 

It would have been more prudent to let some- 
body else do that — some one not so closely con- 
nected with you. 

HOVSTAD. 

And then you ought not to have appeared in 
the matter under your own name. No one need 
have known that the attack on the Baths came 
from you. You should have taken me into your 
counsels. Dr. Stockmann. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Stares .straight in front of hirn ; a light seems to 
break in upofi kivi, and he says as thovgh thunder- 
struck.^ Is this possible ? Can such things be.'* 

AsLAKSEN. 

[Smiling.'] It's plain enough that they can. But 
they ought to be managed delicately, you under- 
stand. 

HoVSTAD. 

And there ought to be more people in it ; for 
the responsibility always falls more lightly when 
there are several to share it. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Calmly.'] In one word, gentlemen — what is it 
you want } 

Aslaksen. 
Mr. Hovstad can best 



ACT v.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. l77 

HOVSTAD. 

No, you explain, Aslaksen. 

ASLAKSEN. 

Well, it's this : now that we know how the 
matter really stands, we believe we can venture to 
place the People s Messenger at your disposal. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
You can venture to now, eh .'* But how about 
public opinion.'' Aren't you afraid of bringing down 
a storm upon us } 

HoVSTAD. 

We must manage to ride out the storm. 

Aslaksen. 
And you must be ready to put about quickly. 
Doctor. As soon as your attack has done its 

work 

Dr. Stockmann. 
As soon as my father-in-law and I have bought 
up the shares at a discount, you mean } 

HoVSTAD, 

I presume it is mainly on scientific grounds that 
you want to take the management of the Baths 
into your own hands. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Of course ; it was on scientific grounds that I 
got the old Badger to stand in with me. And then 
we'll tinker up the water-works a little, and potter 
about a bit down at the beach, without its costing 
the town sixpence. That ought to do the busi- 
ness } Eh } 



178 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT V. 

HoVSTAD. 

I think so — if you have the Messenger to back 
you up. 

ASLAKSEN. 

In a free community the press is a power. 
Doctor. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, indeed ; and so is pubHc opinion. And you, 
Mr. Aslaksen — I suppose you will answer for the 
House-owners' Association .'* 

Aslaksen. 
Both for the House-owners' Association and the 
Temperance Society. You may make your mind 
easy. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
But, gentlemen — really I'm quite ashamed to 
mention such a thing — but — what return ? 

HoVSTAD. 

Of course, we should prefer to give you our 
support for nothing. But the Messenger is not 
very firmly established ; it's not getting on as it 
ought to ; and I should be very sorry to have to 
slop the paper just now, when there's so much to 
be done in general politics. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Naturally ; that would be very hard for a friend 
of the people like you. [Flaring up.] But I — I 
am an enemy of the people ! [Striding about the 
room.'] Where's my stick } Where the devil is 
my stick } 



ACT v.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. l79 



HOVSTAD. 

What do you mean ? 

ASLAKSEN. 

Surely you wouldn't 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Standing still J] And suppose I don't give 
you a single farthing out of all my shares ? 
You must remember we rich folk don't like 
parting with our money. 

Ho VST AD. 

And you must remember that this business of 
the shares can be represented in two ways. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, you are the man for that; if I don't come 
to the rescue of the Messenger, you'll manage to 
put a vile complexion on the affair ; you'll hunt 
me down, I suppose — bait me — try to throttle me 
as a dog throttles a hare I 

Hovstad. 

That's a law of nature — every animal fights 
for its own subsistence. 

AsLAKSEN. 

And must take its food where it can find it, you 
know. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Then see if you can't find some out in the gutter ; 
\Striding about the room] for now, by heaven ! we 
shall see which is the strongest animal of us three. 



180 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT V. 

[Finds his umbrella and hraiidishes it.^ Now, look 
here ! 

HOVSTAD. 

You surely don't mean to assault us ! 

ASLAKSEN. 

I say, be careful with that umbrella 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Out at the window with you, Mr. Hovstad ! 

HoVSTAD. 

\By the hall door.'] Are you utterly crazy ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Out at the window, Mr. Aslaksen ! Jump I tell 
you ! Be quick about it ! 

Aslaksen. 
[Running round the writing-table.] Moderation, 
Doctor ; I'm not at all strong ; I can't stand much 
[Screarns.] Help ! help ! 

Mrs. Stockmann, Petra, and Horster enter from 
sitting-room. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Good heavens, Thomas ! what can be the 
matter ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Brandishing the umbrella.] Jump. I tell you J 
Out into the gutter ! 

Hovstad. 
An' unprovoked assault! I call you to witness, 
Captain Horster. [Rushes off^ through the hall. 



ACT v.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 18] 



ASLAKSEN. 

[Bewildered A If one only knew the local situa- 
tion ! ^ [He slinks out by the sitting-room door. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 

[Holding back the Doctor.] Now, do restrain 
yourself, Thomas ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Throwing down the umbrella. '\ I'll be hanged if 
they haven't got off after all. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Why, what can they have wanted with you } 

Dr. Stockmann, 
I'll tell you afterwards ; I have other things to 
think of now. [Goes to the table and writes on a 
visiting-card.^ Look here, Katrina : what's written 
here ? 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Three big Noes ; what does that mean } 

Dr. Stockmann. 
That I'll tell you afterwards, too. [Handing the 
card.] There, Petra ; let smudgy-face run to the 
Badger's with this as fast as she can. Be quick ! 
[Petra goes out through the hall with the 
card. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Well, if I haven't had visits to-day from all the 

1 " De lokale forholde" — the local conditions, or the circum- 
stances of the locality, a phrase constantly in Aslaksen's mouth 
in The League of Youth. In the present context it is about 
equivalent to " the lie ol the land." 



182 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT V. 

emissaries of the devil ! But now I'll sharpen 
my pen against them till it becomes a goad ; TU 
dip it in gall and venom ; I'll hurl my inkstaa * 
straight at their skulls. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
You forget we are going away, Thomas. 

Petra returns. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Well } 

Petra. 
She has gone. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Good. Going away, do you say } No, I'll be 
damned if we do ; we stay where we are, Katrina ' 

Petra. 
Stay ! 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Here in the town .'* 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, here ; the field of battle is here ; here the 
fight must be fought ; here I will conquer I As 
soon as my trousers are mended, I shall go out 
into the town and look for a house ; we must have 
a roof over our heads for the winter. 

HORSTER. 

That you can have in my house. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
CanI? 



ACT v.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 183 

HORSTER. 

Yes, there's no difficulty about that. I have 
room enough, and I'm hardly ever at home myself. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Oh, how kind of you. Captain Horster. 

Petra. 
Thank you ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[Shaking his hand.] Thanks, thanks ! So that is 
off my mind. And this very day J shall set to 
work in earnest. Oh, there's no end of work to 
be done here, Katrina ! It's a good thing 1 shall 
have all my time at my disposal now ; for you 
must know I've had notice from the Baths 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
[Sighing.] Oh yes, I was expecting that. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

And now they want to take away my 

practice as well. But let them ! The poor I shall 
keep anyhow — those that can't pay ; and, good 
Lord ! it's they that need me most. But by 
heaven ! Ill make them listen to me ; I'll preach 
to them in season and out of season, as the saying 
goes. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 

My dear Thomas, I should have thought you 
had learnt what good preaching does. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
You really are absurd, Katrina. Am I to let 



184 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT V. 



myself be beaten off the field by public opinion, 
and the compact majority, and all that sort of 
devilry ? No, thank you ! Besides, my point is 
so simple, so clear and straightforward. I only 
want to drive it into the heads of these curs that 
the Liberals are the craftiest foes free men have 
to face ; that party-programmes wring the necks 
of all young and living truths ; that considera- 
tions of expediency turn justice and morality 
upside down, until life here becomes simply 
unlivable. Come, Captain Horster, don't you 
think I shall be able to make the people 
understand that ? 

Horster. 
Maybe ; I don't know much about these things 
myself. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Well, you see — this is the way of it ! It's the 
party-leaders that must be exterminated. For a 
party-leader is just like a wolf, you see — -like a 
ravening wolf; he must devour a certain number 
of smaller animals a year, if he's to exist at all. 
Just look at Hovstad and Aslaksen ! How many 
small animals they polish off — or at least mangle 
and maim, so that they're fit for nothing else but 
to be house-owners and subscribers to the People s 
Messenger ! \^Sits on the edge of the table.] Just 
come here, Katrina — see how bravely the sun 
shines today ! And how the blessed fresh spring 
air blows in upon me ! 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Yes, if only we could live on sunshine and spring 
air, Thomas 



act v.] an enemy of the people. 185 

Dr. Stockmann. 

Well, you'll have to pinch and save to eke them 
out — and then we shall get on all right. That's 
what troubles me least. No, what does trouble 
me is that I don't see any man free enough and 
high-minded enough to dare to take up my work 
after me. 

Petra. 

Oh, don't think about that, father ; you have 
time enough before you. — Why, see, there are the 
boys already. 

EiLiFflwc? Morten enter from the sitting-room. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Have you a holiday to-day .'* 

Morten. 
No ; but we had a fight with the other fellowS 
in play-time 

ElLIF. 

That's not true ; it was the other fellows that 
fought us. 

Morten. 

Yes, and then Mr. Rorlund said we had better 
stop at home for a few days. 

Dr. Stockmann. 

[Snapping his fingers and springing down from the 
table.'] Now I have it ! Now I have it, on my 
soul ! You shall never set foot in school again ' 

The Boys. 
Never go to school ! 



186 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT V. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
Why, Thomas 



Dr. Stockmann. 
Never, I say ! I shall teach you myself — that's 
to say, I won't teach you any mortal thing 

Morten. 
Hurrah ! 

Dr. Stockmann. 
but I shall help you to grow into free, high- 
minded men. — Look here, you'll have to help me, 
Petra. 

Petra. 
Yes, father, you may be sure I will. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
And we'll have our school in the room where 
they reviled me as an enemy of the people. But 
we must have more pupils. I must have at least 
a dozen boys to begin with. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
You'll never get them in this town. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
We shall see. [To the bot/s.] Don't you know 
any street urchins — any regular ragamuffins .'* 

Morten. 
Yes, father, I know lots ! 

Dk. Stockmann 
That's all right ; bring me a few of them. I 



ACT v.] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. 187 

shall experiment with the street-curs for once in a 
way ; there are sometimes excellent heads amongst 
them. 

Morten. 
But what are we to do when we've grown into 
free and high-minded men ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Drive all the wolves out to the far west, ooys! 
[EiLiF looks rather doubtful; MoRTEfi jumps 
about shouting '' Hurrah J " 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
If only the wolves don't drive you out, Thomas. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Are you quite mad, Katrina ! Drive meout! 
Now that I am the strongest man in the town .'' 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
The strongest — now ? 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, I venture to say this : that now I am one 
of the strongest men in the whole world. 

Morten. 
I say, v/hat fun 1 

Dr. Stockmann. 
[In a subdued voice.] Hush ; you mustn't speak 
about it yet ; but I have made a great discovery. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
What, another ? 



k 



188 AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. [aCT V. 

Dr. Stockmann. 
Yes, of course ! [Gathers them about him, and 
speaks confidentially.^ This is what I have dis- 
covered, you see : the strongest man in the world 
is he who stands most ajont*. 

Mrs. Stockmann. 
\ Shakes her head, smiling.'\ Ah, Thomas dear J 

Petra. 
[Grasping his hands cheerily.] Father ! 



THS END. 



THE WILD DUCK 

(1884) 



I 



CHARACTERS. 

Werlb, a merchant, manufacturer, ete, 

Grbgers Werlb, his son. 

Old Ekdal. 

HiALMAR Ekdal, his son, a photographer, 

GiNA Ekdal, ffiaZmar's wife. 

Hedvig, their daughter, a girl of fourteen, 

Mrs. Sorby, Werle's housekeeper. 

Belling, a doctor. 

Molvik, JJ^^CudeiU of theology. 

Graberg, Werle's hooTikeeper, 

Pettersen, Werle's servant 

Jensen, a hired waiter. 

A Flabby Gentleman. 

A Thin-haired Gentleman. 

A Short-sighted Gentleman. 

Six other gentleman, guests at Werle's dinner-pa/rty. 

Several hired waiters. 



The first act passes in Werle's house, the remaining acts at 
Hiaimar Ekdal' s. 



Pronunciation of Names : Gregers Werle = Grayghers Verle ; 
Hiaimar Ekdal = Yalmar Aykdal; Gina = Gheena ; Graberg = 
Groberg; Jensen = Yensen, 



THE WILD DUCK. 

PLAY IN FIVE ACTS. 



ACT FIRST. 



At Werle's house. A richly and comfortably 
furnished study ; bookcases and upholstered 
furniture ; a writing-table, with papers and docu- 
ments, in the centre of the room ; lighted lamps 
with green shades, giving a subdued light. At 
the back, open folding- doors with curtains drawn 
back. Within is seen a large and handsome room, 
brilliantly lighted with lamps and branching 
candlesticks. In front, on the right {in the study), 
a small baize door leads into Werle's office. 
On the left, in front, a fireplace with a glowing 
coal fire, and farther back a double door leading 
into the dining-room. 

Werle's servant, Pettersen, in livery, and Jensen, 
the hired waiter, in black, are putting the study 
in order. In the large room, two or three other 
hired waiters are moving about, arranging things 
and lighting more candles. From the dining-room, 
the hum of conversation and laughter of many 
voices are hec'd ; a glass is tapped with a knife; 
sile?ice follows, and a toast is proposed; shouts of 
"Bravo! " and then again a buzz o^ conversatiom. 



192 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT I. 

Pettersen. 
[Lights a lamp on the chimney-place and places a 
shade over it.^ Hark to them, Jensen ! now the 
old man's on his legs holding a long palaver about 
Mrs. Sorby. 

Jensen. 
[Pushing forward an arm-chair.] Is it true, what 
folks say, that they're — very good friends, eh ? 

Petterson. 
Lord knows. 

Jensen. 
I've heard tell as he's been a lively customer in 
his day. 

Petterson. 
May be. 

Jensen. 
And he's giving this spread in honour of his 
son, they say. 

Pettersen. 
Yes. His son came home yesterday. 

Jensen. 
This is the first time I ever heard as Mr. Werle 
had a son. 

Pettersen. 
Oh yes, he has a son, right enough. But he's 
a fixture, as you might say, up at the Hoidal 
works. He's never once come to town all the 
years I've been in service here. 

A Waiter. 
[In the doorway of the other room.] Pettersen, 
here's an old fellow wanting 



ACT I.] THE WILD DUCK. IQS 



Pettersen. 
[Mutters.] The devil — who's this now ? 

Old Ekdal appears from the right, in the inner 
room. He is dressed in a threadbare overcoat 
with a high collar; he wears woollen mittens, 
and carries in his hand a stick and a fur cap. 
Under his arm, a brown paper parcel. Dirty 
red-brown wig and small grey moustache. 

Pettersen. 
[Goes towards him.] Good Lord — what do you 
want here ? 

Ekdal. 
[In the doorway.] Must get into the office, 
Pettersen. 

Pettersen. 
The office was closed an hour ago, and 

Ekdal. 

So they told me at the front door. But Graberg's 

in there still. Let me slip in this way, Pettersen; 

there's a good fellow. [Points toivards the baize 

door.] It's not the first time I've come this way. 

Pettersen. 
Well, you may pass. [Opens the door.] But mind 
you go out again the proper way, for we've got 
company. 

Ekdal. 
I know, I know — h'm ! Thanks, Pettersen, 
good old friend ! Thanks ! [Midlers softly.] Ass .' 
[He goes into the office ; Petterson shuts 
the door after him. 



194 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT 



Jensen. 
Is he one of the office people ? 

Pettersen. 
No, he's only an outside hand that does odd 
jobs of copying. But he's been a tip-topper in 
his day, has old Ekdal. 

Jensen. 
You can see he's been through a lot. 

Pettersen. 
Yes ; he was an army officer, you know. 

Jensen. 
You don't say so ? 

Pettersen. 
No mistake about it. But then he went into 
the timber trade or something of the sort. They 
say he once played Mr. Werle a very nasty trick. 
They were partners in the Hoidal works at the 
time. Oh, I know old Ekdal well, I do. Many 
a nip of bitters and bottle of ale we two have 
drunk at Madam Eriksen's. 

Jensen. 
He don't look as if he'd much to stand treat 
with. 

Pettersen. 
Why, bless you, Jensen, it's me that stands 
treat. I always think there's no harm in being a 
bit civil to folks that have seen better days. 

Jensen. 
Did he go bankrupt then ? 



act i.] the wild duck. 195 

Pettersen. 
Worse than that. He went to prison. 

Jensen. 
To prison ! 

Pettersen. 
Or perhaps it was the Penitentiary. [Listens.] 
Sh ! They're leaving the table. 

The dining-room door is thrown open from within, by 
a couple of waiters. Mrs. Sorby comes out con- 
versing with two gentlemen. Gradually the wliole 
company follows, amongst them Werle. Last 
come HiALMAR Ekdal and Gregers Werle. 

Mrs. Sorby. 
[In passing, to the servant.] Tell them to serve 
the coffee in the music-room, Pettersen. 

Pettersen. 
Very well. Madam. 

[She goes fvith the two Gentlemen into the 
inner room, and thence out to the right. 
Pettersen and Jensen go out the same 
way. 

A Flabby Gentleman. 
[To a Thin-haired Gentleman.] Whew ! What 
a dinner ! — It was no joke to do it justice ! 

The Thin-Haired Gentleman. 
Oh, with a little good-will one can get through 
a lot in three hours. 

The Flabby Gentleman. 
Yes, but afterwards, afterwards, my dear 
Chamberlain ! 



196 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT I. 

A Third Gentleman. ^ 

I hear the coffee and maraschino are to be 
served in the music-room. 

The Flabby Gentleman. 
Bravo ! Then perhaps Mrs. Sorby will play us 
something. 

The Thin-haired Gentleman. 
[In a low voice.] I hope Mrs. Sorby mayn't play 
us a tune we don't like, one of these days ! 

The Flabby Gentleman. 
Oh no, not she ! Bertha will never turn against 
her old friends. 

[Thei/ laugh and pass into the inner room. 

Werle. 
[In a low voice, dejectedly.] I don't think any- 
body noticed it, Gregers. 

Gregers. 
[Looks at him.] Noticed what } 

Werle. 
Did you not notice it either ? 

Gregers. 
What do you mean ? 

Werle. 
We were thirteen at table. 

Gregers. 
Indeed } Were there thirteen of us ? 



act i.] the wild duck. 197 

Werle. 
[Glances towards Hialmar Ekdal.] Our usual 
party is twelve, [To ike others.] This way, 
gentlemen ! 

[Werle and the others, all except Hialmar 
and Gregers, go out by the back, to the 
right. 

Hialmar. 
[ Who has overheard the conversation.] You ought 
not to have invited me, Gregers. 

Gregers. 
What ! Not ask my best and only friend to a 
party supposed to be in my honour .'' 

Hialmar. 
But I don't think your father likes it. You see 
I am quite outside his circle. 

Gregers. 
So I hear. But I wanted to see you and have 
a talk with you, and I certainly shan't be staying 
long, — Ah, we two old school lellows have driited 
far apart from each other. It must be sixteen or 
seventeen years since we met. 



Hialmar. 



Is it so long } 



Gregers. 
It is indeed. Well, how goes it with you ? 
You look well. You have put on flesh, and grown 
almost stout. 

Hialmar. 

Well, " stout " is scarcely the word ; but I dare- 
say I look a little more of a man than I used to. 



198 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT I. 

Gregers. 

Yes, you do ; your outer man is in first-rate 
condition. 

HiALMAR. 

[In a tone of gloom.] Ah, but the inner man ! 
That is a very different matter, I can tell you ! 
Of course you know of the terrible catastrophe 
that has befallen me and mine since last we met. 

Gregers. 
[More softly.'] How are things going with your 
father now } 

HiALMAR. 

Don't let us talk of it, old fellow. Of course 
my poor unhappy father lives with me. He 
hasn't another soul in the world to care for him. 
But you can understand that this is a miserable 
subject for me. — Tell me, rather, how you have 
been getting on up at the works. 



I have had a delightfully lonely time of it — 
plenty of leisure to think and think about things. 
Come over here ; we may as well make ourselves 
comfortable. 

[He seats himself in an aim-ckair hy the 
Hre and draws Hialmar down into 
another alongside of it. 

Hialmar. 
[Sentimentally.] After all, Gregers, I thank you 
for inviting me to your father's table ; for I take 
it as a sign that you have got over your feeling 
against me. 



THE WILD DUCK. 199 



Gregers. 
[Surprised.^ How could you imagine I had any 
feeling against you ? 

HiALMAR. 

You had at first, you know. 

Greoers. 
How at first ? 

HiALMAR. 

After the great misfortune. It was natural 
enough that you should. Your father was within 
an ace of being drawn into that — well, that terrible 
business. 

Gregers. 

Why should that give me any feeling against 
you } Who can have put that into your head ? 

HiALMAR. 

I know it did, Gregers ; your father told me 
so himself. 

Gregers. 

[Starts.] My father ! Oh indeed. H'm.— Was 
that why you never let me hear from you ? — not a 
single word. 

HiALMAR. 

Yes. 

Gregers. 
Not even when you made up your mind to 
become a photographer .'* 

HiALMAR. 

Your father said I had better not write to you 
at all, about anything. 



200 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT I. 

Gregers. 
[Looking straight before him.] Well well, perhaps 
he was right. — But tell me now, Hialmar : are you 
pretty well satisfied with your present position ? 

Hialmar. 
[ With a little sigh.] Oh yes, I am ; 1 have really 
no cause to complain. At first, as you may guess, 
I felt it a little strange. It was such a totally new 
state of things for me. But of course my whole 
circumstances were totally changed. Father's 
utter, irretrievable ruin, — the shame and disgrace 
of it, Gregers 

Gregers. 
\ Affected,] Yes, yes ; I understand. 

Hialmar. 
I couldn't think of remaining at college ; there 
wasn't a shilling to spare ; on the contrary, there 
were debts — mainly to your father I believe 

Gregers. 

H'm 

Hialmar. 

In short, I thought it best to break, once for 

all, with my old surroundings and associations. 

It was your father that specially urged me to it; 

and since he interested himself so much in 

me 

Gregers. 
My father did ? 

Hialmar. 
Yes, you surely knew that, didn't you ? Where 
do you suppose I found the money to learn 



ACT I.] THE WILD DUCK. 201 

photography, and to furnish a studio and make a 
start ? All that costs a pretty penny, I can tell 
you. 

Gregers. 
And my father provided the money ? 

HiALMAR. 

Yes, my dear fellow, didn't you know ? I 
understood him to say he had written to you 
about it. 

Gregers. 

Not a word about his part in the business. He 
must have forgotten it. Our correspondence has 
always been purely a business one. So it was my 

father that ! 

Hialmar. 

Yes, certainly. He didn't wish it to be 
generally known ; but he it was. And of course 
it was he, too, that put me in a position to marry. 
Don't you — don't you know about that either } 

Gregers. 

No, I haven't heard a word of it. [Shakes him 
by the arw.] But, my dear Hialmar, I can't tell 
you what pleasure all this gives me — pleasure, and 
self-reproach. 1 have perhaps done my father 
injustice after all — in some things. This proves 
that he has a heart. It shows a sort of com- 
punction 

Hialmar. 

Compunction ? 

Gregers. 
Yes, yes — whatever you like to call it. Oh, I 
can't tell you how glad I am to hear this of father. 



202 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT I. 

— So you are a married man, Hialmar ! That is 
further than I shall ever get. Well, I hope you 
are happy in your married life .'* 

Hialmar. 
Yes, thoroughly happy. She is as good and 
capable a wife as any man could wish for. And 
she is by no means without culture. 

Gregers. 
[Rather surprised.] No, of course not. 

Hialmar. 
You see, life is itself an education. Her daily 

intercourse with me And then we know one 

or two rather remarkable men, who come a good 
deal about us. I assure you, you would hardly 
know Gina again. 

Gregers. 
Gina? 

Hialmar. 
Yes ; had you forgotten that her name was 
Gina ? 

Gregers. 
Whose name ? I haven't the slightest idea 

Hialmar. 
Don't you remember that she used to be in 
service here } 

Gregers. 
[Looks at him.] Is it Gina Hansen ? 

Hialmar. 
if es, of course it is Gina Hansen. 



ACT I.J THE WILD DUCK. 



203 



Gregers. 

who kept house for us during the last year 

of my mother's illness? 

HiALMAR. 

Yesi exactly. But, my dear friend, I'm quite 
sure your father told you that I was married. 

Gregers. 
[Who has risen.] Oh yes, he mentioned it ; but 

not that [Walking about ike room.] Stay — 

perhaps he did — now that I think of it. My 
father always writes such short letters. [Half 
seats himself on the arm of the chair.] Now, tell 
me, Hialmar — this is interesting — how did you 
come to know Gina — your wife } 

Hialmar. 
The simplest thing in the world. You know 
Gina did not stay here long ; everything was so 
Inuch upset at that time, owing to your mother's 
illness and so forth, that Gina was not equal to it 
all ; so she gave notice and left. That was the 
year before your mother died — or it may have 
been the same year. 

Gregers. 
It was the same year. I was up at the works 
then. But afterwards ? 

Hialmar. 
Well, Gina lived at home with her mother. 
Madam Hansen, an excellent hard-working 
woman, who kept a little eating-house. She 
had a room to let too ; a very nice comfortable 
room. 



204 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT I. 

Gregers. 
And I suppose you were lucky enough to se- 
cure it ? 

HiALMAR. 

Yes ; in fact, it was your father that recom- 
mended it to me. So it was there, you see, that 
I really came to know Gina. 

Gregers. 
And then you got engaged ? 

HiALMAR. 

Yes. It doesn't take young people long to fall 



in 



love : h'm- 



Gregers. 
[Rises and moves about a little.] Tell me : was it 
after your engagement — was it then that my 
father — I mean was it then that you began to 
take up photography ? 

HiALMAR. 

Yes, precisely. I wanted to make a start, and 
to set up house as soon as possible ; and your 
father and I agreed that this photography business 
was the readiest way. Gina thought so too. Oh, 
and there was another thing in its favour, by-the- 
bye : it happened, luckily, that Gina had learnt 
to retouch. 

Gregers. 

That chimed in marvellously. 

HiALMAR. 

[Pleased, rises.] Yes, didn't it ? Don't you 
think it was a marvellous piece of luck .? 



I 



act i.] the wild duck. 205 

Gregers. 
Oh, unquestionably. My father seems to have 
been almost a kind of providence for you. 

HiALMAR. 

[With emotion.] He did not forsake his old 
friend's son in the hour of his need. For he has a 
heart, you see. 

Mrs. Sorby. 
[ETiterSy arm-in-arm with Werle.] Nonsense, 
my dear Mr. Werle ; you mustn't stop there any 
longer staring at all the lights. It's very bad for 
you. 

Werle. 

[Lets go her arm and passes his hand over his eyes.] 
I daresay you are right. 

[Pettersen and Jensen carry round re- 
freshment trays.] 

Mrs. Sorby. 
\To the Guests in the other room.] This way, if 
you please, gentlemen. W^hoever wants a glass of 
punch must be so good as to come in here. 

The Flabby Gentleman. 
[Comes up to Mrs. Sorby.] Surely, it isn't pos- 
sible that you have suspended our cherished 
right to smoke .^ 

Mrs. Sorby. 
Yes. No smoking here, in Mr. Werle's sanctum. 
Chamberlain. 

The Thin-haired Gentleman. 
When did you enact these stringent amend- 
ments on the cigar law, Mrs. SOrby ? 



206 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT I. 

Mrs. Sorby. 
After the last dinner, Chamberlain, when certain 
persons permitted themselves to overstep the 
mark. 

The Thin-haired Gentleman. 
And may one never overstep the mark a little 
bit, Madame Bertha ? Not the least little bit ^ 

Mrs. Sorby. 
Not in any respect whatsoever, Mr. Balle. 

[Most of the Guests have assembled in the 
study; servants hand round glasses of 
punch. 

Werle. 
[To Hialmar, who is standing beside a table.^ 
What are you studying so intently, Ekdal ? 

Hialmar. 
Only an album, Mr. Werle. 

The Thin-haired Gentleman. 
[Who is wandering about.] Ah, photographs! 
They are quite in your line of course. 

The Flabby Gentleman. 
[In an arm-chair.] Haven't you brought any of 
your own with you ? 

Hialmar. 
No, I haven't. 

The Flabby Gentleman. 
You ought to have ; it's very good for the 
digestion to sit and look at pictures. 



act i.] the wild duck. 207 

The Thin-haired Gentleman. 
And it contributes to the entertainment, you 
know. 

The Short-sighted Gentleman. 
And all contributions are thankfully received. 

Mrs. Sorby. 
The Chamberlains think that when one is 
invited out to dinner, one ought to exert oneself 
a little in return, Mr. Ekdal. 

The Flabby Gentleman. 
Where one dines so well, that duty becomes a 
pleasure. 

The Thin-haired Gentleman. 
And when it's a case of the struggle for 
existence, you know 

Mrs. Sorby. 
I quite agree with you ! 

[They continue the conversation^ with laughter 
and joking. 

Gregers. 
[Sojlly.'] You must join in, Hialmar. 

Hialmar. 
[ Writhing.] What am I to talk about } 

The Flabby Gentleman. 
Don't you think, Mr. Werle, that Tokay may be 
considered one of the more wholesome sorts of 
wine? 

Werle. 

[By the Jire.] I can answer for the Tokay you 



5^08 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT I. 

had to-day, at any rate ; it's of one of the very 
finest seasons. Of course you would notice that. 

The Flabby Gentleman. 
Yes, it had a remarkably delicate flavour. 

HiALMAR. 

[Ski/lj/.] Is there any difference between the 
seasons ? 

The Flabby Gentleman. 
[Laughs.] Come ! That's good ! 

Werle. 
[Smiles.] It really doesn't pay to set fine wine 
before you. 

The Thin-haired Gentleman. 
Tokay is like photographs, Mr. Ekdal : they 
both need sunshine. Am I not right ? 

HiALMAR. 

Yes, light is important no doubt. 

Mrs. Sorby. 
And it's exactly the same with Chamberlains — 
they, too, depend very much on sunshine,^ as the 
saying is. 

The Thin-haired Gentleman. 
Oh fie ! That's a very threadbare sarcasm ! 

The Short-sighted Gentleman. 
Mrs. Sorby is coming out 

1 The "sunshine" of Court favour. 



ACT I.J THE WILD DUCK. 209 



The Flabby Gentleman. 

and at our expense, too. [Holds up his 

finger reprovingly. '\ Oh, Madame Bertha, Madame 
Bef tha ! 

Mrs. Sorby. 
Yes, and there's not the least doubt that the 
seasons differ greatly. The old vintages are the 
finest. 

The Short-sighted Gentleman. 
Do you reckon me among the old vintages } 

Mrs. Sorby. 
Oh, far from it. 

The Thin-haip.ed Gentleman. 
There now ! But me, dear Mrs. Sorby } 

The Flabby Gentleman. 
Yes, and me.^ What vintage should you say 
that we belong to } 

Mrs. Sorby. 
Why, to the sweet vintages, gentlemen. 

[She sips a glass of punch. The gentlemen 
laugh andfiirt nith her. 

Werle. 
Mrs. Sorby can always find a loop-hole — when 
she wants to. Fill your glasses, gentlemen ! 
Pettersen, will you see to it ! Gregers, sup- 
pose we have a glass together. [Gregers does not 
move.] Won't you join us, Ekdal ? I found no 
opportunity of drinking with you at table. 

[GrAberg, the Bookkeeper, looks in at the 
baize door. 



210 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT I. 

GrAberg. 
Excuse me, sir, but I can't get out. 

Werle. 
Have you been locked in again ? 

GrAberg. 
Yes, and Flakstad has carried off the keys. 

Werle. 
Well, you can pass out this way. 

GrAberg. 
But there's some one else 



Werle. 
All right ; come through, both of you. Don't 
be afraid. 

[GrAberg and Old Ekdal come out of the 
office. 

Werle. 
[Involuntarily.^ Ugh ! 

[The laughter and talk among the Guests 
cease. Hialmar starts at the sight of 
his father, puts down his glass, and turns 
towards the f replace. 

Ekdal. 
[Does not look up^ hut makes little hows to hoth sides 
as he passes, murmuring.^ Beg pardon, come the 
wrong way. Door locked — door locked. Beg 
pardon. 

[He and GrAberg go out hy the hack, to 
the right. ^ 



ACT I.] THE WILD DUCK. 211 

Werle. 
\Between his teeth.] That idiot <jraberg 1 

Gregers. 
[Open-mouthed and staring^ to Hialmar.] Why 
surely that wasn't ! 

The Flabby Gentleman. 
What's the matter ? Who was it ? 

Gregers. 
Oh, nobody, only the bookkeeper and some one 
with him. 

The Short-sighted Gentleman. 
[To Hialmar.] Did you know that man ? 

Hialmar. 
I don't know — I didn't notice 

The Flabby Gentleman. 
What the deuce has come over every one ^ 

[He joins another group who are talking 
softly. 

Mrs. Sorby. 
[ Whispers to the Servant.] Give him something 
to take with him ; — something good, mind 

Pettersen. 
[Nods.] I'll see to it. [Goes out. 

Gregers. 
[Softly atid with eTnotion, to Hialmar.] So that 
was really he ! 



212 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT I. 

HiALMAR. 

Yes. 

Gregers. 
And you could stand there and deny that you 
knew him I 

HiALMAR. 

[Whispers vehement Ij/.^ But how could I ! 

Gregers. 
acknowledge your own father ? 



HiALMAR. 

[With pain.] Oh, if you were in my place- 



[The conversation amongst the Guests, which 
has been carried on in a low tone, notv 
swells into constrained joviality.] 

The Thin-haired Gentleman. 
[Approaching Hialmar and Gregers in a friendly 
manner.] Aha ! Reviving old college memories, 
eh ? Don't you smoke, Mr. Ekdal ? May I give 
you a light ? Oh, by-the-bye, we mustn't 

Hialmar. 
No, thank you, I won't 



The Flabby Gentleman. 
Haven't you a nice little poem you could 
recite to us, Mr. Ekdal } You used to recite so 
charmingly. 

Hialmar. 
I am sorry I can't remember anything. 



ACT I.] THE WILD DUCK. 213 

The Flabby Gentleman. 
Oh, that's a pity. Well, what shall we do, 
Balle ? 

[Both Gentlemen move away and pass into 
the other room. 

HiALMAR. 

[Gloomily.] Gregers — I am going ! When a 
man has felt the crushing hand of Fate, you see 
Say good-bye to your father for me. 

Gregers. 
Yes, yes. Are you going straight home ? 

HiALMAR. 

Yes. Why ? 

Gregers. 
Oh, because I may perhaps look in on you 
later. 

HiALMAR. 

No, you mustn't do that. You must not come 
to my home. Mine is a melancholy abode, 
Gregers ; especially after a splendid banquet 
like this. We can always arrange to meet 
somewhere in the town. 

Mrs. Sorby. 
[Who has quietly approached.] Are you going, 
Ekdal } 

HiALMAR. 

Yes. 

Mrs. SOrby, 
Remember me to Gina. 



214 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT I. 

HiALMAR. 

Thanks. 

Mrs. Sorby. 
And say I am coming up to see her one of these 
days. 

HiALMAR. 

Yes, thank you. [To Gregers.] Stay here ; I 
will slip out unobserved. 

[He saunters away, then into the other room, 
and so out to the right. 

Mrs. Sorby. 
[Softly to the Servant^ who has come back.'\ Well, 
did you give the old man something ? 

Pettersen. 
Yes ; I sent him off with a bottle of cognac. 

Mrs. Sorby. 
Oh, you might have thought of something 
better than that. 

Pettersen. 
Oh no, Mrs. Sorby ; cognac is what he likes 
best in the world. 

The Flabby Gentleman. 
[In the doorway with a sheet of music in his hand.] 
Shall we play a duet, Mrs. Sorby ? 

Mrs. Sorby. 
Yes, suppose we do. 

The Guests. 
Bravo, bravo ! 

[She goes with all the Guests through the 
back room, out to the right, Greoers 



;T I.] THE WILD DUCK. 



215 



remains standing hy thejire. Werle is 
looking for something on the writing- 
table, and appears to wish that Gregers 
would go; as Gregers does not move, 
Werle goes towards the door. 

Gregers. 
Father, won't you stay a moment ? 

Werle. 
[Stops.] What is it .> 

Gregers. 
I must have a word with you. 

Werle. 
Can it not wait till we are alone } 

Gregers. 
No, it cannot ; for perhaps we shall never be 
alone together. 

Werle. 
[Drawing nearer.] What do you mean by that } 
[During what follows, the pianoforte is 
faintly heard from the distant music-room. 

Gregers. 
How has that family been allowed to go so 
miserably to the wall ? 

Werle. 
You mean the Ekdals, I suppose. 

Gregers. 
Yes, I mean the Ekdals. Lieutenant Ekdal was 
once so closely associated with you. 



2l6 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT I. 

Werle. 
Much too closely ; I have felt that to my cost 
for many a year. It is thanks to him that I — yes 
/ — have had a kind of slur cast upon my reputation. 

Gregers. 
[Softli/.] Are you sure that he alone was to 
blame ? 

Werle. 
Who else do you suppose } 

Gregers. 

You and he acted together in that affair of the 

forests 

Werle. 

But was it not Ekdal that drew the map of the 
tracts we had bought — that fraudulent map ! It 
was he who felled all that timber illegally on 
Government ground. In fact, the whole manage- 
ment was in his hands. I was quite in the dark as 
to what Lieutenant Ekdal was doing. 

Gregers. 
Lieutenant Ekdal himself seems to have been 
very much in the dark as to what he was doing. 

Werle. 

That may be. But the fact remains that he was 
found guilty and I acquitted. 

Gregers. 
Yes, I know that nothing was proved against 
you. 

Werle. 
Acquittal is acquittal. Why do you rake up these 



ACT I.] THE WILD DUCK. 217 

old miseries that turned my hair grey before its 
time ? Is that the sort of thing you have been 
brooding over up there, all these years ? I can 
assure you, Gregers, here in the town the whole 
story has been forgotten long ago — so far as /am 
concerned. 

Gregers, 
But that unhappy Ekdal family 

Werle. 
What would you have had me do for the people ? 
When Ekdal came out of prison he was a broken- 
down being, past all help. There are people in 
the world who dive to the bottom the moment 
they get a couple of slugs in their body, and never 
come to the surface again. You may take my word 
for it, Gregers, I have done all I could without 
positively laying myself open to all sorts of sus- y 
picion and gossip 

Gregers. 
Suspicion ? Oh, I see. 

Werle. 
I have given Ekdal copying to do for the office, 
and I pay him far, far more for it than his work is 

worth 

Gregers. 
[Without looking at him.'\ H'm ; that I don't 
doubt. 

Werle. 
You laugh ? Do you think I. am not telling 
you the truth Well, I certainly can't refer 
you to my books, for I never enter payments 
of that sort. 



218 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT I. 

Gregers. 
[Smiks coldly.'] No, there are certain payments 
it is best to keep no account of. 

Werle. 
[Taken aback.] What do you mean by that } 

Gregers. 
[Mustering up courage.] Have you entered what 
it cost you to have Hialmar Ekdal taught 
protography } 

Werle. 
l> How " entered " it .? 

Gregers. 
I have learnt that it was you who paid for his 
training. And I have learnt, too, that it was you 
who enabled him to set up house so comfortably. 

Werle. 
Well, and yet you talk as though I had done 
nothing for the Ekdals ! I can assure you these 
people have cost me enough in all conscience. 

Gregers. 
Have you entered any of these expenses in your 
books } 

Werle. 
Why do you ask .^ 

Gregers. 
Oh, I have my reasons. Now tell me : when 
you interested yourself so warmly in your old 
friend's son — it was just before his marriage, 
was it not .'* 



act i.] the wild duck. 219 

Werle. 
Why, deuce take it — after all these years, how 

can I ? 

Gregers. 
You wrote me a letter about that time — a busi- 
ness letter, of course ; and in a postscript you 
mentioned — quite briefly — thatHialmarEkdal had 
married a Miss Hansen. 

Werle. 
Yes, that was quite right. That was her name. 

Gregers. 
But you did not mention that this Miss Hansen 
was Gina Hansen — our former housekeeper. 

Werle. 
[With a forced laugh of derision.] No ; to tell 
the truth, it didn't occur to me that you were so 
particularly interested in our former housekeeper. 

Gregers. 
No more 1 was. But [lowers his voice] there 
were others in this house who were particularly 
interested in her. 

Werle. 
What do you mean by that ? [Flaring up.] You 
are not alluding to me, I hope } 

Gregers. 
[Sojlly hvt Jirmly.] Yes, I am alluding to you. 

Werle. 

And you dare ' You presume to ' How 

can that ungrateful hound — that photographer 
fellow — how dare he go making such insinuations ^ 



220 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT I. 

Gregers. 
Hialmar has never breathed a word about this. 
I don't believe he has the faintest suspicion of such 
a thing. 

Werle. 
Then where have you got it from ? Who can 
have put such notions in your head ? 

Gregers. 
My poor unhappy mother told me ; and that the 
very last time I saw her. 

Werle. 
Your mother .' I might have known as much 1 
You and she — you always held together. It was 
she who turned you against me, from the first. 

Gregers. 

No, it was all that she had to suffer and submit 
to, until she broke down and came to such a pitiful 
end. 

Werle. 

Oh, she had nothing to suffer or submit to ; not 
more than most people, at all events. But there's 
no getting on with morbid, overstrained creatures 
— that I have learnt to my cost. — And you could 
go on nursing such a suspicion — burrowing into all 
sorts of old rumours and slanders against your own 
father ! I must say, Gregers, I really think that at 
your age you might find something more useful 
to do. 

Gregers. 

Yes, it is high time. 

Werle. 
Then perhaps your mind would be easier than it 



ACT I.] THE WILD DUCK. 221 

seems to be now. What can be your object in re- 
maining up at the works, year out and year in, 
drudging away like a common clerk, and not draw- 
ing a farthing more than the ordinary monthly 
wage .'' It is downright folly. 

Gregers. 
Ah, if I were only sure of that. 

We RLE. 

I understand you well enough. You want to be 
independent ; you won't be beholden to me for 
anything. Well, now there happens to be an 
opportunity for you to become independent, your 
own master in everything. 

Gregers. 
Indeed ? In what way .? 



Werle. 
When I wrote you insisting on your coming to 
town at once — h'm 

Gregers. 
Yes, what is it you really want of me ? I have 
been waiting all day to know. 

Werle. 
I want to propose that you should enter the 
firm, as partner. 

Gregers. 
I \ Join your firm } As partner ? 

Werle. 
Yes. It would not involve our being constantly 



222 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT I. 

together. You could take over the business here 
in town, and I should move up to the works. 

Gregers. 
You would .^ 

Werle. 
The fact is, I am not so fit for work as I once 
was. I am obliged to spare my eyes, Gregers ; 
they have begun to trouble me. 

Gregers. 
They have always been weak. 

Werle. 
Not as they are now. And besides, circum- 
stances might possibly make it desirable for me to 
live up there — for a time, at any rate. 

Gregers. 
That is certainly quite a new idea to me. 

Werle. 
Listen, Gregers : there are many things that 
stand between us ; but we are father and son after 
all. We ought surely to be able to come to some 
sort of understanding with each other. 

Gregers. 
Outwardly, you mean, of course ? 

Werle. 
Well, even that would be something. TTiink it 
over, Gregers. Don't you think it ought to be 
possible ? Eh ? 



act i.] the wild duck. 22s 

Gregers. 
[Looking at him coldli/.] There is something 
behind all this. 

Werle. 
How so ? 

Gregers. 
You want to make use of me in some way. 

Werle. 
In such a close relationship as ours, the one can 
always be useful to the other. 

Gregers. 
Yes, so people say. 

Werle. 
I want very much to have you at home with me 
for a time. I am a lonely man Gregers ; I have 
always felt lonely, all my life through ; but most 
of all now that I am getting up in years. I feel 
the need of some one about me 

Gregers. 
You have Mrs. Sorby. 

Werle. 
Yes, I have her ; and she has become, I may say, 
almost indispensable to me. She is lively and even- 
tempered ; she brightens up the house ; and that 
is a very great thing for me. 

Gregers. 
Well then, you have everything just as you 
wish it. 



224 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT L 

Werle. 
Yes, but I am afraid it can't last. A woman so 
situated may easily find herself in a false position, 
in the eyes of the world. For that matter it does 
a man no good, either. 

Gregers. 
Oh, when a man gives such dinners as you give, 
he can risk a great deal. 

Werle. 

Yes, but how about the woman, Gregers } I 

fear she won't accept the situation much longer ; 

and even if she did — even if, out of attachment 

to me, she were to take her chance of gossip and 

scandal and all that ? Do you think, Gregers 

— you with your strong sense of justice 

Gregers. 
[Interrupts him.] Tell me in one word : are you 
thinking of marrying her ? 

Werle. 
Suppose I were thinking of it ? What then } 

Gregers. 
That's what I say : what then ? 

Werle. 
Should you be inflexibly opposed to it ! 

Gregers. 
Not at all. Not by any means. 

Werle. 
I was not sure whether your devotion to your 
mother's memory 



act i.] the wild duck. 225 

Gregers. 
I am not overstrained. 

Werle. 
Well, whatever you may or may not be, at all 
events you have lifted a great weight from my 
mind. I am extremely pleased that I can reckon 
on your concurrence in this matter. 

Gregers. 
[Looking intently at him.] Now I see the use 
you want to put me to. 

Werle. 
Use to put you to ? What an expression ! 

Gregers. 
Oh, don't let us be nice in our choice of words 
— not when we are alone together, at any rate. 
[With a short laugh.] Well well ! So this is what 
made it absolutely essential that I should come to 
town in person. For the sake of Mrs. Sorby, we 
are to get up a pretence at family life in the house 
— a tableau of filial affection ! That will be 
something new indeed. 

Werle. 
How dare you speak in that tone ! 

Gregers. 
Was there ever any family life here ? Never 
since I can remember. But now, forsooth, your 
plans demand something of the sort. No doubt 
it will have an excellent effect when it is reported 
that the son has hastened home, on the wings 
of filial piety, to the grey haired father's wedding- 
^-^ast. What will then remain of all the rumours 



THE WILD DUCK. [aCT I. 

as to the wrongs the poor dead mother had to 
submit to ? Not a vestige. Her son annihilates 
them at one stroke. 

Werle. 
Gregers — I believe there is no one in the world 
you detest as you do me. 

Gregers. 
[Softly.] I have seen you at too close quarters. 

Werle. 
J You have seen me with your mother's eyes. 
[Lowers his voice a little.] But you should remem- 
ber that her eyes were — clouded now and then. 

Gregers. 
[Quivering.] I see what you are hinting at. 
But who was to blame for mother's unfortunate 

weakness ? Why you, and all those ! . The 

last of them was this woman that you palmed off 
upon Hialmar Ekdal, when you were Ugh ! 

Werle. 
[Shrugs his shoulders.] Word for word as if it 
were your mother speaking ! 

Gregers. 
[Without heeding.] And there he is now, with 
his great, confiding, childlike mind, compassed 
about with all this treachery — living under the 
same roof with such a creature, and never dream- 
ing that what he calls his home is built upon a 
lie ! [Comes a step nearer.] When I look back 
upon your past, I seem to see a battle-field with 
shattered lives on every hand. 



act i.] the wild duck. 227 

Werle. 
I begin to think the chasm that divides us is 
too wide. 

Gregers. 
[Bowing, with self-command.^ So I have 
observed ; and therefore I take my hat and go. 

Werle. 
You are going ! Out of the house ? 

Gregers. 
Yes. For at last I see my mission in life. 

Werle. 
What mission ? 

Gregers. 
You would only laugh if I told you. 

Werle. 
A lonely man doesn't laugh so easily, Gregers. 

Gregers. 
[Pointing towards the background.] Look, father, 
— the Chamberlains are playing blind man's-bufF 
with Mrs. Sorby. —Good -night and good bye. 

[He goes out by the back to the right. 
Sounds of laughter and merriment from 
the Company, who are now visible in the 
outer room. 

Werle. 
[Muttering contemptuously after Gregers ] Ha 
' Poor wretch — and he says he is not over- 



strained ! 



ACT SECOND. 

HiALMAR Ekdal's studio, a good-sized room ^evidently 
in the top storey of the building. On the right, 
a sloping roof of large panes of glass, half- 
covered by a blue curtain. In the right-hand 
comer, at the back, the entrance door ; farther 
forward, on the same side, a door leading to the 
sitting-room. Two doors on the opposite side, 
and between them an iron stove. At the back, a 
wide double sliding-door. The studio is plainly 
hut comfortably fitted up and furnished. Between 
the doors on the right ^ standing out a little from 
the wall, a sofa with a table and some chairs ; on 
the table a lighted lamp with a shade ; beside the 
stove an old arm-chair. Photographic instru- 
ments and apparatus of different kinds lying 
about the room. Against the back wall, to the 
left of the double door, stands a bookcase contain- 
ing a few books, boxes, and bottles of chemicals, 
instruments, tools, and other objects. Photo- 
graphs and small articles, such as cameVs- hair 
pencils, paper, and so forth, lie on the table. 
GiNA Ekdal sits on a chair by the tab^e, sewing. 
Hedvig is sitting on the sofa, with her hands 
shading her eyes and her thumbs in her ears, 
reading a book. 

GiNA. 

[Glances once or twice at Hedvig, as if with secret 
arixiety ; then says :] Hedvig ! 



ACT II.] THE WILD DUCK. 229 



H EDVIG. 

[Does not hearJ\ 

GiNA. 

[Repeats more loudly.] Hedvig! 

Hedvig. 
[ Takes away her hands and looks mju.] Yes, mother } 

GiNA. 

Hedvig dear, you mustn't sit reading any 
longer now. 

Hedvig. 

Oh mother, majm't I read a little more } Just 
a little bit } 

GiNA. 

No no, you must put away your book now. 
Father doesn't like it ; he never reads hisself in 
the evening. 

Hedvig. 

[Shuts the hook.^ No, father doesn't care much 
about reading. 

GiNA. 

[Puts aside her sewing and takes up a lead pencil 
and a little account-hook frorn the table.^ Can you ro- 
member how much we paid for the butter to-day ? 

Hedvig. 
It was one crown sixty-five. 

GiNA. 

That's right. [Puts it donm.^ It's terrible what 
a lot of butter we get through in this house. 
Then there was the smoked sausage, and the 
cheese — let me see — [Writes] — and the ham — 
[Adds up.] Yes, that makes just 



230 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT IL 

Hedviq. 
And then the beer. 

GiNA. 

Yes, to be sure. [Writes.] How it do mount 
up ! But we can't manage with no less. 

Hedvig. 
And then you and I didn't need anything hot 
for dinner, as father was out. 

GiNA. 

No ; that was so much to the good. And then 
I took eight crowns fifty for the photographs. 

Hedvig. 
Really ! So much as that ? 

GiNA. 

Exactly eight crowns fifty. 

[Silence. Gina takes up her sewing again, 
Hedvig takes paper and pencil and begins 
to draw, shading her eyes with her left 
hand. 

Hedvig. 
Isn't it jolly to think that father is at Mr. Werle's 
big dinner-party } 

Gina. 
You know he's not really Mr. Werle's guest. 
It was the son invited him. [After a pause.] We 
have nothing to do with that Mr. Werle. 

Hedvig. 
I'm longing for father to come home. He pro- 
mised to ask Mrs, Sorby for something nice for me. 



ACT II.] THE WILD DUCK. 2SJ 

GiNA. 

Yes, there's plenty of good things going in that 
house, I can tell you. 

Hedvio. 
[Goes on drawing.] And I believe I'm a little 
hungry too. 

[Old Ekdal, with the paper parcel under his 
arm and another parcel in his coat pockety 
comes in by the entrance door. 

GiNA. 

How late you are to-day, grandfather i 

Ekdal. 
They had locked the office door. Had to wait 
in Graberg's room. And then they let me through 
— h'm. 

Hedvig. 
Did you get some more copying to do, grand- 
father } 

Ekdal. 
This whole packet. Just look. 

GiNA. 

That's capital. 

Hedvig. 
And you have another parcel in your pocket. 

Ekdal. 
Eh } Oh never mind, that's nothing. [Puts his 
stick away in a corner.] This work will keep me going 
a long time, Gina. [Opens one of the sliding-doors 
in the back wall a little.] Hush ! [Peeps into the room 
for a moment, then pushes the door carefully to again.] 



232 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT II. 

Hee-hee ! They're fast asleep, all the lot of them. 
And she's gone into the basket herself. Hee-hee I 

Hedvig. 
Are you sure she isn't cold in that basket, grand- 
father } 

Ekdal. 
Not a bit of it ! Cold } With all that straw .? 
[Goes towards the farther door on the left.] There are 
matches in here, I suppose. 

GiNA. 

The matches is on the drawers. 

[Ekdal goes into his room. 

Hedvig. 
It's nice that grandfather has got all that 
copying. 

GiNA. 

Yes, poor old father ; it means a bit of pocket- 
money for him. 

Hedvig. 

And he won't be able to sit the whole forenoon 
down at that horrid Madam Eriksen's. 

GiNA. 

No more he won't. [Short silence. 

Hedvig. 
Do you suppose they are still at the dinner- 
table } 

GiNA. 

Goodness knows ; as like as not. 

Hedvig. 
Think of all the delicious things father is having 



ACT II.] THE WILD DUCK. 233 

to eat ! I'm certain he'll be in splendid spirits 
when he comes. Don't you think so^ mother ? 

GiNA. 

Yes ; and if only we could tell him that we'd got 

the room let 

Hedvig. 

But we don't need that this evening. 

GiNA. 

Oh, we'd be none the worse of it, I can tell you. 
It's no use to us as it is. 

Hedvig. 
I mean we don't need it this evening, for father 
will be in a good humour at any rate. It is best 
to keep the letting of the room for another time. 

GiNA. 

[Looks across at her.] You like having some good 
news to tell father when he comes home in the 
evening ? 

Hedvig. 

Yes ; for then things are pleasanter somehow. 

GiNA. 

[Thinking to herself.'] Yes, yes, there's some- 
thing in that. 

[Old Ekdal comes in again and is going 
out by the foremost door to the left. 

GiNA. 

[Half turning tn her chair.] Do you want some- 
thing out of the kitchen, grandfather } 

Ekdal. 
Yes, yes, I do. Don't you trouble. [Goes out. 



234 THE WILD DUCK. TaCT II. 



GiNA. 

He's not poking away at the fire, is he ? [Waits 
a moment.] Hedvig, go and see what he's about. 
[Ekdal comes in again with a small jug of 
steaming hot water. 

Hedvig. 
Have you been getting some hot water, grand- 
father } 

Ekdal. 
Yes, hot water. Want it for something. Want 
to write, and the ink has got as thick as porridge. 
— h'm. 

GiNA. 

But you'd best have your supper, first, grand- 
father. It's laid in there. 

Ekdal. 
Can't be bothered with supper, Gina. Very 
busy, I tell you. No one's to come to my room. 
No one — h'm. 

[He goes into his room ; Gina and Hedvio 
look at each other. 

Gina. 

[Softly.] Can you imagine where he's got money 
from ? 

Hedvig. 
From Graberg, perhaps. 

Gina. 
Not a bit of it. Graberg always sends the money 
to me. 

Hedvig. 
Then he must have got a bottle on credit some- 
where. 



ACT II.] THE WILD DUCK. 235 

GiNA. 

Poor grandfather, who'd give him credit ? 

HiALMAR Ekdal, in an overcoat and grey felt hat, 
comes in from the right. 

GiNA. 

[Throws down her sewing and rises J\ Why, 
Ekdal. Is that you already ^ 

Hedvig. 
[At the same time jumping up J] Fancy your coming 
so soon, father ! 

HiALMAR. 

[Talcing off his hat.^ Yes, most of the people 
were coming away. 

Hedvig. 
So early ? 

HiALMAR. 

Yes, it was a dinner-party, you know. 

[Is taking off his overcoat. 

GiNA. 

Let me help you. 

Hedvig. 
Me too. 

[They draw off his coat ; Gina hangs it up 
on the back wall. 

Hedvig 
Were there many people there, father.^ 

HiALMAR. 

Oh no, not many. We were about twelve or 
fourteen at table. 



THE WILD DUCK. [aCT II. 

GiNA. 

And you had some talk with them all ? 

HiALMAR. 

Oh yes, a little ; but Gregers took me up most of 
the time. 

GiNA. 

Is Gregers as ugly as ever } 

HiALMAR. 

Well, he's not very much to look at. Hasn't the 
old man come home ? 

Hedvig. 
Yes, grandfather is in his room, writing. 

HiALMAR. 

Did he say anything ? 

GiNA. 

No, what should he say ? 

HiALMAR. 

Didn't he say anything about ? I heard 

something about his having been with Graberg. 
I'll go in and see him for a moment. 

GiNA. 

No, no, better not. 

HiALMAR. 

Why not ? Did he say he didn't want me to go 
in.> 

GiNA. 

I don't think he wants to see nobody this 
evening 



act ii.] the wild duck. 237 

Hedvig. 
[Maki?ig signs.] H'm — h'm I 

GiNA. 

[Not noticing.] he has been in to fetch hot 

water 

Hi ALMA R. 



Aha : Then he's- 



GlNA. 

Yes, I suppose so. 

HiALMAR. 

Oh God ! my poor old white-haired father ! — 
Well, well ; there let him sit and get all the en- 
joyment he can. 

[Old Ekdal, in an indoor coat and with a 
lighted pipe, comes from his room. 

Ekdal. 
Got home.'* Thought it was you I heard 
talking. 

Hialmar. 
Yes, I have just come. 

Ekdal. 
You didn't see me, did you ? 

HlALMAR» 

No ; but they told me you had passed through 
— so I thought I would follow you. 

Ekdal. 
H'm, good of you, Hialmar. — Who were they, 
all those fellows ? 

Hialmar. 

Oh, all sorts of people. There was Chamber- 



238 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT II. 

lain Flor, and Chamberlain Balle, and Chamberlain 
Kaspersen, and Chamberlain — this, that, &nd the 
other — I don't know who all .. ■■ 

Ekdal. 
[Nodding.] Hear that, Gina ! Chamberlains 
every one of them ! 

Gina. 
Yes, I hear as they're terrible genteel in that 
house nowadays. 

Hedvig. 
Did the Chamberlains sing, father.^ Or did 
they read aloud } 

HiALMAR. 

No, they only talked nonsense. They wanted 
me to recite something for them; but I knew 
better than that. 

Ekdal. 

You weren't to be persuaded, eh ? 

Gina. 

Oh, you might have done it. 

HiALMAR. 

No ; one mustn't be at everybody's beck and 
call. [Walks about the room.] That's not my way, 
at any rate. 

Ekdal. 

No no ; Hialmar's not to be had for the asking* 
he isn't. 

HiALMAR. 

I don't see why / should bother myself to 
entertain people on the rare occasions when I go 
into society. Let the others exert themselves. 



ACT II.] THE WILD DUCK. 239 

These fellows go from one great dinner-table to 
the next and gorge and guzzle day out and day 
in. It's for them to bestir themselves and do 
something in return for all the good feeding they 
get. 

Gin A. 

But you didn't say that ? 

HiALMAR. 

[Humming.] Ho- ho- ho — ■ — - ; faith, I gave them 
a bit of my mind. 

Ekdal. 
Not the Chamberlains ? 

HiALMAR. 

Oh, why not r [Light li/.] After that, we had 
a little»discussion about Tokay. 

Ekdal. 
Tokay I There's a fine wine for you ! 

HiALMAR. 

[Comes to a standstill.] It may be a fine wine. 
But of course you know the vintages differ ; it all 
depends on how much sunshine the grapes have 
had. 

GiNA. 

Why, you know everything, Ekdal. 

Ekdal. 
And did they dispute that ? 

HiALMAR. 

They tried to ; but they were requested to 
observe that it was just the same with Chamber- 



P 



240 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT U 



lains — that with them, too, different batches were 
of different qualities. 

GlNA. 

What things you do think of! 

Ekdal. 
Hee-hee ! So they got that in their pipes too ? 

HiALMAR. 

Right in their teeth. 

Ekdal. 
Do you hear that, Gina ? He said it right in 
the very teeth of all the Chamberlains. 

Gina. 
Fancy— ^ — I Right in their teeth ! 

HiALMAR. 

Yes, but I don't want it talked about. One 
doesn't speak of such things. The whole affair 
passed off quite amicably of course. They were 
nice, genial fellows ; I didn't want to wound them 
—not I ! 

Ekdal. 

Right in their teeth, though .' 

Hedvig. 
[Caressingli/.] How nice it is to see you in a 
dress- coat I It suits you so well, father. 

HiALMAR. 

Yes, don't you think so ? And this one really 
sits to perfection. It fits almost as if it had been 
made for me ; — a little tight in the arm-holes 
perhaps ; — help me, Hedvig. [Takes off the coat.] 



ACT II.] THE WILD DUCK. 241 

I think I'll put on my jacket. Where is my jacket, 
Gina ? 

GiNA. 

Here it is. [Bri?igs the jacket and helps himJ\ . 

HiALMAR. 

That's it ! Don't forget to send the coat back 
to Molvik first thing to-morrow morning. 

GiNA. 

[Laying it away.'] I'll be sure and see to it. 

HiALMAR. 

[Stretching himself.] After all, there's a more 
homely feeling about this. A free-and-easy in- 
door costume suits my whole personality better. 
Don't you think so, Hedvig } 

Hedvig. 
Yes, father. 

HiALMAR. 

When I loosen my necktie into a pair of flowing 
ends — like this — eh } 

Hedvig. 
Yes, that goes so well with your moustache and 
the sweep of your curls. 

HiALMAR. 

I should not call them curls exactly ; I should 
rather say locks. 

Hedvig. 
Yes, they are two big for curls. 

HiALMAR. 

Locks describes them better. 



242 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT II. 

Hedvig. 
[After a pause, twitching his jacket.'] Father . 

HiALMAR. 

Well, what is it? 

Hedvig. 
Oh, you know very well. 

HiALMAR. 

No, really I don't 

Hedvig. 
[Half laughing, half whimpering.] Oh yes, father ; 
now don't tease me any longer t 

HiALMAR. 

Why, what do you mean ? 

Hedvig. 
[Shaking him.] Oh what nonsense ; come, where 
are they, father ? All the good things you pro- 
mised me, you know ? 

HiALMAR. 

Oh — if I haven't forgotten all about them I 

Hedvig. 
Now you're only teasing me, father ! Oh, it's 
too bad of you I Where have you put them ? 

HiALMAR. 

No, I positively forgot to get anything. But 
wait a little ! I have something else for you, 
Hedvig. 

[Goes and searches in the pockets of the coat. 



act ii.] the wild duck. 943 

Hedvig. 
[Skipping and clapping her hands.^ Oh mother, 
mother ! 

GiNA. 

There, you see ; if you only give him time 

HiALMAR. 

[ With a paper.] Look, here it is. 

Hedvig. 
That .'' Why, that's only a paper. 

HiALMAR. 

That is the bill of fare, my dear ; the whole bill 
of fare. Here you see : " Menu " — that means 
bill of fare. 

Hedvig. 

Haven't you anything else ? 

HiALMAR. 

I forgot the other things, I tell you. But you 

may take my word for it, these dainties are very 

unsatisfying. Sit down at the table and read the 

Vbill of fare, and then I'll describe to you how the 

dishes taste. Here you are, Hedvig. 

Hedvig. 
[Gulping down her tears.] Thank you. 

[She seats herself, but does not read ; Gina 
makes signs to her; Hialmar njotices it. 

HiALMAR. 

[Pacing up and down the room.] It's monstrous 
what absurd things the father of a family is ex- 
pected to think of; and if he forgets the smallest 



244 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT II. 

trifle, he is treated to sour faces at once. Well, 
well, one gets used to that too. [Stops near the 
stove, hy the old man's chair.'\ Have you peeped in 
there this evening, father ? 

Ekdal. 
Yes, to be sure I have. She's gone into the 
basket. 

HiALMAR. , 

Ah, she has gone into the basket. Then she's 
beginning to get used to it. 

Ekdal. 
Yes ; just as I prophesied. But you know there 
are still a few little things 

HiALMAR. 

A few improvements, yes. 

Ekdal. 
They've got to be made, you know. 

HiALMAR. 

Yes, let us have a talk about the improvements, 
father. Come, let us sit on the sofa. 

Ekdal. 
All right. H'm — think I'll just fill my pipe 
first. Must clean it out, too. H'm. 

[He goes into his room. 

GiNA. 

[Smiling to Hialmar.] His pipe ! 

HiALMAR. 

Oh yes yes, Gina ; let him alone — the poor 



ACT II.] THE WILD DUCK. 245 

shipwrecked old man. — Yes, these improvements 
— we had better get them out of hand to-morrow. 

GiNA. 

You'll hardly have time to-morrow, Ekdal. 

Hedvig. 
[Interposing.] Oh yes he will, mother .' 

GiNA. 

-"" ■for remember them prints that has to be 
retouched ; they've sent for them time after time. 

HiALMAR. 

There now ! those prints again I I shall get 
them finished all right ! Have any new orders 
come in } 

GiNA. 

No, worse luck ; to-morrow I have nothing but 
those two sittings, you know. 

HiALMAR, 

Nothing else ? Oh no, if people won't set about 
things with a will 

GiNA. 

But what more can I do ? Don't I advertise in 
the papers as much as we can afford ? 

HiALMAR. 

Yes, the papers, the papers ; you see how much 
good they do. And I suppose no one has been to 
look at the room either ? 

Gin A. 

No, not yet. 



246 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT II. 

HiALMAR. 

That was only to be expected. If people won't 

keep their eyes open -. Nothing can be done 

without a real effort, Gina ! 

Hedvig. 
[Going towards him.\ Shall I fetch you the flute, 
father.? 

HiALMAR. 

No ; no flute for me ; / want no pleasures in 
this world. [Pacing about] Yes, indeed I will 
work to-morrow ; you shall see if I don't. You 
may be sure I shall work as long as my strength 
holds out. 

Gina. 

But my dear good Ekdal, I didn't mean it in 
that way. 

Hedvig. 

Father, mayn't I bring in a bottle of beer? 

HiALMAR. 

No, certainly not. I require nothing, no- 
thing [Comes to a standstill.] Beer .'' Was 

it beer you were talking about } 

Hedvig. 
[Cheerfully.] Yes, father ; beautiful fresh beer. 

HiALMAR. 

Well — since you insist upon it, you may bring 
in a bottle. 

Gina. 
Yes, do ; and we'll be nice and cosy. 

[Hedvig runs towards the kitchen door. 



ACT II.] THE WILD DUCK. 247 

HiALMAR. 

[Bi^ the stovCj stops her, looks at her^ puts his arm 
round her neck and presses her to him.^ Hedvig, 
Hedvig ! 

Hedvig. 

[ IVith tears of joy. ^ My dear^ kind father I 

HiALMAR. 

No, don't call me that. Here have I been 
feasting at the rich man's table, — battening at the 
groaning board-— ! And I couldn't even \ 

GiNA. 

\Sitting at the table.^ Oh nonsense, nonsense, 
Ekdal. 

HiALMAR. 

It's not nonsense I And yet you mustn't be 
too hard upon me. You know that I love you for 
all that. 

Hedvig. 

[Throwing her arms round himJ\ And we love 
you, oh so dearly, father! 

HiALMAR. 

And if I am unreasonable once in a while, — why 
then — you must remember that I am a man beset 
by a host of cares. There, there ! [Dries his eyes.] 
No beer at such a moment as this. Give me the 
flute. 

[Hedvig runs to the bookcase and fetches it, 

HiALMAR. 

Thanks ! That's right. With my flute in my 

hand and you two at my side — ah ! 

[Hedvig seats herself at the table near Gina ; 



248 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT II. 

HiALMAR paces backwards and forwards, 
pipes up vigorously, and plays a Bohemian 
peasant dance, hut in a slow plaintive 

tempo, and with sentimental expression. 

HiALMAR. 

\Breaking off the melody, holds out his left hand to 
GiNA, and says with emotion ;] Our roof may be 
poor and humble, Gina ; but it is home. And 
with all my heart 1 say : here dwells my happiness, 
[i/e begins to play again ; almost imme- 
diately after, a knocking is heard at the 
entrance door. 

Gina. 
[Rising.] Hush, Ekdal, — I think there's some 
one at the door. 

HiALMAR. 

[Laying the flute on the bookcase.^ There ! 
Again ! [Gina goes and opens the door. 

Gregers Werle. 
[In the passage.] Excuse me 

Gina. 

[Starting back slightly.] Oh ! 

Gregers. 
-does not Mr. Ekdal, the photographer, live 



here? 

Gina. 
Yes, he does. 

HiALMAR. 

[Going towards the door.] Gregers ! You here 
after all } Well, come in then. 



ACT II.] THE WILD DUCR. 249 



Gregers. 
[Coming m.] I told you I would come and look 
you up. 

HiALMAR. 

But this evening ? Have you left the 

party ? 

Gregers. 

I have left both the party and my father's 
house. — Good evening, Mrs. Ekdal. I don't know 
whether you recognise me } 

GiNA. 

Oh yes ; it's not difficult to know young Mr. 
Werle again. 

Gregers. 

No, I am like my mother ; and no doubt you 
remember her. 

HiALMAR. 

Left your father's house, did you say * 

Gregers. 
Yes, I have gone to a hotel. 

HiALMAR. 

Indeed. Well, since you're here, take off your 
coat and sit down. 

Gregers. 
Thanks. 

[He takes off his overcoat. He is now dressed 
in a plain grey suit of a countrified cut. 

HiALMAR. 

Here, on the sofa. Make yourself comfortable. 
[Gregers seats himself on the sofa; 
HiALMAR takes a chair at the table. 



250 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT II. 

Gregers. 
[Looking around him.^ So these are your quarters, 
Hialmar — this is your home. 

HiALMAR. 

This is the studio, as you see 

GiNA. 

But it*s the largest of our rooms, so we generally 
sit here. 

Hialmar. 

We used to Hve in a better place ; but this flat 
has one great advantage : there are such capital 
outer rooms 

GlNA. 

And we have a room on the other side of the 
passage that we can let. 

Gregers. 
[To Hialmar.] Ah — so you have lodgers too ? 

Hialmar. 
No, not yet. They're not so easy to find, you 
see; you have to keep your eyes open. (7'o 
Hedvig.] What about that beer, eh ? 

[Hedvig nods and goes out into the kitchen. 

Gregers. 
So that is your daughter } 

Hialmar. 
Yes, that is Hedvig. 

Gregers. 
And she is your only child } 



ACT II.] THE WILD DUCK. 251 

HiALMAR. 

Yes, the only one. She is the joy of our lives, 
and — [lowering his voice] — at the same time our 
deepest sorrow, Gregers. 

Gregers. 
What do you mean ? 

HiALMAR. 

She is in serious da nger of losin g iier_ey_e sight. 

Gregers. 
Becoming blind } 

HiALMAR. 

Yes. Only the first symptoms have appeared 
as yet, and she may not feel it much for some 
time. But the doctor has warned us. It is com- 
ing, inexorably. 

Gregers. 

What a terrible misfortune I How do you 
account for it } 

HiALMAR. 

\SighsJ\ Hereditary, no doubt. 

Gregers. 
[Starting.l Hereditary^ 

GiNA. 

Ekdal's mother had weak eyes. 

HiALMAR. 

Yes, so my father says ; I can't remember her. 

Gregers. 
Poor child ! And how does she take it } 



252 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT II. 

HiALMAR. 

Oh, you can imagine we haven't the heart to 
tell her of it. She dreams of no danger. Gay 
and careless and chirping like a little bird, she 
flutters onward into a life of endless night. 
Wvercome.] Oh, it is cruelly hard on me, 
Gregers. 

[Hedvig brings a tray with beer and glasses, 
which she sets upon the table. 

HiALMAR. 

[Stroking her hair.^ Thanks, thanks, Hedvig. 

[Hedvig puts her arm round his neck and 
whispers in his ear. 

HiALMAR. 

No, no bread and butter just now. [Looks up.^ 
But perhaps you would like some, Gregers. 

Gregers. 
[With a gesture of refusal.^ No, no thank you. 

HiALMAR. 

[Still melancholy.^ Well, you can bring in a 
little all the same. If you have a crust, that is all 
I want. And plenty of butter on it, mind. 

[Hedvig nods gaily and goes out into the 
kitchen again. 

Gregers. 
[Who has been following her with his eyes.l^ She 
seems quite strong and healthy otherwise. 

GiNA. 

Yes. In other ways there's nothing amiss with 
her, thank goodness. 



ACT II.] THE WILD DUCK. 253 

Gregers. 
She promises to be very like you, Mrs. Ekdal. 
How old is she now ? 

GiNA. 

Hedvig is close on fourteen; her birthday is 
the day after to-morrow. 

Gregers. 
She is pretty tall for her age, then. 

GiNA. 

Yes, she's shot up wonderful this last year. 

Gregers. 
It makes one realise one's own age to see these 
young people growing up. — How long is it now 
since you were married ? 

GiNA. 

We've been married — let me see — just on 
fifteen years. 

Gregers. 

Is it so long as that ? 

GiNA. 

[Becomes attentive; looks at him.] Yes, it is 
indeed. 

HiALMAR. 

Yes, so it is. Fifteen years all but a few 
months. [Changing his tone.] They must have 
been long years for you, up at the works, 
Gregers. 

Gregers. 

They seemed long while I was living them; 



254 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT II. 

now they are over, I hardly know how the time 

has gone. 

[Old Ekdal comes from his room without 
his pipe, but with his old-fashioned 
uniform cap on his head ; his gait is 
somewhat unsteady. 

Ekdal. 
Come now, Hialmar, let's sit down ^nd have a 
good talk about this^h'm — what was it again } 

HiALMAR. 

[Going towards him^ Father, we have a visitor 
here — Gregers Werle. — I don't know if you 
remember him. 

Ekdal. 
[Looking a< Gregers, who hasrisen.l Werle ? Is 
that the son } What does he want with me } 

HiALMAR. 

Nothing ; it's me he has come to see. 

Ekdal. 
Oh ! Then there's nothing wrong } 

HiALMAR. 

No, no, of course not. 

Ekdal. 
[With a large gesture.] Not that I'm afraid, you 

know ; but 

Gregers. 
[Goes over to him.] I bring you a greeting from 
your old hunting-grounds, Lieutenant Ekdal. 



ACT II.l THE WILD DUCK. 255 



Ekdal. 

Hunting-grounds ? 

Greoers. 
Yes, up in Hoidal, about the works, you know. 

Ekdal. 
Oh, up there. Yes, I knew all those places 
well in the old days. 

Gregers. 
You were a great sportsman then. 

Ekdal. 
So I was, I don't deny it. You're looking at 
my uniform cap. I don't ask anybody's leave to 
wear it in the house. So long as I don't go out 

in the streets with it 

[Hedvig brings a plate of bread and butter, 
which she puts upon the table. 

Hialmar. 
Sit down, father, and have a glass of beer. 
Help yourself, Gregers. 

[Ekdal mutters and stumbles over to the 
sofa. Gregers seats himself on the chair 
nearest to him, Hialmar on the other side 
o/' Gregers. G\^\ sits a little way from 
the table, sewing ; Hedvig stands beside 
her father. 

Gregers. 
Can you remember, Lieutenant Ekdal, how 
Hialmar and I used to come up and visit you in 
the summer and at Christmas } 



256 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT II. 

Ekdal. 
Did you ? No, no, no ; I don't remember it. 
But sure enough I've been a tidy bit of a sports- 
man in my day. I've shot bears too. I've shot 
nine of 'em, no less. 

Gregers. 
[Looking sympathetically at him.^ And now you 
never get any shooting } 

Ekdal. 
Can't just say that, sir. Get a shot now and 
then perhaps. Of course not in the old way. 
For the woods you see — the woods, the woods—! 
[Drinks.'] Are the woods fine up there now ? 

Gregers. 
Not so fine as in your time. They have been 
thinned a good deal. 

Ekdal. 
Thinned ? [More softhj, and as if afraid.] It's 
dangerous work that. Bad things come of it. 
The woods revenge themselves. 

HiALMAR. 

[Filling up his glass.] Come — a little more, 
father. 

Gregers. 
How can a man like you — such a man for the 
open air — live in the midst of a stuffy town, boxed 
within four walls } 

Ekdal. 
[Laughs quietly and glances at H i alm ar. ] Oh, it's 
not so bad here. Not at all so bad. 



act ii.] the wild duck. 257 

Gregers. 
But don't you miss all the things that used to 
be a part of your very being — the cool sweeping 
breezes, the free life in the woods and on the 
uplands, among beasts and birds ? 

Ekdal. 
[Smiling.] Hialmar, shall we let him see it ? 

HiALMAR. 

\Hastily and a little embarrassed.] Oh no no, 
father ; not this evening. 

Gregers. 
• What does he want to show me } 

Hialmar. 
Oh, it's only something — you can see it another 
time. 

Gregers. 
[Continues, to the old man.] You see I have been 
thinking, Lieutenant Ekdal, that you should 
come up with me to the works ; I am sure to be 
going back soon. No doubt you could get some 
copying there too. And here, you have nothing 
on earth to interest you — nothing to liven you up. 

Ekdal. 
[Stares in astonishment at him.] Have / nothing 

on earth to ! 

Gregers. 
Of course you have Hialmar; but then he has 
his own family. And a man like you, who has 
always had such a passion for what is free and 
wild 



258 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT II, 

Ekdal. 
[Thumps the table.'] Hialmar, he shall see it! 

HiALMAR. 

Oh, do you think it's worth while, father ? It's 
all dark. 

Ekdal. 

Nonsense; it's moonlight. [/2i*e*.] He shall 
see it, I tell you. Let me pass ! Come and help 
me, Hialmar. 

Hedvig. 
Oh yes, do, father ! 

Hialmar. 
[Rising,"] Very well then. 
Gregers. 
[roGiNA.] What is it.? 

GiNA 

Oh, nothing so very wonderful, after all. 

[Ekdal arid Hialmar have gone to the back 
wall and are each pushing back a side of 
the sliding door ; Hedvig helps the old 
man ; Gregers remains standing by the 
sofa; Gin A sits still and sews. Through 
the open doorway a large, deep irregular 
garret is seen with odd nooks and comers ; 
a couple of stove-pipes running through 
it, from rooms below. There are sky- 
lights through which clear moonbeams 
shine in on some parts of the great room ; 
others lie in deep shadow.] 

Ekdal. 
[To Gregers.] You may come close up if you 
like. 



act ii.] the wild duck. 259 

Gregers. 
[Going over to them.] Why, what is it ? 

Ekdal. 
Look for yourself. H'm. 

HiALMAR. 

[Somewhat embarrassed.] This belongs to father, 
you understand. 

Gregers. 

[At the door, looks into the garret.] Why, you 
keep poultry. Lieutenant Ekdal 

Ekdal. 
• Should think we did keep poultry. They've 
gone to roost now. But you should just see our 
fowls by daylight, sir ! 

Hedviq 
And there's a 

Ekdal. 
Sh — sh ! don't say anything about it yet. 

Gregers. 
And you have pigeons too, I see. 

Ekdal. 
Oh yes, haven't we just got pigeons ! They 
have their nest- boxes up there under the roof- 
tree ; for pigeons like to roost high, you see 

Hialmar. 
They aren't all common pigeons. 

Ekdal. 
Common ! Should think not indeed \ We 



260 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT 11. 

have tumblers, and a pair of pouters, too. But 
come here I Can you see that hutch down there 
by the wall } 

Gregers. 
Yes ; what do you use it for ? 

Ekdal. 
That's where the rabbits sleep, sir. 

Gregers. 
Dear me ; so you have rabbits too ? 

Ekdal. 

Yes, you may take my word for it, we have 
rabbits ! He wants to know if we have rabbits, 
Hialmar ! H'ra ! But now comes the thing, let 
me tell you ! Here we have it ! Move away, 
Hedvig. Stand here ; that's right, — and now 
look down there. — Don't you see a basket with 
straw in it ? 

Gregers. 

Yes. And I can see a fowl lying in the basket. 

Ekdal. 
H'm— "afowl" 

Gregers. 
Isn't it a duck ? 

Ekdal. 
[Hurt.] Why, of course it's a duck. 

Hialmar. 
But what kind of duck, do you think ? 

Hedvig. 
It*s not just a common duck 



act ii.] the wild duck. 26l 

Ekdal. 
Sh! 

Greoers. 
And it's not a Muscovy duck either. 

Ekdal. 
No, Mr. — Werle ; it's not a Muscovy duck ; for 
it's a wild duck ! 

Gregers. 
Is it really } A wild duck ? 

Ekdal. 
Yes, that's what it is. That " fowl " as you call 
it — is the wild duck. It's our wild duck, sir. 

Hedvig. 
My wild duck. It belongs to me. 

Gregers. 
And can it live up here in the garret ? Does 
it thrive } 

Ekdal. 

Of course it has a trough of water to splash 
about in, you know. 

Hialmar. 
Fresh water every other day. 

GiNA. 

[Turning towards Hialmar.] But my dear 
Ekdal, it's getting icy cold here. 

Ekdal. 
H'm, we had better shut up then. It's as well 



262 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT II. 

not to disturb their night's rest, too. Close up, 
Hedvig. 

[HiALMAR and H^nwGpush the garret doors 
together. 

Ekdal. 
Another time you shall see her properly. 
[Seats himself in the arm-chair by the stove,^ Oh, 
they're curious things, these wild ducks, I can tell 
you. 

Gregers. 
How did you manage to catch it. Lieutenant 
Ekdal } 

Ekdal. 
/ didn't catch it. There's a certain man in 
this town whom we have to thank for it. 

Gregers. 

I\Starts slightly.'] That man was not my father, 
was he } 

Ekdal. 

You've hit it. Your father and no one else. 
H'm. 

Hialmar. 

Strange that you should guess that, Gregers. 

Gregers. 
You were telling me that you owed so many 
things to my father ; and so I thought perhaps 

GiNA. 

But we didn't get the duck from Mr. Werle 

himself 

Ekdal. 
It's Hakon Werle we have to thank for her, all 



ACT II.] THE WILD DUCK. 263 

the same, Gina. [To Gregers,] He was shooting 
from a boat, you see, and he brought her down. 
But your father's sight is not very good now. 
H'm ; she was only wounded. 

Gregers. 

Ah ! She got a couple of slugs in her body, I 
suppose. 

HiALMAR. 

Yes, two or three. 

Hedvig. 
She was hit under the wing, so that she couldn't 

%• 

Gregers. 
And I suppose she dived to the bottom, eh ? 

Ekdal. 
[Sleepily, in a thick voice.] Of course. Always 
do that, wild ducks do. They shoot to the 
bottom as deep as they can get, sir — and bite 
themselves fast in the tangle and seaweed — and 
all the devil's own mess that grows down there. 
And they never come up again. 

Gregers. 

But your wild duck came up again. Lieutenant 
Ekdal. 

Ekdal. 

He had such an amazingly clever dog, your 
father had. And that dog — he dived in after the 
duck and fetched her up again. 

Gregers. 
[Who has turned to Hialmar.] And then she 
was sent to you here ? 



264 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT II. 

HiALMAR. 

Not at once ; at first your father took her 
home. But she wouldn't thrive there ; so Petter- 
sen was told to put an end to her 

Ekdal. 
[Half asleep.] H'm — yes — Pettersen — that 



HiALMAR. 

[Speaking more softly.] That was how we got 
her, you see ; for father knows Pettersen a little ; 
and when he heard about the wild duck he got 
him to hand her over to us. 

Gregers. 
And now she thrives as well as possible in the 
garret there ? 

HiALMAR. 

Yes, wonderfully well. She has got fat. You 
see, she has lived in there so long now that jhe 

Vioc ffirgr)f,^f p Vif>r natural wild |^ff^ ; flnH it ^^11 

dej2£iidajm-LLai* 

Gregers. 
You are right there, Hialmar. Be sure you 
never let her get a glimpse of the sky and the 

sea . But I mustn't stay any longer ; I think 

your father is asleep. 

HiALMAR. 

Oh, as for that 

Gregers. 
But, by-the-bye — ^you said you had a room to 
let — a spare room } 



ACT II.] THE WILD DUCK. 265 

HiALMAR. 

Yes ; what then ? Do you know of any- 
body ? 

Gregers. 
Can 1 have that room ? 

HiALMAR. 

You ? 

GiNA. 

Oh no, Mr. Werle, you 



Gregers. 
May I have the room .^ If so, I'll take possession 
first thing to-morrow morning. 

HiALMAR. 

Yes, with the greatest pleasure 



Gin A. 

But, Mr. Werle, I'm sure it's not at all the sort 
of room for you. 

HiALMAR. 

Why, Gina ! how can you say that } 

GiNA. 

Why, because the room's neither large enough 
nor light enough, and 

Gregers. 
That really doesn't matter, Mrs. Ekdal. 

HiALMAR. 

I call it quite a nice room, and not at all badly 
furnished either. 



266 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT II. 

GiNA. 

But remember the pair of them underneath. 

Gregers. 
What pair ? 

GiNA. 

Well, there's one as has been a tutor 

HiALMAR. 

That's Molvik — Mr. Molvik, B.A. 

GiNA. 

And then there's a doctor, by the name of 
Relling. 

Gregers. 

Relling ? I know him a little ; he practised for 
a time up in Hoidal. 

GiNA. 

They're a regular rackety pair, they are. As 
often as not, they're out on the loose in the even- 
ings ; and then they come home at all hours, and 
they're not always just 

Gregers. 
One soon gets used to that sort of thing. I 
daresay I shall be like the wild duck 

GiNA. 

H'm ; I think you ought to sleep upon it first, 
anyway. 

Gregers. 

You seem very unwilling to have me in the 
house, Mrs. Ekdal. 

GiNA. 

Oh no ! What makes you think that .^ 



ACT II.] THE WILD DUCK. 267 

HiALMAR. 

Well, you really behave strangely about it, Gina. 
[To Gregers.] Then I suppose you intend to 
remain in the town for the present ? 

Gregers. • 
[Putting on his overcoat.] Yes, now I intend to 
remain here. 

HiALMAR. 

'And yet not at your father's } What do you 
propose to do^ then ? 

Gregers. 
Ah, if I only knew that, Hialmar, I shouldn't 
be so badly off! But when one has the mis- 
fortune to be called Gregers — ! " Gregers " — 
and then " Werle " after it ; did you ever hear 
anything so hideous ? 

HiALMAR. 

Oh, I don't think so at all. 

Gregers. 
Ugh ! Bah ! I feel I should like to spit upon 
the fellow that answers to such a name. But 
when a man is once for all doomed to be Gregers 
— Werle in this world, as I am 

HiALMAR. 

[Laughs.] Ha ha ! If you weren't Gregers 
Werle, what would you like to be ? 

Gregers. 

If I could choose, I should like best to be a 
clever dog. 

'^'"■^'' GiNA. 

A dog ! 



268 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT II. 

Hedvig. 
[Involuntarili/.] Oh no ! 

Gregers. 
[, Yes, an amazingly clever dog ; one that goes to 
Is the bottom after wild ducks when they dive and 
Ubite themselves fast in tangle and sea-weed, down 
''among the ooze. 

HiALMAR. 

Upon my word now, Gregers — I don't in the 
least know what you're driving at. 

Gregers. 
Oh well, you might not be much the wiser if 
you did. It's understood, then, that I move in 
early to-morrow morning. [To Gina.] I won't 
give you any trouble; I do everything for myself. 
[To HiALMAR.] We can talk about the rest to- 
morrow. — Good-night, Mrs. Ekdal. [Nods to 
Hedvig.] Good-night. 

Gina. 
Good-night, Mr. Werle. 

Hedvig. 
Good-night. 

HiALMAR. 

[Who has lighted a candle.] Wait a moment ; I 
must show you a light; the stairs are sure to be dark. 
[Gregers and Hialmar go out hy the 
passage door. 

Gina. 

[Looking straight before her, with her sewing in 
her lap.] Wasn't that queer- like talk about want- 
ing to be a dog } 



act ii.] the wild duck. 269 

Hedvig. 
Do you know, mother — I believe he meant 
something quite different by that. 

GiNA. 

Why^ what should he mean? 

Hedvig. 
Oh, I don't know; but it seemed to me he 
meant something different from what he said — all 
the time. 

GiNA. 

Do you think so ? Yes, it was sort of queer. 

HiALMAR. 

[Comes back.] The lamp was still burning. [Puts 
out the candle and sets it down.] Ah, now one can 
get a mouthful of food at last. [Begins to eat the 
bread and butter.] Well, you see, Gina — if only 
you keep your eyes open 

Gina. 
How, keep your eyes open } 



HiALMAR. 

Why, haven't we at last had the luck to get the 
room let ? And just think — to a person like 
Gregers — a good old friend. 

Gina. 
Well, I don't know what to say about it. 

Hedvig. 
Oh mother, you'll see ; it'll be such fun ! 



270 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT II. 

HiALMAR. 

You're very strange You were so bent upon 
getting the room let before ; and now you don't 
like it. 

GiNA. 

Yes I do, Ekdal ; if it had only been to some 

one else But what do you suppose Mr. 

Werle will say ? 

HiALMAR. 

Old Werle ? It doesn't concern him. 

GiNA. 

But surely you can see that there's something 
amiss between them again, or the young man 
wouldn't be leaving home. You know very well 
those two can't get on with each other. 

HiALMAR. 

Very likely not, but 

GiNA. 

And now Mr. Werle may fancy it's you that 
has egged him on 

HiALMAR. 

Let him fancy so, then ! Mr. Werle has done 
a great deal for me ; far be it from me to deny it. 
But that doesn't make me everlastingly dependent 
upon him. 

GiNA. 

But, my dear Ekdal, maybe grandfather '11 
suffer for it. He may loose the little bit of work 
he gets from Graberg, 

HiALMAR. 

I could almost say : so much the better ! Is it 



I.] THE WILD DUCK. 27l 



not liumiliatiijg for a man like me to see his grey- 
haired father treated as a pariah ? But now I 
believe the fulness of time is at hand. [J'akes a 
fresh piece of bread and butter.^ As sure as I have 
a mission in life, I mean to fulfil it now ! 

Hedvig. 
Oh yes, father, do ! 

GiNA. 

Hush ! Don't wake him ! 

HlALMAR. 

[More softly.] I will fulfil it, I say. The day 

shall come when And that is why I say it's 

a good thing we have let the room ; for that 
makes me more independent. The man who has 
a mission in life must be independent. [Bi/ the 
arm-chair, with emotion.] Poor old white-haired 
father! Rely on your Hialmar. He has broad 
shoulders — strong shoulders, at any rate. You 

shall yet wake up some fine day and . [To 

GiNA.] Do you not believe it .'* 

GiNA. 

[Rmng.] Yes, of course I do ; but in the mean- 
time suppose we see about getting him to bed. . 

Hialmar. 
Yes, come. 

[Theif take hold of the old man carefully. 



ACT THIRD. 

HiALMAR Ekdal's studio. It is morning : the daylight 
shines through the large windorv in the slanting 
roof ; the curtain is drawn back. 

Hialmar is sitting at the table, busy retouching a 
photograph ; several others lie before him. Pre- 
sently GiNA, wearing her hat and cloak, enters by 
the passage door ; she has a covered basket on her 
arm. 

Hialmar. 
Back already, Gina ? 

GiNA. 

Oh yes, one can't let the grass grow under one's 
feet. 

[Sets her basket on a chair , and takes off her 
things. 

Hialmar. 
Did you look in at Gregers"* room ? 

Gina. 
Yes, that I did. It's a rare sight, I can tell you ; 
he's made a pretty mess to start off with. 

Hialmar. 
How so ? 

Gina. 
He was determined to do everything for himself, 
he said ; so he sets to work to light the stove, and 



ACT III.] THE WILD DUCK. Hi 3 



what must he do but screw down the damper till 
the whole room is full of smoke. Ugh ! There 
was a smell fit to 

HiALMAR. 

Well, really! 

GiNA. 

But that's not the worst of it; for then he thinks 
he'll put out the fire, and goes and empties his 
water-jug into the stove, and so makes the whole 
floor one filthy puddle. 

HiALMAR. 

How annoying ! 

Gin A. 

I've got the porter's wife to clear up after him, 
pig that he is ! But the room won't be fit to 
live in till the afternoon. 

HiALMAR. 

What's he doing with himself in the meantime? 

GiNA. 

He said he was going out for a little while. 

HiALMAR. 

I looked in upon him too, for a moment — after 
you had gone. 

GiNA. 

So I heard. You've asked him to lunch. 

HiALMAR. 

Just to a little bit of early lunch, you know. It's 
his first day — we can hardly do less. You've got 
something in the house, 1 suppose ? 



274 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT III. 

GiNA. 

I shali have to find something or other. 

HiALMAR. 

And don't out it too fine, for I fancy Relling 
and Molvik are coming up too. I just happened 
to meet Relhng on the stairs, you see ; so I had 
to 

GiNA. 

Oh, are we to have those two as well ? 

HiALMAR. 

Good Lord — a couple more or less can't make 
any difference. 

Old Ekdal. 

[Opens his door and looks in.\ I say, Hialmar 

[^ee^GiNA.] ^Oh! 

GiNA. 

Do you want anything, grandfather } 

Ekdal. 
Oh no, it doesn't matter. H'm ! 

[Retires again. 

GiNA. 

[Takes up the basket.^ Be sure you see that he 
doesn't go out. 

HiALMAR. 

All right, all right. And, Gina, a little herring- 
salad wouldn't be a bad idea ; RelHng and Molvik 
were out on the loose again last night. 

GiNA. 

If only they don't come before I'm ready for 
them 



ACT III.] THE WILD DUCK. 275 

HiALMAR. 

Noj of course they won't ; take your own time. 

GiNA. 

Very well ; and meanwhile you can be working 
a bit. 

HiALMAR. 

Well, I am working ! I am working as hard as 
I can! 

GiNA. 

Then you'll have that job off your hands, you see. 

[She goes out to the kitchen with her basket, 
HiALMAR sits for a time pencilling away at 
the photograph, in an imloleiit and listless 
manner. 

Ekdal. 
[Peeps in, looks round the studio, and says softly :] 
Are you busy .'' 

HiALMAR. 

Yes I'm toiling at these wretched pictures 

Ekdal. 
Well well, never mind, — since you're so busy — 
h'm ! \He goes out again ; the door stands open. 

HiALMAR. 

[Continues for some time in silence ; then he lays 
down his brush and goes over to the door.] Are you 
busy, father ? 

Ekdal. 

[In a grumbling tone, within.] If you're busy, I'm 
busy too. H'm ! 

HiALMAR. 

Oh, very well, then. [Goes to his work again. 



276 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT III. 

Ekdal. 
[Presentli/f coming to the door again. ^ H'm ; I say, 
Hialmar, I'm not so very busy, you know. 

HiALMAR. 

I thought you were writing. 

Ekdal. 
Oh, devil take it ! can't Graberg wait a day or 
two .^ After all, it's not a matter of life and death 

HiALMAR. 

No ; and you're not his slave either. 

Ekdal, 
And about that other business in there 



HiALMAR. 

Just what I was thinking of. Do you want to go 
in. Shall I open the door for you } 

Ekdal. 
Well, it wouldn't be a bad notion. 

HiALMAR. 

[i2we*.] Then we'd have that off our hands. 

Ekdal, 
Yes, exactly. It's got to be ready first thing to- 
morrow. It is to-morrow, isn't it.^ H'm .^ 

HiALMAR. 

Yes, of course it's to-morrow. 

[HiALMAR and Ekdal push aside each his 



ACT III.] THE WILD DUCK. 277 

half of the sliding door. The morning sun 
is shining in through the skylights ; some 
doves are flying about ; others sit cooing^ 
upon the perches; the hens are heard 
clucking now and then, further back in the 
garret. 

HiALMAR. 

There ; now you can get to work, father. 

Ekdal. 
\Goes in,'\ Aren't you coming too ^ 

HiALMAR. 

Well really, do you know ; I almost think 

[Sees GiNA at the kitchen door."] I ? No ; I 



haven't time ; I must work. — But now for our new 

contrivance 

\He pulls a cord, a curtain slips dorvn inside, 
the lower part consisting of a piece of old 
sailcloth, the upper part of a stretched 
fishing net. The floor of the garret is 
thus no longer visible. 

HiALMAR. 

[Goes to the table."] So ! Now, perhaps I can sit 
in peace for a little while. 



GiNA. 

Is he rampaging in there again ? 



HiALMAR. 

Would you rather have had him slip down to 
Madam Eriksen's. [Seats himself ] Do you want 
anything ? You know you said 



278 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT III. 

GiNA. 

I only wanted to ask if you think we can lay the 
table for lunch here ? 

HiALMAR. 

Yes ; we have no early appointment, I suppose ? 

GiNA. 

No, 1 expect no one to day except those two 
sweethearts that are to be taken together. 

HiALMAR. 

Why the deuce couldn't they be taken together 
another day ! 

Gin A. 

Don't you know, I told them to come in the 
afternoon, when you are having your nap. 

HiALMAR. 

Oh, that's capital. Very well, let us have lunch 
here then. 

GiNA. 

All right ; but there's no hurry about laying the 
cloth ; you can have the table for a good while 
yet. 

HiALMAR. 

Do you think I am not sticking at my work ? 
I'm at it as hard as I can ! 

GiNA. 

Then you'll be free later on, you know. 

[Goes out into the kitchen again. Short 
pause. 

Ekdal. 
[In the garret doorway, behind the net] Hialmar ! 



ACT III.] THE WILD DUCK. 279 

HiALMAR. 

Well ? 

Ekdal. 

Afraid we shall have to move the water-trough, 
after all. 

Hialmar. 
What else have I been saying all along ? 

Ekdal. 
H'm — h*m — h'm. 

!Goes away from the door again. 
Hialmar goes on working a little ; glances 
towards the garret and half rises. Hedvig 
comes in from the kitchen. 

Hialmar. 
[Sits down again hurriedly.^ What do you want ? 

Hedvig. 
I only wanted to come in beside you, father. 

Hialmar. 
[After a pause.] What makes you go prying 
Around like that ? Perhaps you are told off to 
watch me ? 

Hedvig. 
No, no. 

Hialmar. 
What is your mother doing out there .'* 

Hedvig. 
Oh, mother's in the middle of making the her- 
ring-salad. [Goes to the table.'] Isn't there any 
little thing I could help you with, father ^ 



280 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT III. 

HiALMAR. 

Oh no. It is right that I should bear the whole 
burden — so long as my strength holds out. Set 
your mind at rest, Hedvig ; if only your father 
keeps his health 

Hedvig. 
Oh no, father ! You mustn't talk in that horrid 
way. 

[She wa?iders about a little, stops hy the door- 
way and looks into the garret. 

HiALMAR. 

Tell me, what is he doing } 

Hedvig. 
I think he's making a new path to the water- 
trough. 

HiALMAR. 

He can never manage that by himself! And 
here am I doomed to sit ! 

Hedvig. 
[Goes to himJ] Let me take the brush, father; 
I can do it, quite well. 

HiALMAR. 

Oh nonsense ; you will only hurt your eyes. 

Hedvig. 
Not a bit. Give me the brush. 

HiALMAR. 

[Rising.^ Well, it won't take more than a minute 
or two. 



act hi.] the wild duck. 281 

Hedvig. 
Pooh, what harm can it do then. ^ [Takes the 
brush.] There ! [Seats herself.] I can begin 
upon this one. 

HiALMAR. 

But mind you don't hurt your eyes ! Do you 
hear ? / won't be answerable ; you do it on your 
own responsibility — understand that. 

Hedvio. 
[Retouching.] Yes yes, I understand. 

HiALMAR. 

You are quite clever at it, Hedvig. Only a 
minute or two, you know. 

[He slips through by the edge of the curtain 
into the garret. Hedvig sits at her work. 
HiALMAR and Ekdal are heard disputing 
iu^ide. 

HiALMAR. 

[Appears behind the net.] I say, Hedvig — give 
me those pincers that are lying on the shelf. And 
the chisel. [Turns away inside.^ Now you 
shall see, father. Just let me show you first what 
I mean ! 

[Hedvig has fetched the required tools from 
the shelf and hands them to him through 
the net. 

HiALMAR. 

Ah, thanks. I didn't come a moment too soon. 

[Goes back from the curtain again ; they are 
heard carpentering and talking inside. 
Hedvig stands looking in at them. A 
moment later there is a knock at the passage 
door : she does not notice it. 



282 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT III. 

Gregers Werle. 
[Bareheaded, in indoor dress, enters and stops near 

the door.] H'm •! 

Hedvig. 
[Turns and goes towards him.] Good morning. 
Please come in. 

Gregers. 

Thank you. [Looking towards the garret.] You 
seem to have workpeople in the house. 

Hedvig. 
Noj it is only father and grandfather. I'll tell 
them you are here. 

Gregers. 
No no, don't do that ; I would rather wait a 
little. [Seats himself on the sofa. 

Hedvig. 

It looks so untidy here 

[Begitis to clear away the photographs. 

Gregers. 
Oh, don't take them away. Are those prints 
that have to be finished off .^ 

Hedvig. 
Yes, they are a few I was helping father with. 

Gregers. 
Please don't let me disturb you. 

Hedvig. 
Oh no. 

[She gathers the things to her and sits down to 
work; Gregers looks at her, meanwhile, 
in silence. 



act iii.] the wild duck. 283 

Gregers. 
Did the wild duck sleep well last night ? 

Hedvig. 
Yes, I think so, thanks. 

Gregers. 
[Turning towards the garret J] It looks quite 
different by day from what it did last night in the 
moonlight. 

Hedvig. 
Yes, it changes ever so much. It looks different 
in the morning and in the afternoon ; and it's 
different on rainy days from what it is in fine 
weather. 

Gregers. 
Have you noticed that ? 

Hedvig. 
Yes, how could I help it ? 

Gregers. 
Are you,, too, fond of being in there with the 
wild duck ? 

Hedvig. 
Yes, when I can manage it 

Gregers. 
But I suppose you haven't much spare time ; you 
go to school, no doubt. 

Hedvig. 
No, not now ; father is afraid of my hurting my 
eyes. 

Gregers. 

Oh ; then he reads with you himself.? 



284 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT III. 

Hedvig. 
Father has promised to read with me ; but he 
has never had time yet. 

Gregers. 
Then is there nobody else to give you a little 
help ? 

Hedvig. 
Yes, there is Mr. Molvik ; but he is not always 
exactly — quite 

Gregers. 
Sober } 

Hedvig. 
Yes, I suppose that's it ! 

Gregers. 
Why, then you must have any amount of time 
on your hands. And in there I suppose it is a 
sort of world by itself.? 

Hedvig. 
Oh yes, quite. And there are such lots of 
wonderful things. 

Gregers. 
Indeed ? 

Hedvig. 
Yes, there are big cupboards full of books ; and 
a great many of the books have pictures in them. 

Gregers. 
Aha! 

Hedvig. 

And there's an old bureau with drawers and 



ACT III.] THE WILD DUCK. 285 

flaps, and a big clock with figures that go out and 
in. But the clock isn't going now. 

Gregers. 
So time has come to a standstill in there — in the 
wild duck's domain. 

Hedvig. 
Yes. And then there's an old paint-box and 
things of that sort ; and all the books. 

Gregers. 
And you read the books, I suppose ? 

Hedvig. 
Oh yes, when I get the chance. Most of them 
are English though, and I don't understand 
English. But then I look at the pictures. — There 
is one great big book called " Harrison's History 
of London." ^ It must be a hundred years old ; 
and there are such heaps of pictures in it. At the 
beginning there is Death with an hour-glass and 
a woman. I think that is horrid. But then there 
are all the other pictures of churches, and castles, 
and streets, and great ships sailing on the sea. 

Gregers. 
But tell me, where did all those wonderful things 
come from } 

Hedvig. 

Oh, an old sea captain once lived here, and he 
brought them home with him. They used to call 
him '^ The Flying Dutchman." That was curious, 
because he wasn't a Dutchman at all. 

1 A New and Universal History of the Cities of London and 
Westminster, by Walter Harrison. London, 1775, folio. 



286 THE WILD DUGK. [aCT III. 

Gregers. 
Was he not ? 

Hedvig. 
No. But at last he was drowned at sea ; and 
so he left all those things behind him. 

Gregers. 
Tell me now — when you are sitting in there look- 
ing at the pictures, don't you wish you could travel 
and see the real world for yourself .'' 

Hedvig. 
Oh no ! I mean always to stay at home and 
help father and mother. 

Gregers. 
To retouch photographs ? 

Hedvig. 
No, not only that. I should love above every- 
thing to learn to engrave pictures like those in the 
English books. 

Gregers. 
H'ra. What does your father say to that ? 

Hedvig. 
I don't think father likes it ; father is strange 
about such things. Only think, he talks of my 
learning basket-making, and straw-plaiting ! But 
I don't think that would be much good. 

Gregers 
Oh no, I don't think so either. 

Hedvig. 
But father was right in saying that if I had 



XT III.] THE WILD DUCK. 287 



learnt basket-making I could have made the new 
basket for the wild duck. 

Gregers. 
So you could ; and it was you that ought to 
have done it, wasn't it ? 

Hedvig. 
Yes, for it's my wild duck. 

Gregers. 
Of course it is. 

Hedvig. 
Yes, it belongs to me. But I lend it to father 
and grandfather as often as they please. 

Gregers. 
Indeed ? What do they do with it } 

Hedvig. 
Oh, they look after it, and build places for it, 
and so on. 

Gregers. 
I see ; for no doubt the wild duck is by far the 
most distinguished inhabitant of the garret ? 

Hedvig. 
Yes, indeed she is ; for she is a real wild fowl, 
you know. And then she is so much to be pitied ; 
she has no one to care for, poor thing. 

Gregers. 
She has no family, as the rabbits have 

Hedvig. 
No. The hens too, many of them, were 



288 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT III. 

chickens together ; but she has been taken right 
away from all her friends. And then there is so 
much that is strange about the wild duck. No- 
body knows her, and nobody knows where she 
came from either. 

Gregers. 
And she has been down in the depths of the 



Hedvig. 
[ With a quick glance at hirUf represses a smile and 
asks ;] Why do you say " the depths of the 
sea " } 

Gregers. 
What else should I say } 

Hedvig. 
You could say " the bottom of the sea." * 

Gregers 
Oh, mayn't I just as well say the depths of the 
sea? 

Hedvig. 
Yes ; but it sounds so strange to me when 
other people speak of the depths of the sea. 

Gregers. 
Why so ? Tell me why ? 

Hedvig. 
No, I won't ; it's so stupid. 

1 Gregers here uses the old-fashioned expression "havsens 
bund," while Hedvig would have him use the more common- 
place " havets bund " or " havbunden." 



ACT III.] THE WILD DUCK. 289 

Gregers. 
Oh no, I am sure it's not. Do tell me why you 
smiled. 

Hedvig. 
Well, this is the reason : whenever I come to 
realise suddenly — in a flash — what is in there, it 
always seems to me that the whole room and 
everything in it should be called " the depths of 
the sea." — But that is so stupid. 

Gregers. 
You mustn't say that. 

• Hedvig. 

Oh yes, for you know it is only a garret. 

Gregers. 
[Looks Jixedly at her.] Are you so sure of that ? 

Hedvig. 

[Astonished.] That it's a garret ? 

Gregers. 
Are you quite certain of it } 

[Hedvig is silent, and looks at him open- 
mouthed. GiNA comes in from the 
kitchen with the table things 

Gregers. 
[Rising.] I have come in upon you too early. 

GiNA. 

Oh, you must be somewhere ; and we're nearly 
ready now, any way. Clear the table, Hedvig. 

[Hedvig clears awai) her things; she and 



290 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT III. 



GiNA lay the cloth during what follows. 
Gregers seats himself in the arm-chair, 
and turns over an album. 

Gregers. 
I hear you can retouch, Mrs. Ekdal. 

GiNA. 

[With a side glance J\ Yes, I can. 

Gregers. 
That was exceedingly lucky. 

GiNA. • 

How — lucky ? 

Gregers. 
Since Ekdal took to photography, I mean. 

Hedvig. 
Mother can take photographs too. 

GiNA. 

Oh, yes ; I was bound to learn that, 

Gregers. 

So it is really you that carry on the business^ I 
suppose } 

GiNA. 

Yes, when Ekdal hasn't time himself 



Gregers. 

He is a great deal taken up with his old father, 
I daresay. 

GiNA. 

Yes ; and then you can't expect a man iike 



ACT III.] THE WILD DUCK. 291 

Ekdal to do nothing but take car-de-visits of 
Dick J Toil and Harry. 

Gregers. 
I quite agree with you ; but having once gone 
in for the thing 

GiNA. 

You can surely understand, Mr. Werle, that 
Ekdal's not Hke one of your common photo- 
graphers. 

Gregers. 

Of course not ; but still 

[A shot isjired within the garret, 

Gregers. 
\Starting up.] What's that } 

GiNA. 

Ugh .' now they're firing again ! 

Gregers. 
Have they firearms in there .'* 

Hedvig. 
They are out shooting. 

Gregers. 
What ! [At the door of the garret.] Are you 
shooting, Hialmar ? 

HiALMAR. 

[Inside the net.] Are you there .'* I didn't 

know ; I was so taken up^ [To Hedvig.] 

Why did you not let us know } 

[Comes into the studio. 



292 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT III. 

Gregers. 
Do you go shooting in the garret ? 

HiALMAR. 

[Showing a double-barrelled pistol.] Oh, only 
with this thing. 

GiNA. 

Yes, you and grandfather will do yourselves a 
mischief some day with that there pigstol. 

HiALMAR. 

[With irritation.] I believe I have told you that 
this kind of firearm is called a pistol. 

GiNA. 

Oh, that doesn't make it much better, that I 
can see. 

Gregers. 
So you have become a sportsman too, Hialmar. 

HiALMAR. 

Only a little rabbit-shooting now and then. 
Mostly to please father, you understand. 

GiNA. 

Men are strange beings; they must always 
have something to pervert theirselves with. 

HiALMAR. 

[Snappish li^.] Just so; we must always have 
something to divert ourselves with. 

GiNA. 

Yes, that's just what I say. 



ACT III.] THE WILD DUCK. 293 

HiALMAR. 

H'm. [To Gregers.] You see the garret is 
fortunately so situated that no one can hear us 
shooting. [Lai/s the pistol on the top shelf of the book- 
case.^ Don't touch the pistol, Hedvig I One of 
the barrels is loaded ; remember that. 

Gregers. 
[Looking through the net.'] You have a fowling- 
piece too, I see. 

Hialmar. 
That is father's old gun. It's of no use now ; 
something has gone wrong with the lock. But it's 
fun to have it all the same ; for we can take it to 
pieces now and then, and clean and grease it, and 
screw it together again. — Of course, it's mostly 
father that fiddle-faddles with all that sort of 
thing. 

Hedvig. 

[Beside Gregers.] Now you can see the wild 
duck properly. 

Gregers. 
I was just looking at her. One of her wings 
seems to me to droop a bit. 

Hedvig. 
Well, no wonder; her wing was broken, you 
know. 

Gregers. 
And she trails one foot a little. Isn't that so } 

Hialmar. 
Perhaps a very little bit. 



294 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT III. 

Hedvig. 

Yes, it was by that foot the dog took hold of 
her. 

HiALMAR. 

But otherwise she hasn't the least thing the 
matter with her ; and that is simply marvellous 
for a creature that has a charge of shot in her 
body, and has been between a dog's teeth 

Gregers. 

[ With a glance at Hedvig] and that has lain 

in the depths of the sea — so long. 

Hedvig. 
[Smiling.^ Yes. 

GiNA. 

[Lat/ing the table.] That blessed wild duck .' 
What a lot of fuss you do make over her. 

HiALMAR 

H'm ; — will lunch soon be ready ? 

GiNA. 

Yes, directly. Hedvig, you must come and 
help me now. 

[GiNA and Hedvig go out into the kitchen. 

HiALMAR. 

[In a low voice.] I think you had better not 
stand there looking in at father ; he doesn't like 
it. [Gregers moves away from the garret door.] 
Besides I may as well shut up before the others 
come. [Claps his hands to drive the fowls hack.] 
Shh — shh, in with you ! [Draws up the curtain 
and pulls the doors together.] All the contri- 



ACT III.] THE WILD DUCK. 295 

vances are my own invention. It's really quite 
amusing to have things of this sort to potter with, 
and to put to rights when they get out of order. 
And it's absolutely necessary, too ; for Gina 
objects to having rabbits and fowls in the studio. 

Gregers. 
To be sure ; and I suppose the studio is your 
wife's special department ? 

HiALMAR. 

As a rule, I leave the everyday details of busi- 
ness to her ; for then I can take refuge in the 
parlour and give my mind to more important 
things. 

Gregers. 

What things may they be, Hialmar.^ 

HiALMAR. 

I wonder you have not asked that question 
sooner. But perhaps you haven't heard of the 
invention ? 

Gregers. 

The invention .^ No. 

HiALMAR. 

Really ? Have you not ? Oh no, out there in 

the wilds 

Gregers. 
So you have invented something, have you } 

HiALMAR. 

It is not quite completed yet ; but I am working 
at it. You can easily imagine that when I resolved 
to devote myself to photography, it wasn't simply 



296 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT III. 

with the idea of taking likenesses ot all sorts ot 
commonplace people. 

Gregers. 
No ; your wife was saying the same thing just 
now. 

HiALMAR. 

I swore that if I consecrated my powers to this 
handicraft, I would so exalt it that it should 
become both an art and a science. And to that 
end I determined to make this great invention 

Gregers. 
And what is the nature of the invention.^ 
What purpose does it serve ? 

Hialmar. 
Oh, my dear fellow, you mustn't ask for details 
yet. It takes, time, you see. And you must not 
think that my motive is vanity. Ft is not for my 
own sake that I am working. Oh no ; it is my 
life's mission that stands before me night and day. 

Gregers. 
What is your life's mission ? 

Hialmar. 
Do you forget the old man with the silver hair } 

Gregers. 
Your poor father } Well, but what can you do 
for him ? 

Hialmar. 
I can raise up his self-respect from the dead, by 
restoring the name of Ekdal to honour and dignity. 



act iii.] the wild duck. 297 

Gregers. 
Then that is your life's mission ? 

HiALMAR. 

Yes. I will rescue the shipwrecked man. For 
shipwrecked he was, by the very first blast of the 
storm. Even while those terrible investigations 
were going on, he was no longer himself. That 
pistol there — the one we use to shoot rabbits with 
— has played its part in the tragedy of the house 
of Ekdal. 

Gregers. 

The pistol ? Indeed } 

HiALMAR. 

When the sentence of imprisonment was passed 
— he had the pistol in his hand 

Gregers. 
Had he ? 

HiALMAR. 

Yes ; but he dared not use it. His courage 
failed him. So broken, so demoralised was he 
even then ! Oh, can you understand it ? He, a 
soldier ; he, who had shot nine bears, and who 
was descended from two lieutenant-colonels — 
one after the other of course. Can you understand 
it, Gregers ? 

Gregers. 

Yes, I understand it well enough. 

HiALMAR. 

I cannot. And once more the pistol played a 
part in the history of our house. When he had 
put on the grey clothes and was under lock and 



298 THE WILD DUCK. [acT III. 

key — oh, that was a terrible time for me, I can 
tell you. 1 kept the blinds drawn down over both 
my windows. When I peeped out, I saw the sun 
shining as if nothing had happened. I could not 
understand it. I saw people going along the 
street, laughing and talking about indifferent 
things. I could not understand it. It seemed to 
me that the whole of existence must be at a 
standstill — as if under an eclipse. 

Gregers. 
I felt like that too, when my mother died. 

HiALMAR. 

It was in such an hour that Hialmar Ekdal 
pointed the pistol at his own breast. 

Gregers. 
You too thought of ! 

HiALMAR. 

Yes. 

Gregers. 
But you did not fire ? 

HiALMAR. 

No. At the decisive moment I won the victory 
over myself. I remained in life. But I can assure 
you it takes some courage to choose life under 
circumstances like those. 

Gregers. 
Well, that depends on how you look at it. 

HiALMAR. 

Yes, indeed, it takes courage. But I am glad I 



ACT III.] THE WILD DUCK. 299 

was firm : for now I shall soon perfect my inven- 
tion ; and Dr. Relling thinks, as I do myself, that 
father may be allowed to wear his uniform again. 
I will demand that as my sole reward. 

Gregers. 
So that is what he meant about his uni- 
form ? 

HiALMAR. 

Yes, that is what he most yearns for. You can't 
think how my heart bleeds for him. Every time 
we celebrate any little family festival — Gina's and 
my wedding day, or whatever it may be — in comes 
the old man in the lieutenant's uniform of happier 
days. But if he only hears a knock at the door 
— for he daren't show himself to strangers, you 
know — he hurries back to his room again as fast 
as his old legs can carry him. Oh, it's heart- 
rending for a son to see such things ! 

Gregers. 
How long do you think it will take you to 
finish your invention if 

HiALMAR. 

Come now, you mustn't expect me to enter into 
particulars like that. An invention is not a 
thing completely under one's own control. It 
depends largely on inspiration — on intuition — and 
it is almost impossible to predict when the inspira- 
tion may come. 

Gregers. 

But it's advancing ? 

HiALMAR. 

Yes, certainly, it is advancing. I turn it over in 



300 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT III. 

my mind every day ; I am full of it. Every after- 
noon, when I have had my dinner, I shut myself 
up in the parlour, where I can ponder undisturbed. 
But I can't be goaded to it ; it's not a bit of good ; 
Relling says so too. 

Gregers. 
And you don't think that all that business in 
the garret draws you off and distracts you too 
much ? 

HiALMAR. 

No no no ; quite the contrary. You mustn't 
say that. I cannot be everlastingly absorbed in 
the same laborious train of thought. I must have 
something alongside of it to fill up the time of 
waiting. The inspiration, the intuition, you see — 
when it comes, it comes, and there's an end of it. 

Gregers. 
My dear Hialmar, I almost think you have some- 
thing of the wild duck in you. 

Hialmar. 
Something of the wild duck ? How do you 
mean ? 

Gregers. 
You have dived down and bitten yourself fast in 
the undergrowth. 

Hialmar. 
Are you alluding to the well-nigh fatal shot that 
has broken my father's wing — and mine too .'' 

Gregers. 
Not exactly to that. I don't say that your wing 
has been broken ; but you have strayed into a 



ACT III.] THE WILD DUCK. 301 

poisonous marsh, Hialmar ; an insidious disease has 
taken hold of you, and you have sunk down to die 
in the dark. 

Hialmar. 
I .'' To die in the dark ? Look here, Gregers, 
you must really leave off talking such nonsense. 

Gregers. 
f Don't be afraid ; I shall find a way to help you 
I up again. I too have a mission in life now ; I 
\ found it yesterday. 

Hialmar. 
That's all very well ; but you will please leave 
me out of it. I can assure you that — apart from 
my very natural melancholy, of course — I am as 
contented as any one can wish to be. 

Gregers. 
Your contentment is an effect of the marsh 
£oison. 

Hialmar. 
Now, my dear Gregers, pray do not go on about 
disease and poison ; I am not used to that sort 
of talk. In my house nobody ever speaks to me 
about unpleasant things. 

Gregers. 
Ah, that I can easily believe. 

Hialmar. 
It's not good for me you see. And there are 
no marsh poisons here, as you express it. The poor 
photographer's roof is lowly, I know — and my cir- 
cumstances are narrow. But I am an inventor, 
and I am the breadwinner of a family. That exalts 



302 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT III. 

me above my mean surroundings. — Ah, here comes 
lunch ! 

GiNA and Hedvig bring bottles of ale, a decanter oj 
brand}!, glasses, etc. At the same time, Relling 
and MoLViK enter from the passage ; they are 
both without hat or overcoat. Molvik is dressed 
in black. 

GiNA. 

[Placing the things upon the table. '\ Ah, you two 
have come in the nick of time. 

Relling. 

Molvik got it into his head that he could smell 
herring-saladj and then there was no holding him. 
— Good morning again, Ekdal. 

HiALMAR. 

Gregers, let me introduce you to Mr. Molvik. 
Doctor Oh, you know Relling, don't you .'' 

Gregers. 
Yes, slightly. 

Relling. 
Oh, Mr. Werle, junior ! Yes, we two have had 
one or two little skirmishes up at the Hoidal 
works. You've just moved in.'* 

Gregers. 
I moved in this morning. 

Relling. 
Molvik and I live right under you; so you haven't 
far to go for the doctor and the clergyman, if you 
should need anything in that line. 



.CT III.] THE WILD DUCK. 303 



Gregers. 
Thanks, it's not quite unlikely ; for yesterday we 
were thirteen at table. 

HiALMAR. 

Oh, come now, don't let us get upon unpleasant 
subjects again ! 

Relling. 

You may make your mind easy, Ekdal ; I'll be 
hanged if the finger of fate points to you. 

HiALMAR. 

I should hope not, for the sake of my family. 
But let us sit down now, and eat and drink and be 
merry. 

Gregers. 

Shall we not wait for your father ? 

HiALMAR. 

No, his lunch will be taken in to him later. 
Come along ! 

[The men seat themselves at table, and eat 
and drink. Gin a and Hedvig go in and 
out and wait upon them. 

Relling. 

Molvik was frightfully screwed yesterday, Mrs. 
Ekdal. 

Gina. 
Really } Yesterday again } 

Relling. 
Didn't you hear him when I brought him home 
last night. 



304 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT III. 

GiNA. 

No, I can't say I did. 

Relling. 
That was a good thing, for Molvik was disgust- 
ing last night. 

GiNA. 

Is that true, Molvik ? 

MOLVIK. 

Let us draw a veil over last night's proceedings. 
That sort of thing is totally foreign to my better 
self. 

Relling. 

[To Gregers.] It comes over him like a sort of 
possession, and then I have to go out on the loose 
with him. Mr. Molvik is daemonic, you see. 

Gregers. 
Daemonic ? 

Relling. 

Molvik is daemonic, yes. 

Gregers. 
H'm. 

Relling. 
And daemonic natures are not made to walk 
straight through the world ; they must meander 
a little now and then. — Well, so you still stick up 
there at those horrible grimy works ? 

Gregers. 
I have stuck there until now. 

Relling. 
And did you ever manage to collect that claim 
you went about presenting ? 



act iii.] the wild duck. 305 

Gregers. 
Claim.'* [Understands himJ\ Ah, I see. 

HiALMAR. 

Have you been presenting claims, Gregei s } 

Gregers 
Oh, nonsense. 

Relling. 
Faith, but he has, though ! He went round to 
all the cottars' cabins presenting something he 
called " the claim of the ideal." 

Gregers. 
I was young then. 

Relling. 
You're right; you were very young. And as 
for the claim of the ideal — you never got it 
honoured while / was up there. 

Gregers. 
Nor since either. 

Relling. 
Ah, then you've learnt to knock a little discount 
off, I expect. 

Gregers. 
Never, when I have a true man to deal with. 

Hialmar. 

No, I should think not, indeed. A little butter, 
Gina. 

Relling. 
And a slice of bacon for Molvik. 

MOLVIK. 

Ugh * not bacon ! [A knock at the garret door. 



306 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT III. 

HiALMAR. 

Open the door, Hedvig ; father wants to come 
out. 

[Hedvig goes over and opens the door a 
little way ; Ekdal enters with a fresh 
rahbit'skin ; she closes the door after him. 

Ekdal. 
Good morning, gentlemen I Good sport to-day. 
Shot a big one. 

HiALMAR. 

And you've gone and skinned it without waiting 

for m e I 

Ekdal. 

Salted it too. It's good tender meat, is rabbit ; 
it's sweet ; it tastes like sugar. Good appetite 
to you, gentlemen ! [Goes into his room. 

MOLVIK. 

[Rising.'] Excuse me— — ; I can't ; I must 

get downstairs immediately 

Relling. 
Drink some soda water, man I 

MOLVIK. 

[Hurrying away.] Ugh — ugh ! 

[Goes Old by the passage door. 

Relling. 
[To HiALMAR.] Let us drain a glass to the old 
hunter, 

HiALMAR. 

[Clinks glasses with him.] To the undaunted 
sportsman who has looked death in the face ! 



ACT III.] THE WILD DUCK. 307 



Relling. 

To the grey-haired [Dri?iks.] By-the-bye, 

is his hair grey or white ? 

HiALMAR. 

Something between the two, I fancy ; for that 
matter, he has very few hairs left of any colour. 

Relling. 
Well well, one can get through the world with 
a wig, After all, you are a happy man, Ekdal ; 
you have your noble mission to labour for 

HiALMAR. 

And I do labour, I can tell you. 

Relling. 
And then you have your excellent wife, shuffling 
quietly in and out in her felt slippers, with that 
see-saw walk of hers, and making everj^thing cosy 
and comfortable about you. 

HiALMAR. 

Yes, Gina — [Nods to her] — you are a good help- 
mate on the path of life. 

Gina. 
Oh, don't sit there cricketizing me 

Relling. 
And your Hedvig too, Ekdal ! 

HiALMAR. 

[Ajffecied.] The child, yes ! The child before 
everything ! Hedvig, come here to me. [SiroJces 
her hair.] What day is it to-morrow, eh } 



308 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT III. 

Hedvig. 
[Shakifig him.] Oh no, you're not to say any- 
thing, father 

HiALMAR. 

It cuts me to the heart when I think what a 
poor affair it will be ; only a little festivity in the 

garret 

Hedvig. 

Oh, but that's just what I like ! 

Relling. 
Just you wait till the wonderful invention sees 
the light, Hedvig ! 

HiALMAR. 

Yes indeed — then you shall see ! Hedvig, 

I have resolved to make your future secure. You 
shall live in comfort all your days. I will demand 
— something or other — on your behalf. That 
shall be the poor inventor's sole reward. 

Hedvig. 
[ Whispering, with her arms round his neck.] Oh 
you dear, kind father ! 

Relling. 
[To Gregers.] Come now, don't you find it 
pleasant, for once in a way, to sit at a well-spread 
table in a happy family circle ? 

HiALMAR. 

Ah yes, I really prize these social hours. 

Gregers. 
For my part, I don't thrive in marsh vapours. 



ACT III.] THE WILD DUCK. 309 



Relling. 
Marsh vapours ? 

HiALMAR. 

Oh, don't begin with that stuff again I 

GiNA. 

Goodness knows there's no vapours in this 
house, Mr. Werle ; I give the place a good airing 
every blessed day. 

Gregers. 
[^Leaves the table.] No airing you can give will 
drive out the taint I mean. 

HiALMAR. 

Taint ! 

GiNA. 

Yes, what do you say to that, Ekdal ! 

Relling. 
Excuse me — may it not be you yourself that 
have brought the taint from those mines up 
there } 

Gregers. 
It is like you to call what I bring into this 
house a taint. 

Relling. 
[Goes up to him.] Look here, Mr Werle, junior : 
I have a strong suspicion that you are still carry- 
ing about that " claim of the ideal " large as life, 
in your coat-tail pocket. 

Gregers. 
I carry it in my breast 



310 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT III. 

Relling. 
Well, wherever you carry it^ I advise you not to 
come dunning us with it here, so long as / am on 
the premises. 

Gregers. 
And if I do so none the less ? 

Relling. 

Then you'll go head foremost down the stairs ; 
now I've warned you. 

HiALMAR. 

[Rising.] Oh, but Relling ! 

Gregers. 
Yes, you may turn me out 

GiNA. 

[Interposing between them.] We can't have that, 
Relling. But I must say, Mr. Werle, it ill 
becomes you to talk about vapours and taints, 
after all the mess you made with your stove. 

\A knock at the passage door. 

Hedvig. 
Mother, there's somebody knocking. 

Hialmar. 
There now, we're going to have a whole lot of 
people ! 

GiNA. 

I'll go [Goes over and opens the door, staHs, 

and draws hack.] Oh — oh dear ! 

Werle, in a Jur coat, advances one step 
into the room. 



.CT III.] THE WILD DUCK. 



311 



Werle. 
Excuse me ; but I think my son is staying here. 

GiNA. 

[With a gulp.] Yes. 

HiALMAR. 

[Approaching kirn.] Won't you do us the honour 



Werle. 
Thank you, I merely wish to speak to my son. 

Gregers. 
What is it ? Here I am. 

Werle. 
I want a few words with you, in your room. 

Gregers. 
In my room } Very well [About to go. 

GiNA. 

No, no, your room's not in a fit state 

Werle. 
Well then, out in the passage here ; I want to 
have a few words with you alone. 

HiALMAR. 

You can have them here, sir. Come into the 
parlour, Relling. 

[HiALMAR and Relling go off to the right. 
GiNA takes Hedvig with her into the 
kitchen. 



312 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT III. 

Gregers. 
[After a short pause.] Well, now we are alone. 

Werle. 
From something you let fall last evening, and 
from your coming to lodge with the Ekdals, I 
can't help inferring that you intend to make your- 
self unpleasant to me, in one way or another. 

Gregers. 
I intend to open Hialmar Ekdal's eyes. He 
shall see his position as it really is — that is all. 

Werle. 

Is that the mission in life you spoke of yester- 
day .'' 

Gregers. 
Yes. You have left me no other. 

Werle. 
Is it I, then, that have crippled your mind, 
Gregers ? 

Gregers. 
You have crippled my whole life. I am not 

thinking of all that about mother But it's 

thanks to you that I am continually haunted and 
harassed by a guilty conscience. 

Werle. 
Indeed! It is your conscience that troubles 
you, is it } 

Gregers. 
I ought to have taken a stand against you when 
the trap was set for Lieutenant Ekdal. I ought 



ACT III.] THE WILD DUCK. 313 

to have cautioned him ; for I had a misgiving as to 
what was in the wind. 

Werle. 
Yes, that was the time to have spoken. 

Gregers. 
I did not dare to, I was so cowed and spiritless. 
I was mortally afraid of you— not only then, but 
Jong afterwards. 

Werle. 
You have got over that fear now, it appears. 

Gregers. 
Yes, fortunately. The wrong done to old Ekdal, 
both by me and by — others, can never be undone ; 
but Hialmar I can rescue from all the falsehood 
and deception that are bringing him to ruin. 

Werle. 
Do you think that will be doing him a kind- 
ness .'* 

Gregers. 
1 have not the least doubt of it. 

Werle. 
You think our worthy photographer is the sort 
of man to appreciate such friendly offices ? 

Gregers. 
Yes, I do. 

Werle. 
H*m — we shall see. 



314 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT III 

Gregers. 
Besides, if I am to go on living, I must try to 
find some cure for my sick conscience. 

Werle. 
It will never be sound. Your conscience has 
been sickly from childhood. That is a legacy 
from your mother, Gregers — the only one she left 
you. 

Gregers. 
[With a scornful half-smile.] Have you not yet 
forgiven her for the mistake you made in supposing 
she would bring you a fortune ? 

Werle. 
Don't let us wander from the point. — Then you 
hold to your purpose of setting young Ekdal upon 
what you imagine to be the right scent ? 

Gregers. 
Yes, that is my fixed resolve. 

Werle. 
Well, in that case I might have spared myselt 
this visit ; for of course it is useless to ask whether 
you will return home with me ? 

Gregers. 
Quite useless. 

Werle. 
And I suppose you won't enter the firm either .f* 

Gregers. 
No. 



act iii.] the wild duck. 315 

Werle. 
Very good. But as I am thinking of marrying 
again, your share in the property will fall to you 
at once.^ 

Gregers. 
[Quickli/.] No, I do not want that. 

Werle. 
You don't want it ? 

Gregers. 
No, I dare not take it, for conscience' sake. 

Werle. 
[After a patise.] Are you going up to the works 
again } 

Gregers. 
No ; I consider myself released from your 
service. 

Werle. 
But what are you going to do ? 

Gregers. 
Only to fulfil my mission ; nothing more. 

Werle. 
Well, but afterwards ? What are you going to 
live upon ? 

Gregers. ' 
1 have laid by a little out of my salary. 

* By Norwegian law, before a widower can marry again, 
a certain proportion of his property must be settled on his 
children by his former marriage. 



316 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT III. 



Werle. 
How long will that last ? 

Gregers. 
I think it will last my time. 

Werle. 
What do you mean ? 

Gregers. 
I shall answer no more questions. 

Werle. 
Good-bye then, Gregers. 

Gregers. 
Good-bye. [Werle goes. 

HiALMAR. 

[Peeping in.'] He's gone, isn't he } 

Gregers. 
Yes. 

HiALMAR and Relling enter ; also Gina and 
Hedvig Jrowi the kitchen. 

Relling. 
That luncheon-party was a failure. 

Gregers. 
Put on your coat, Hialmar ; I want you to come 
for a long walk with me. 

Hialmar. 
With pleasure. What was it your father wanted } 
Had it anything to do with me t 



ACT III.] THE WILD DUCK. 317 

Gregers. 
Come along. We must have a talk. I'll go 
and put on my overcoat. 

^Goes out by the passage door. 

GiNA. 

You shouldn't go out with him, Ekdal. 

Belling. 
No, don't you do it. Stay where you are. 

HiALMAR. 

\Gets his hat and overcoat.'] Oh, nonsense ! When 
a friend of my youth feels impelled to open his 
mind to me in private 

Relling. 
But devil take it — don't you see that the fellow's 
mad, cracked, demented ! 

GiNA. 

There, what did I tell you ! His mother before 
him had crazy fits like that sometimes. 

HiALMAR. 

The more need for a friend's watchful eye. 
[To GiNA.] Be sure you have dinner ready in 
good time. Good-bye for the present. 

[Goes out by the passage door. 

Belling. 
It's a thousand pities the fellow didn't go to 
hell through one of the Hoidal mines. 

GiNA. 

Good Lord ! what makes you say that } ^ 



318 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT III. 

Relling. 
[Muttering.] Oh, I have my own reasons. 

GiNA. 

Do you think young Werle is really mad } 

Relling. 
No, worse luck; he's no madder than most 
other people. But one disease he has certainly 
got in his system. 

GiNA. 

What is it that's the matter with him ? 

Relling. 
Well, I'll tell you, Mrs. Ekdal. He is suffering 
from an acute attack of integrity. 

GiNA. 

Integrity } 

Hedvio. '' 
Is that a kind of disease .'* 

Relling. 
Yes, it's a national disease ; but it only ap- 
pears sporadically. [Nods to Gina.] Thanks 
for your hospitality. 

[He goes out hy the passage door. 

Gina. 

[Momig restlessly to and fro.] Ugh, that Gregers 
Werle — he was always a wretched creature. 

Hedvig. 

[Sta?iding by the table, and looking searchingly at 
her.] 1 think all this is very strange. 



ACT FOURTH. 

HiALMAR Ekdal's studio. A photograph has just 
been taken; a camera with the cloth over it^ a 
pedestal, two chairs, a folding table, etc., are stand- 
ing out in the room. Afternoon light ; the sun is 
going down ; a little later it begins to grow dusk. 

GiNA stands in the passage doorway, with a little 
box and a wet glass plate in her hand, and is speak- 
ing to somebody outside. 

GiNA. 

Yes, certainly. When I make a promise I keep 
it. The first dozen shall be ready on Monday. 
Good afternoon. 

[Some one is heard going downstairs. Gina 
shuts the door, slips the plate into the box, 
and puts it into the covered camera. 

Hedvig. 
\Comes in from the kitchen. ] Are they gone ? 

Gina. 

[Tidying wp.] Yes, thank goodness, I've got rid 
of them at last. 

Hedvig. 
But can you imagine why father hasn't come 
home yet } 

Gina. 
Are you sure he's not down in Relling's room } 



320 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT IV. 

Hedvig. 
No, he's not ; I ran down the kitchen stair just 
now and asked. 

GiNA. 

And his dinner standing and getting cold, too. 

Hedvig. 
Yes, I can't understand it. Father's always so 
careful to be home to dinner ! 

GiNA. 

Oh, he'll be here directly, you'll see. 

Hedvig. 
I wish he would come; everything seems so 
queer to-day. 

GiNA. 

[Calls out.] There he is ! 

HiALMAR Ekdal covies in at the passage door, 

Hedvig. 
[Going to him.] Father ! Oh what a time we've 
been waiting for you ! 

GiNA. 

[Glancing sidelong at him.] You've been out a 
long time, Ekdal. 

HiALMAR. 

[ Without looking at her.] Rather long, yes. 

[He takes off his overcoat ; Gina arid Hed- 
vig go to help him ; he motions them away. 

Gina. 

Perhaps you've had dinner with Werle ? 



ACT IV] THE WILD DUCK. S21 

HiALMAR. 

[Hanging up his coat.'] No. 

GiNA. 

[Going towards the kitchen door.] Then I'll bring 
some in for you. 

HiALMAR. 

No ; let the dinner alone. I want nothing to eat. 

Hedvig. 
[Going nearer to him.] Are you not well, father ? 

HiALMAR. 

Well } Oh yes, well enough. We have had a 
tiring walk, Gregers and I. 

GiNA. 

Yqu didn't ought to hnve gonft ra fnr^ Flrdnl 
y ou're not usf^d to jJ- , 

HlALMAR. 

H'm ; there's many a thing a man must get u^ed 
to in this world. [Wanders about the room.] Has 
any one been here whilst I was out } 

GiNA. 

Nobody but the two sweethearts. 

HiALMAR. 

No new orders ? 

GiNA. 

No, not to-day. 

Hedvio. 
There will be some to-morrow, father, you'll 
see. 



322 THE WILD DUCK. [ACT IV. 



HiALMAR. 

I hope there will ; for to morrow I am going to 
set to work in real earnest. 

Hedvig. 
To-morrow ! Don't you remember what day it is 
to-morrow .'* 

HiALMAR. 

Oh yes, by-the-bye . Well, the day after, 

then. Henceforth I mean to do everything myself; 
I shall take all the work into my own hands. 

GiNA. 

Why, what can be the good of that, Ekdal ? It'll 
only make your life a burden to you. I can manage 
the photography all right ; and you can go on 
working at your invention. 

Hedvig. 
And think of the wild duck, father, — and all the 
hens and rabbits and I 

HiALMAR. 

Don't talk to me of all that trash ! From to- 
morrow I will never set foot in the garret again. 

Hedvig. 
Oh but, father, you promised that we should have 
a little party 

HiALMAR. 

H'm, true. Well then, from the day after to- 
morrow. 1 should almost like to wring that cursed 
wild duck's neck ! 

Hedvig. 

[Shrieks.'l The wild duck ! 



ACT IV.] THE WILD DUCK. 323 



Gtna. 

Well I never ! 

Hedvig. 
[Shaking him.^ Oh no, father ; you know it*s my 
wild duck ! 

HiALMAR. 

That is why I don't do it. I haven't the heart 
to — for your sake, Hedvig. But in my inmost 
soul I feel that I ought to do it. I ought not to 
tolerate under my roof a creature that has been 
through those hands. 

GiNA. 

Why, good gracious, even if grandfather did get 
it from that poor creature, Pettersen 

HiALMAR. 

[Wandering ahout.^ There are certain claims — 
what shall I call them ? — let me say claims of the 
ideal — certain obligations, which a man cannot dis- 
regard without injury to his soul. 

Hedvig. 
[Going after kim.'\ But think of the wild duck, 
— the poor wild duck ! 

HiALMAR. 

[Stops.] I tell you I will spare it — for your sake. 
Not a hair of its head shall be — I mean, it shall bo 
spared. There are greater problems than that to 
be dealt with. But you should go out a little now, 
Hedvig, as usual ; it is getting dusk enough for 
you now. 

Hedvig. 

No, I don't care about going out now. 



324 THE WILD DUCK. [acT IV. 

HiALMAR. 

YcB do ; it seems to me your eyes are blinking a 
great deal ; all these vapours in here are bad for 
you. The air is heavy under this roof. 

Hedvig. 
Very well then, I'll run down the kitchen stair 
and go for a little walk. My cloak and hat ? — oh, 
they're in my own room. Father — be sure you don't 
do the wild duck any harm whilst I'm out. 

HiALMAR. 

Not a feather of its head shall be touched. 
[Draws her to him.] You and I, Hedvig — we two 

! Well, go along. 

[Hedvig nods to her parents and goes out 
through the kitchen. 

HiALMAR. 

[Walks about without looking up.] Gina. 

GiNA. 

Yes? 

HiALMAR. 

From to-morrow — or, say, from the day after 
to-morrow — I should like to keep the household 
account-book myself. 

GiNA. 

Do you want to keep the accounts too, now .? 

HiALMAR. 

Yes ; or to check the receipts at any rate. 

Gina. 
Lord help us ! that's soon done. 



ACT IV.] THE WILD DUCK. 325 

HlALMAR. 

One would nardly think so ; at any rate you 
seem to make the money go a very long way. [Stops 
arid looks at her.] How do you manage it ? 

GiNA. 

It's because me and Hedvig, we need so little. 

HiALMAR. 

Is it the case that father is very liberally paid 
for the copying he does for Mr. Werle ? 

GiNA. 

I don't know as he gets anything out of the way. 
I don't know the rates for that sort of work. 

HiALMAR. 

Well, what does he get, about } Let me hear I 

GiNA. 

Oh, it varies ; I daresay it'll come to about as 
much as he costs us, with a little pocket-money 
over. 

HiALMAR. 

As much as he costs us ! And you have never 
told me this before ! 

GiNA. 

No, how could I tell you ? It pleased you so 
much to think he got everything from you. 

HiALMAR. 

And he gets it from Mr. Werle. 

GiNA. 

Oh well, he has plenty and to spare, he has. 



326 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT IY. 

HiALMAR. 

Light the lamp for me, please ! 

GiNA. 

[Lighting the lamp.] And of course we don't 
know as it's Mr. Werle himself; it may be 
Graberg 

HiALMAR. 

Why attempt such an evasion ? 

GiNA. 

I don't know ; I only thought— 

HiALMAR. 

H'm! 

GiNA. 

It wasn't me that got grandfather that copying. 
It was Bertha, when she used to come about us. 

HiALMAR. 

It seems to me your voice is trembling. 

GiNa. 

[Puttifig the lamp-shade on.] Is it ? 

HiALMAR. 

And your hands are shaking, are they not ? 

GiNA. 

[Firmli/.] Come right out with it, Ekdal. What 
has he been saying about me } 

HiALMAR. 

Is it true — can it be true that — that there was 
an — an understanding between you an J Mr. Werle, 
while you were in service there ? 



ACT IV.] THE WILD DUCK. 327 

GiNA. 

That's not true. Not at that time. Mr. Werle 
did come after me, that's a fact. And his wife 
thought there was something in it, and then she 
made such a hocus-pocus and hurly-burly, and she 
hustled me and bustled me about so, that I left 
her service. 

HiALMAR. 

But afterwards, then .'' 

GiNA. 

Well^ then 1 went home. And mother — well, 
she wasn't the woman you took her for, Ekdal ; 
she kept on worrying and worrying at me about 
one thing and another — for Mr. Werle was a 
widower by that time. 

HiALMAR. 

Well, and then ? 

GiNA. 

I suppose you've got to know it. He gave me 
no peace until he'd had his way. 

HiALMAR. 

[Striking his hojids together.^ And this is the 
mother of my child ! How could you hide this 
from me ? 

GiNA. 

Yes, it was wrong of me ; I ought certainly to 
have told you long ago. 

HiALMAR. 

You should have told me at the very first ; — 
then I should have known the sort of woman you 
were. 



328 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT IV. 

GiNA. 

But would you have married me all the same ? 

HiALMAR. 

How can you dream that I would ? 

GiNA. 

That's just why I didn't dare tell you anything, 
then. For I'd come to care for you so much, you 
see ; and I couldn't go and make myself utterly 
miserable 

HiALMAR. 

[ Walks about.] And this is my Hedvig's mother. 
And to know that all I see before me — [Kicks at 
a chair] — all that I call my home — I owe to a 
favoured predecessor ! Oh that scoundrel Werle ! 

GiNA. 

Do you repent of the fourteen — the fifteen 
years as we've lived together ? 

HiALMAR. 

[Placing himself in front of her.]. Have you not 
every day, every hour, repented of the spider's- web 
of deceit you have spun around me ? Answer 
me that ! How could you help writhing with 
penitence and remorse ? 

GiNA. 

Oh, my dear Ekdal, I've had all I could do to 
look after the house and get through the day's 
work 

HiALMAR. 

Then you never think of reviewing your past } 



ACT IV.] THE WILD DUCK. S29 

GiNA. 

No ; Heaven knows I'd almost forgotten those 
old stories. 

HiALMAR. 

Oh, this dull, callous contentment ! To me 
there is something revolting about it. Think of 
it — never so much as a twinge of remorse ! 

GiNA. 

But tell me, Ekdal — what would have become 
of you if you hadn't had a wife like me ? 

HiALMAR. 

Like you—— ! 

GiNA. 

Yes; for you know I've always been a bit more 
practical and wide-awake than you. Of course 
I'm a year or two older. 

HiALMAR. 

What would have become of me ! 

GiNA. 

You'd got into all sorts of bad ways when first 
you met me ; that you can't deny. 

HiALMAR. 

" Bad ways " do you call them .'' Little do you 
know what a man goes through when he is in 
grief and despair — especially a man of my fiery 
temperament. 

GiNA. 

Well, well, that may be so. And I've no reason 
to crow over you, neither ; for you turned a moral 



330 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT IV. 

of a husband, that you did, as soon as ever you 
had a house and home of your own. — And now 
we'd got everything so nice and cosy about us ; 
and me and Hedvig was just thinking we'd soon 
be able to let ourselves go a bit, in the way of 
both food and clothes. 

HiALMAR. 

In the swamp of deceit, yes. 

GiNA. 

1 wish to goodness that detestable being had 
never set his foot inside our doors ! 

HiALMAR. 

And I, too, thought my home such a pleasant 
one. That was a delusion. Where shall I now 
find the elasticity of spirit to bring my invention 
into the world of reality } Perhaps it will die 
with me ; and then it will be your past; Gina, 
that will have killed it. 

GiNA. 

[Nearly ciyi?ig.] You mustn't say such things, 
Ekdal. Me, that has only wanted to do the 
best I could for you, all my days ! 

HiALMAR. 

I ask you, what becomes of the breadwinner's 
dream ? When I used to lie in there on the sofa 
and brood over my invention, I had a clear 
enough presentiment that it would sap my vitality 
to the last drop. I felt even then that the day 
when I held the patent in my hand — that day — 
would bring my — release. And then it was my 



ACT IV.] THE WILD DUCK. 331 

dream that you should live on after me, the dead 
inventor's well-to-do widow. 

GiNA. 

[Drying her tears.^ No, you mustn't talk like 
that, Ekdal. May the Lord never let me see the 
day I am left a widow ! 

HiALMAR. 

Oh, the whole dream has vanished. It is all 
over now. All over ! 

Gregers Werle opens the passage door cautiously 
and looks in. 

Gregers. 
May I come in ? 

HiALMAR. 

Yes, come in. 

Gregers. 

[Comes forward f his face beaming with satisfaction, 
and holds out both his hands to them.] Well, dear 

friends ! [Looks from one to the other, and 

whispers to Hialmar.] Have you not done it yet t 

HiALMAR. 

Aloud.] It is done. 

Gregers. 
It is ? 

Hialmar. 
I have passed through the bitterest moments of 
my life. 

Gregers. 
But also, I trust, the most ennobling. 



SSsJ THE WILD DUCK. [aCT IV. 

HiALMAR. 

Well, at any rate, we have got through it for 
the present. 

GiNA. 

God forgive you, Mr. Werle. 

Gregers. 
[In great surprise.] But I don't understand this. 

HiALMAR. 

What don't you understand } 

Gregers. 
After so great a crisis — a crisis that is to be the 
starting-point of an entirely new life — of a com- 
munion founded on truth, and free from all taint 
of deception-- 

HiALMAR. 

Yes yes, I know ; I know that quite well. 

Gregers. 

I confidently expected, when I entered the 

room, to find the light of transfiguration shining 

upon me from both husband and wife. And now 

I see nothing but dulness, oppression, gloom 

Gin A. 
Oh, is that it ? [Takes off the lamp-shade. 

Gregers. 
You will not understand me, Mrs. Ekdal. Ah 

well, you, I suppose, need time to . But you, 

Hialmar ? Surely you feel a new consecration 
after the great crisis. 



ACT IV.] THE WILD DUCK. 333 



HiALMAR. 

Yes, of course I do. That is — in a sort of way. 

Gregers. 
For surely nothing in the world can compare 
with the joy of forgiving one who has erred, and 
raising her up to oneself in love. 

HiALMAR. 

Do you think a man can so easily throw off the 
effects of the bitter cup I have drained ? 

Gregers. 
No, no ta common man, perhaps. But a man 
like you ! 

HiALMAR. 

Good God ! I know that well enough. But you 
must keep me up to it, Gregers. It takes time, 
you know. 

Gregers. 

You have much of the wild duck in you, 
Hialmar. 

Rellino has come in at the passage door. 

Relling. 
Oho I is the wild duck to the fore again ? 

HiALMAR. 

Yes; Mr. Werle's wing- broken victim. 

Relling. 

Mr. Werle's ? So it's him you are talking 

about .'* 

Hialmar. 
Him and — ourselves. 



.334 . THE WILD DUCK. [aCT IV. 

Relling. 
[Ill an undertone to Gregers.] May the devil fly 
away with you ! 

HiALMAR. 

What is that you are saying ? 

Relling. 

Only uttering a heartfelt wish that this quack- 
salver would take himself off. If he stays here, 
he is quite equal to making an utter mess of life, 
for both of you. 

Gregers. 

These two will not make a mess of life, Mr. 
Relling. Of course 1 won't speak of Hialmar — 
him we ^now. But she, too, in her innermost 
heart, has certainly something loyal and sin- 
cere 

GiNA. 

[Almost crying.] You might have let me alone 
for what 1 was, then. 

Relling. 
[To Gregers ] Is it rude to ask what you really 
want in this house } 

Gregers. 
To lay the foundations of a true marriage. 

Relling. 
So you don't think Ekdal's marriage is good 
enough as it is ? 

Gregers. 
No doubt it is as good a marriage as most others, 
worse luck. But a true marriage it has yet to 
become. 



ACT IV.] THE WILD DUCK. 335 

HlALMAR. 

You have never had eyes for the claims of the 
ideal, Relling. 

Relling. 
Rubbish, my boy ! — But excuse me, Mr. Werle : 
how many — in round numbers — how many true 
marriages have you seen in the course of your 
life? 

Gregers. 
Scarcely a single one. 

Relling. 
Nor I either. 

Gregers. 
But I have seen innumerable marriages of the 
opposite kind. And it has been my fate to see at 
close quarters what ruin such a marriage can work 
in two human souls. 

HiALMAR. 

A man's whole moral basis may give away be 
neath his feet ; that is the terrible part of it. 

Relling. 

Well, I can't say I've ever been exactly married, 

so I don't pretend to speak with authority. But 

this I know, that the child enters into the marriage 

problem. And you must leave the child in peace. 

HiALMAR. 

Oh — Hedvig ! my poor Hedvig ! 

Relling. 
Yes, you must be good enough to keep Hedvig 
outside of all this. You two are grown-up people ; 
you are free, in God's name, to make what mess 



336 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT IV. 

and muddle you please of your life. But you must 
deal cautiously with Hedvig, I tell you ; else you 
may do her a great injury. 

HiALMAR. 

An injury ! 

Relling. 
Yes, or she may do herself an injury — and per- 
haps others too. 

GiNA. 

How can you know that, Relling ? 

HiALMAR. 

Her sight is in no immediate danger, is it ? 

Relling. 
I am not talking about her sight. Hedvig is at 
a critical age. She may be getting all sorts of 
mischief into her head. 

GiNA. 

That's true — I've noticed it already! She's 
taken to carrying on with the fire, out in the 
kitchen. She calls it playing at house-on-fire. 
I'm often scared for fear she really sets fire to the 
house. 

Relling. 

You see ; I thought as much. 

Gregers. 
[ To Relling.] But how do you account for that .'* 

Relling. 
[Sullenli/.^ Her constitution's changing, sir. 



ACT IV.] THE WILD DUCK. 337 

HiALMAR. 

So long as the child has m e ! So long as 

/ am above ground I [A knock at the door. 

GiNA. 

Hush, Ekdal ; there's some one m the passage. 
[Calls out.] Come in ! 

[Mrs. Sorby, m walking dress, comes in. 

Mrs. Sorby. ♦ 

Good evening. 

GiNA. 

[Going towards her]. Is it really you. Bertha } 

Mrs. Sorby. 
Yes, of course it is. But I'm disturbing you, 
Tm afraid } 

HiALMAR. 

No, not at all ; an emissary from that house 

Mrs. Sorby. 
[To GiNA.] To tell the truth, I hoped your 
men-folk would be out at this time. I just ran 
up to have a little chat with you, and to say good- 
bye. 

GiNA. 

Good-bye ? Are you going away, then } 

Mrs. Sorby. 
Yes, to-morrow morning, — up to Hoidal. Mr. 
Werle started this afternoon. [Lightly to Gregers.] 
He asked me to say good-bye for him. 

GiNA. 

Only fancy I 



338 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT IV. 

HiALMAR. 

So Mr. Werle has gone ? And now you are 
going after him ? 

Mrs. Sorby 
^ Yes, what do you say to that, Ekdal ? 

HiALMAR. 

I say : beware ! 

Gregers. 
I must explain the situation. My father and 
Mrs. Sorby are going to be married. 

HiALMAR. 

Going to be married ! 

GiNA. 

Oh Bertha ! So it's come to that at last ! 

Relling. 
[His voice quivering a little.] This is surely not 
true ? 

Mrs. Sorby. 
Yes, my dear Relling, it's true enough. 

Relling. 
You are going to marry again ? 

Mrs. Sorby. 
Yes, it looks like it. Werle has got a special 
licence, and we are going to be married quite 
quietly, up at the works. 

Gregers. 
Then I must wish you all happiness, like a 
dutiful stepson. 



act iv.] the wild duck. 339 

Mrs. Sorby. 
Thank you very much — it you mean what you 
say. I certainly hope it will lead to happiness, 
both for Werle and for me. 

Relling. 
You have every reason to hope that. Mr. Werle 
never gets drunk — so far as 1 know ; and I don't 
suppose he's in the habit of thrashing his wives, 
like the late lamented horse- doctor. 

Mrs. Sorby. 
Come now, let Sorby rest in peace. He had 
his good points too. 

Relling. 
Mr. Werle has better ones, I have no doubt. 

Mrs. Sorby. 
He hasn't frittered away all that was good in 
him, at any rate. The man who does that must 
take the consequences. 

Relling. 
I shall go out with Molvik this evening. 

Mrs. Sorby. 
You musn't do that, Relling. Don't do it — for 
my sake. 

Relling. 
There's nothing else for it. [To Hialmar.] 
If you're going with us, come along. 

GiNA. 

No, thank you. Ekdal doesn't go in for that 
sort of dissertation. 



340 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT IV. 

HiALMAR. 

[Half aloud^ in vexatiofi.] Oh, do hold your 
tongue I 

Rfxling. 
Good-bye, Mrs.— Werle. 

[Goes out through the passage door, 

Gregers. 
[To Mrs. Sorby.] You seem to know Dr. 
Relling pretty intimately. 

Mrs. Sorby. 
Yes, we have known each other for many years. 
At one time it seemed as if things might have 
gone further between us. 

Gregers. 
It was surely lucky for you that they did not. 

Mrs. Sorby. 
You may well say that. But I have always 
been wary of acting on impulse. A woman can't 
afford absolutely to throw herself away. 

Gregers. 
Are you not in the least afraid that I may let 
my father know about this old friendship ? 

Mrs. Sorby. 
Why, of course I have told him all about it 
myself. 

Gregers. 
Indeed ? 

Mrs. Sorby. 
Your father knows every single thing that can. 



ACT IV.] THE WILD DUCK. S41 

with any truth, be said about me. I have told 
him all ; it was the first thing I did when I saw 
what was in his mind. 

Gregers. 
Then you have been franker than most people, 
I think. 

Mrs. Sorby. 
\ I have always been frank. We women find 
that the best policy. 

HiALMAR. 

What do you say to that, Gina } 

GiNA. 

Oh, we're not all alike, us women aren't. Some 
are made one way, some another. 

Mrs. Sorby. 
Well, for my part, Gina, I believe it's wisest to 
do as I've done. And Werle has no secrets either, 
on his side. That's really the great bond between 
us, you see. Now he can talk to me as openlj as 
a child. He has never had the chance to do that 
before. Fancy a man like him, full of healtli and 
vigour, passing his whole youth and the best yeais 
of his life in listening to nothing but penitential 
sermons ! And very often the sermons had for 
their text the most imaginary offences — at least 
so I understand. 

GiNA. 

That's true enough. 

Gregers. 
If you ladies are going to follow up this topic, 
I had better withdraw. 



342 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT IV. 

Mrs. Sorby. 
You can stay so far as that's concerned. I shan't 
say a word more. But I wanted you to know that 
I had done nothing secretly or in an underhand 
way. I may seem to have come in for a great 
piece of luck ; and so I have, in a sense. But 
after all, I don't think I am getting any more than 
I am giving. I shall stand by him always, and I 
can tend and care for him as no one else can, now 
that he is getting helpless. 

HiALMAR. 

Getting helpless ? 

Gregers. 
[To Mrs. Sorby.] Hush, don't speak of that 
here. 

Mrs. Sorby. 
There is no disguising it any longer, however 
much he would like to. He is going blind. 

HiALMAR. 

[Starts.] Going blind.? That's strange. He 
too going blind ! 

GiNA. 

Lots of people do. 

Mrs. Sorby. 
And you can imagine what that means to a 
business man. Well, I shall try as well as I can 
to make my eyes take the place of his. But I 
musn't stay any longer; I have such heaps of 
things to do. — Oh, by-the-bye, Ekdal, I was to tell 
you that if there is anything Werle can do for 
you, you must just apply to Graberg. 



ACT IV.] THE WILD DUCi. 343 

Gregers. 
That offer I am sure Hialmar Ekdal will decline 
with thanks. 

Mrs. Sorby. 
Indeed ? I don't think he used to be so 

GiNA. 

No, Bertha, Ekdal doesn't need anything from 
Mr. Werle now. 

Hialmar. 

[Slowly, and with emphasis.} Will you present my 
compliments to your future husband, and say that 
I intend very shortly to call upon Mr. Graberg ■ 

Gregers. 
What ! You don't really mean that } 

Hialmar. 
To call upon Mr. Graberg, I say, and obtain an 
account of the sum I owe iiis principal. I will " 
pay that debt of honour — ha ha ha ! a debt of 
honour, let us call it .' In any case, I will pay the 
whole, with five per cent, interest. 

GiNA. 

But, my dear Ekdal^ God knows we haven't got 
the money to do it. 

Hialmar. 
Be good enough to tell your future husband 
that I am v<rorking assiduously at my invention. 
Please tell him that what sustains me in this 
laborious task is the wish to free myself from a 
torturing burden of debt. That is my reason for 
proceeding with the invention. The entire profits 



344 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT IV. 

shall be devoted to releasing me from my pecuniary 
obligations to your future husband. 

Mrs. Sorby. 
Something has happened here. 

HiALMAR. 

Yes, you are right. 

Mrs. Sorby. 
Well, good-bye. I had something else to speak 
to you about, Gina ; but it must keep till another 
time. Good-bye. 

[HiALMAR and Gregers how silently. Gina 
follows Mrs. Sorby to the door, 

HiALMAR. 

Not beyond the threshold, Gina ! 

[Mrs. Sorby goes ; Gina shuts the door 
after her. 

HiALMAR. 

There now, Gregers ; I have got that burden of 
debt off my mind. 

Gregers. 
You soon will, at all events. 

HiALMAR. 

I think my attitude may be called correct. 

Gregers. 
You are the man I have always taken you for. 

HiALMAR. 

In certain cases, it is impossible to disregard 
the claim of the ideal. Yet, as the breadwinner 



:T IV.] THE WILD DUCK. 345 



of a family, I cannot but writhe and groan under 
it. I can tell you it is no joke for a man without 
capital to attempt the repayment of a long-standing 
obligation, over which, so to speak, the dust of 
oblivion had gathered. But it cannot be helped : 
the Man in me demands his rights. 

Gregers. 
[Laying his hand on Hialmar's shoulder.] My 
dear Hialmar — was it not a good thing I came } 

HiALMAR. 

Yes. 

Gregers. 
Are you not glad to have had your true position 
made clear to you } 

Hialmar. 
[Somewhat impatiently.] Yes, of course I am. 
But there is one thing that is revolting to my 
sense of justice. 

Gregers. 
And what is that } 

Hialmar. 
It is that — but I don't know whether I ought 
to express myself so unreservedly about your father. 

Gregers. 
Say what you please, so far as I am concerned. 

Hialmar. 
\ Well then, is it not exasperating to think that 
it is not I, but he, who will realise the true 
marriage .'' 

Gregers. 
How can you say such a thing ? 



346 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT IV. 

HiALMAR. 

Because it is clearly the case. Isn't the 
marriage between your father and Mrs. Sorby 
founded upon complete confidence, upon entire 
and unreserved candour on both sides ? They 
hide nothing from each other, they keep no 
secrets in the background ; their relation is based, 
if I may put it so, on mutual confession and abso- 
lution. 

Gregers. 
Well, what then .> 

HiALMAR. 

Well, is not that the whole thing ? Did you 
not yourself say that this was precisely the 
difficulty that had to be overcome in order to 
found a true marriage ? 

Gregers. 
But this is a totally different matter, Hialmar. 
You surely don't compare either yourself or your 

wife with those two ? Oh, you understand 

me well enough. 

HiALMAR. 

Say what you like, there is something in all this 
that hurts and offends my sense of justice. It 
really looks as if there were no just providence to 
rule the world. 

GiNA. 

Oh no, Ekdal ; for God's sake don't say such 
things. 

Gregers. 
H'm ; don't let us get upon those questions. 



ACT IV] THE WILD DUCK. 347 

HiALMAR. 

And yet, after all, I cannot but recognise the 
guiding finger of fate. He is going blind. 

GiNA. 

Oh, you can't be sure of that. 

HiALMAR. 

There is no doubt about it. At all events there 
ought not to be ; for in that very fact lies the 
righteous retribution. He has hoodwinked a con- 
fiding fellow creature in days gone by 

Gregers. 
I fear he has hoodwinked many. 

HiALMAR. 

I And now comes inexorable, mysterious Fate, 
( and demands Werle's own eyes. 

GiNA. 

Oh, how dare you say such dreadful things ! 
You make me quite scared. 

HiALMAR. 

It is profitable, now and then, to plunge deep 
into the night side of existence. 

Hedvig, in her hat and cloak, comes in hy the 
passage door. She is pleasurably excited, and 
out of breath. 

GiNA. 

Are you back already } 



348 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT IV. 

Hedvig. 
Yes, I didn't care to go any farther. It was a 
good thing, too; for I've just met some one at 
the door. 

HiALMAR. 

It must have been that Mrs. Sorby. 

Hedvig. 
Yes. 

HiALMAR. 

[Walks up and dojvji.^ 1 hope you have seen her 
for the last time. 

[Si/ence. Hedvig, discouraged, looks first 
at one and then at the other, trying to 
divine their frame of mind. 

Hedvig. 
[Approaching, coaxingly.] Father. 

HiALMAR. 

Well — what is it, Hedvig ? 

Hedvig. 
Mrs. Sorby had something with her for me. 

HiALMAR. 

[Stops.] For you ? 

Hedvig. 
Yes. Something for to morrow. 

GiNA. 

Bertha has always given you some little thing 
on your birthday. 

HiALMAR. 

What is it ? 



ACT IV.] THE WILD DUCK. 34>9 



Hedvig. 
Oh, you mustn't see it now. Mother is to give 
it to me to-morrow morning before I'm up. 

HiALMAR. 

What is all this hocus-pocus that I am to be 
kept in the dark about ! 

Hedvig. 
[Quickli/.'] Oh no, you may see it if you like. 
It's a big letter. 

[Takes the letter out of her cloak pocket. 

HiALMAR. 

A letter too ? 

Hedvig. 

Yes, it is only a letter. The rest will come 
afterwards, I suppose. But fancy — a letter ! I've 
never had a letter before. And there's ''Miss" 
written upon it. [Reads.] " Miss Hedvig Ekdal." 
Only fancy — that's me ! 

HiALMAR. 

Let me see that letter. 

Hedvig. 
[Hands it to him.] There it is. 

HiALMAR. 

That is Mr. Werle's hand. 

GiNA. 

Are you sure of that, Ekdal } 

HiALMAR. 

Look for yourself. 



350 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT IV. 

GiNA. 

Oh, what do / know about such-like things ? 

HiALMAR. 

Hedvig, may I open the letter — and read it ? 

Hedvig. 
Yes, of course you may, if you want to. 

GiNA. 

No, not to-night, Ekdal ; it's to be kept till to- 
morrow. 

Hedvig. 

[Sqftli/.] Oh, can't you let him read it ! It's 
sure to be something good ; and then father will 
be glad, and everything will be nice again. 

HiALMAR. 

I may open it then ? 

Hedvig. 
Yes do, father. I'm so anxious to know what it is. 

HiALMAR. 

Well and good. [Opens the letter, lakes out a 
paper, reads it through, and appears bewildered,] 
What is this ! 

GiNA. 

What does it say ? 

Hedvig. 
Oh yes, father — tell us ! 

HiALMAR. 

Be quiet. [Reads it through again ; he has turned 



ACT n\] THE WILD DUCK. 351 

pale, hit says with self-control ;] It is a deed of gift, 
Hedvig, 

Hedvig. 
Is it ? What sort of gift am I to have ? 

HiALMAR. 

Read for yourself. 

[Hedvig goes over and reads for a time hy 
the lamp. 

HiALMAR. 

\r [Half-alotid, clenching his hands^ The eyes ! The 
\ eyes — and then that letter ! 

Hedvig. 
[Leaves off reading.] Yes, but it seems to me 
that it's grandfather that's to have it. 

HiALMAR. 

[Takes the letter from her.] Gina — can you 
understand this } 

Gina. 

I know nothing whatever about it ; tell me 
what's the matter. 

HiALMAR. 

Mr. Werle writes to Hedvig that her old grand- 
father need not trouble himself any longer with 
the copying, but that he can henceforth draw on 
the office for a hundred crowns a month 

Gregers. 
Aha! 

Hedvig. 
A hundred crowns, mother ! I read that. 



S52 THL WILD DUCK. [aCT IV. 

GiNA. 

What a good thing for grandfather ! 

HiALMAR. 

-a hundred crowns a month so long as he 



needs it — that means, of course, so long as he lives, 

GiNA. 

Well, so he's provided for, poor dear. 

HiALMAR. 

But there is more to come. You didn't read 
that, Hedvig. Afterwards this gift is to pass on 
to you. 

Hedvig. 

To me ! The whole of it ? 

HiALMAR. 

He says that the same amount is assured to you 
for the whole of your life. Do you hear that, 
Gina ? 

GiNA. 

Yes, I hear. 

Hedvig. 
Fancy — all that money for me ! [Shakes him.] 
Father, father, aren't you glad ? 

HiALMAR. 

[Eluding her.] Glad! [Walks about.] Oh what 
vistas — what perspectives open up before me ! It 
is Hedvig, Hedvig that he showers these bene- 
factions upon ! 

GiNA. 

Yes, because it's Hedvig's birthday 



act iv.] the wild duck. 35s 

Hedvig. 
And you'll get it all the same, father ! You 
know quite well I shall give all the money to you 
and mother. 

HiALMAR. 

To mother, yes ! There we have it. 

Gregers. 
Hialmar, this is a trap he is setting for you. 

HiALMAR. 

Do you think it's another trap } 

Gregers. 
When he was here this morning he said : 
Hialmar Ekdal is not the man you imagine him 
to be. 

Hialmar. 
Not the man ! 

Gregers. 
That you shall see, he said. 

Hialmar. 
He meant you should see that I would let my- 
self be bought off ! 

Hedvig. 
Oh mother, what does all this mean ? 

GiNA. 

Go and take off your things. 

[Hedvig goes out by the kitchen door, half- 
crying. 



354 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT IV. 

Gregers. 
Yes, Hialmar — now is the time to show who 
was right, he or I. 

Hialmar. 
[Slowly tears the paper across, lays both pieces on 
the table, and says .-] Here is my answer. 

Gregers. 
Just what I expected. 

Hialmar. 
[Goes over to Gina, who stands by the stove, and 
says in a low voice ;] Now please make a clean 
breast of it. If the connection between you and him 
was quite over when you — came to care for me, 
as you call it — why did he place us in a position 
to marry } 

Gina. 
I suppose he thought as he could come and go 
in our house. 

Hialmar. 

Only that.? Was not he afraid of a possible 
contingency } 

Gina. 
I don't know what you mean. 

Hialmar. 
I want to know whether — your child has the 
right to live under my roof. 

Gina. 

[Draws herself up; her eyes flashA You ask 
that ! ' 



ACT IV.] THE WILD DUCK. 355 

HiALMAR. 

You shall answer me this one qi^estion : Does 
Hedvig belong to me — or ? Well ! 

GiNA. 

[Looking at him with cold defianceJ] I don't know. 

HiALMAR. 

[Quivering a little.^ You don't know ! 

Gin A. 
How should / know } A creature like me 



HiALMAR. 

[Quietlt/ turning away from her.] Then I have 
nothing more to do in this house. 

Gregers. 
Take care, Hialmar ! Think what you are 
doing ! 

HiALMAR. 

[Puis on his overcoat.] In this case, there is 
nothing for a man like me to think twice about. 

Gregers. 
Yes indeed, there are endless things to be con- 
sidered. You three must be together if you are 
to attain the true frame of mind for self-sacrifice 
and forgiveness. 

HiALMAR. 

I don't want to attain it. Never, never ! My 
hat ! [Takes his hat.] My home has fallen in 
ruins about me. [Bursts into tears.] Gregers, I 
have no child ! 



856 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT IV. 

Hedvig. 
[Who has opened the kitchen door.'] What is that 
you're saying ? [Coming to him.] Father, father ! 

GiNA. 

There,, you see ! 

HiALMAR. 

Don't come near rae, Hedvig ! Keep far away. 

I cannot bear to see you. Oh ! those eyes ! 

Good-bye. [Makes for the door. 

Hedvig. 
[Clinging close to htm and screaming loudly.] No ! 
no ! Don't leave me ! 

GiNA. 

[Cries out.] Look at the child, Ekdal ! Look 
at the child ! 

HiALMAR. 

I will not ! I cannot ! I must get out — away 
from all this ! 

[He tears himself away from Hedvig, and 
goes out by the passage door. 

Hedvig. 
[With despairing eyes.] He is going away from 
us, mother ! He is going away from us ! He will 
never come back again ! 

GiNA. 

Don't cry, Hedvig. Father's sure to come back 
again. 

Hedvig. 

[ Throws herself sobbing on the sofa. ] No, no, he '11 
never come home to us any more. 



act iv.] the wild duck. 357 

Gregers. 
Do you believe I meant all for the best, Mrs. 
Ekdal ? 

GiNA. 

Yes, I daresay you did ; but God forgive you, 
all the same. 

Hedvig. 
[Lying on the sofa.] Oh, this will kill me ! What 
have I done to him ? Mother, you must fetch him 
home again ! 

GiNA. 

Yes yes yes ; only be quiet, and I'll go out and 
look for him. [Puts on her outdoor things.] Perhaps 
he's gone in to Relling's. But you mustn't lie 
there and cry. Promise me ! 

Hedvig. 
[Weeping convulsively.] Yes, I'll stop, I'll stop; 
if only father comes back ! 

Gregers. 
[To GiNA, who is going.] After all, had you not 
better leave him to fight out his bitter fight to 
the end ? 

GiNA. 

Oh, he can do that afterwards. First of all, we 
must get the child quieted. 

[Goes out by the passage door. 

Hedvig. 
[Sits up and dries her tears.] Now you must 
tell me what all this means. Why doesn't father 
want me any more ? 



358 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT IV. 

Gregers. 
You mustn't ask that till you are a big girl — 
quite grown-up. 

Hedvig. 
[aSo^.?.] But I can't go on being as miserable 
as this till I'm grown up. — I think I know what 
it is. — Perhaps I'm not really father's child. 

Gregers. 
[Uneasilt/.] How could that he} 

Hedvig. 
Mother might have found me. And perhaps 
father has just got to know it ; I've read of such 
things. 

Gregers. 
Well, but if it were so 

Hedvig. 
I think he might be just as fond of me for all 
that. Yes, fonder almost. We got the wild duck 
in a present, you know, and I love it so dearly 
all the same. 

Gregers. 
[Turning the conversation.^ Ah, the wild duck, 
by-the-bye ! Let us talk about the wild duck a 
little, Hedvig. 

Hedvig. 
The poor wild duck ! He doesn't want to see 
it any more either. Only think, he wanted to 
wring its neck ! 

Gregers. 
Oh, he won't do that. 



ACT IV.] THE WILD DUCK. 359 

Hedvig. 
No ; but he said he would like to. And I 
think it was horrid of father to say it ; for I pray 
for the wild duck every nighty and ask that it may 
be preserved from death and all that is evil. 

Gregers. 
[Looking at her.] Do you say your prayers every 
night ? 

Hedvig. 
Yes. 

Gregers. 
Who taught you to do that } 

Hedvig. 
I myself ; one time when father was very ill, 
and had leeches on his neck, and said that death 
was staring him in the face. 

Gregers. 
Well ? 

Hedvig. 
Then I prayed for him as I lay in bed; and since 
then I have always kept it up. 

Gregers. 
And now you pray for the wild duck too ? 

Hedvig. 
I thought it was best to bring in the wild duck ; 
for she was so weakly at first. 

Gregers. 
Do you pray in the morning, too ? 



360 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT IV. 

Hedvig. 
No, of course not. 

Gregers. 
Why not in the morning as well ? 

Hedvig. 
In the morning it's light, you know, and there's 
nothing in particular to be afraid of. 

Gregers. 
And your father was going ^,o wring the neck 
of the wild duck that you love so dearly ? 

Hedvig. 
No ; he said he ought to wring its neck, but he 
would spare it for my sake ; and that was kind of 
father. 

Gregers. 
[Coming a little nearer.'] But suppose you were 
to sacrifice the wild duck of your own free will 
for his sake. 

Hedvig. 
[Rising.'] The wild duck ! 

Gregers. 
Suppose you were to make a free-will offering, 
for his sake, of the dearest treasure you have in 
the world ! 

Hedvig. 
Do you think that would do any good ? 

Gregers. 
Try it, Hedvig. 

Hedvig. 
[Softly, with /lashing eyes] Yes, I will try it. 



ACT IV.] THE WILD DUCK. 36l 



Gregers. 
Have you really the courage for it, do you 
think ? 

Hedvig. 
I'll ask grandfather to shoot the wild duck for 
me. 

Gregers. 
Yes, do. But not a word to your mother about 
it. 

Hedvig. 
Why not ? 

Gregers. 
She doesn't understand us. 

Hedvig. 
The wild duck ! I'll try it to-morrow morning . 
[GiNA comes in by the passage door. 

Hedvig. 
\Going towards her.] Did you find him, mother ? 

GiNA. 

No, but I heard as he had called and taken 
Relling with him. 

Gregers. 

Are you sure of that ? 

Gina. 
Yes, the porter's wife said so. Molvik went 
with them too, she said. 

Gregers. 
This evening, when his mind so sorely needs to 
wrestle in solitude ! 



362 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT IV. 



Gin A. 

[Takes off her things.^ Yes, men are strange 
creatures, so they are. The Lord only knows 
where Relling has dragged him to ! I ran over 
to Madam Eriksen's, but they weren't there. 

Hedvig. 
[Struggling to keep back her tears.'] Oh, if he 
should never come home any more ! 

Gregers. 



OREGERS. 

He will come home again. I shall have news 
to give him to-morrow ; and then you shall see 
how he comes home. You may rely upon that, 
Hedvig, and sleep in peace. Good-night. 

[He goes out by the passage door. 

Hedvig. 
[Throws herself sobbing on Gina's neck.] Mother, 
mother ! 

GiNA. 

[Pats her shoulder and sighs.] Ah yes; Relling 
was right, he was. That's what comes of it when 
crazy creatures go about presenting the claims of 
the — what-you- may-call-it. 



ACT FIFTH. 

HiALMAR Ekdals stiidio. Cold, grey, moniing light. 
IVet snow lies upon the large panes of the sloping 
roof-window. 

GiNA comes from the kitchen with an apron and bib 
on, a fid carrying a dusting-brush and a duster; she 
goes towards the sitting-room door. At the same 
moment Hedvig comes hurriedly in from the 
passage. 

GiNA. 

[Stops.] Well ? 

Hedvig. 
Oh, mother, I almost think he's down at 
Railing's 

GiNA. 

There, you see ! 

Hedvig. 

because the porter's wife says she could 

hear that Relling had two people with him when 
he came home last night. 

GiNA. 

That's just what I thought. 

Hedvig. 
But it's no use his being there, if he won't come 
up to us. 

GiNA. 

I'll go down and speak to him at all events. 



364 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT V. 

Old Ekdal, in dressing-gown and slippers, and with a 
lighted pipe, appears at the door of his room, 

Ekdal. 
Hialmar Isn't Hialmar at home ? 

GiNA. 

Noj he's gone out. 

Ekdal. 
So early ? And in such a tearing snowstorm ? 
Well well ; just as he pleases ; I can take my 
morning walk alone. 

[i/e slides the garret door aside ; Hedvig 
helps him ; he goes in ; she closes it after 
him. 

Hedvig. 
[In an undertone.^ Only think, mother, when 
poor grandfather hears that father is going to 
leave us. 

GiNA. 

Oh, nonsense ; grandfather mustn't hear any- 
thing about it. It was a heaven's mercy he wasn't 
at home yesterday in all that hurly-burly. 

Hedvig. 
Yes, but 

[Gregers comes in by the passage door 

Gregers. 
Well, have you any news of him ? 

Gin A. 

They say he's down at Relling's. 

Gregers. 
At Relling's ! Has he really been out with 
those creatures .'* 



ACT v.] THE WILD DUCK. * 365 

GiNA. 

Yes, like enough. 

Gregers. 
When he ought to have been yearning for 
solitude, to collect and clear his thoughts 

GiNA. 

Yes, you may well say so. 

Relling enters from the passage, 
Hedvig. 
[Going to him.] Is father in your room ? 

GiNA, 

[At the same time."] Is he there ? 

Relling. 
Yes, to be sure he is. 

Hedvig. 
And you never let us know ! 

Relling. 
Yes; I'm a brute. But in the first place I 
had to look after the other brute ; I mean our 
daemonic friend, of course; and then I fell so 
dead asleep that 

GiNA. 

What does Ekdal say to-day ? 

Relling. 
He says nothing whatever. 

Hedvig. 
Doesn't he speak ? 

Relling. 
Not a blessed word. 



366 it THE WILD DUCK. [aCT V. 



Gregers. 
No no ; I can understand that very well. 

GiNA. 

But what's he doing then ? 

Relling. 
He's lying on the sofa, snoring. 

GiNA 

Oh is he ? Yes, Ekdal's a rare one to snore. 

Hedvig. 
Asleep .'* Can he sleep ? 

Relling. 
Well, it certainly looks like it. 

Gregers. 
No wonder, after the spiritual conflict that has 
rent him 

GiNA, 

And then he's never been used to gadding about 
out of doors at night. 

Hedvig. 
Perhaps it's a good thing that he's getting 
sleep, mother. 

Gin A. 
Of course it is ; and we must take care we don't 
wake him up too early. Thank you, Relling. I 
must get the house cleaned up a bit now, and 

then Come and help me, Hedvig. 

[Gin A and Hedvig go into the sitting-room 

Gregers. 
[Turning to Relling.] What is your explana- 



ACT v.] THE WILD DUCK. 367 



tion of the spiritual tumult that is now going on in 
Hialmar Ekdal ? 

Relling. 
Devil a bit of a spiritual tumult have / noticed 
in him. 

Gregers. 
What ! Not at such a crisis, when his whole 

life has been placed on a new foundation ? 

How can you think that such an individuality as 

Hial mar's ? 

Relling. 
Oh, individuality — he ! If he ever had any 
tendency to the abnormal developments you call 
individuality, I can assure you it was rooted out of 
him while he was still in his teens. 

Gregers. 
That would be strange indeed, — considering 
the loving care with which he was brought up. 

Relling. 
By those two high-flown, hysterical maiden 
aunts, you mean ? 

Gregers. 
Let me tell you that they were women who 
never forgot the claim of the ideal — but of course 
you will only jeer at me again. 

Relling. 
No, I'm in no humour for that. I know all 
about those ladies ; for he has ladled out no end 
of rhetoric on the subject of his "two soul- 
mothers." But I don't think he has much to 
thank them for. Ekdal's misfortune is that in his 



368 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT V. 

own circle he has always been looked upon as a 

shining light 

Gregers. 
Not without reason, surely. Look at the depth 
of his mind ! 

Relling. 
I have never discovered it. That his father 
believed in it I don't so much wonder ; the old 
lieutenant has been an ass all his days. 

Gregers. 
He has had a child-like mind all his days ; that 
is what you cannot understand. 

Relling. 

Well, so be it. But then, when our dear, sweet 
Hialmar went to college, he at once passed for the 
great light of the future amongst his comrades 
too ! He was handsome, the rascal — red and white 
— a shop-girl's dream of manly beauty; and with 
his superficially emotional temperament, and his 
sympathetic voice, and his talent for declaim- 
ing other people's verses and other people's 

thoughts 

Gregers. 

[Indignantly.'] Is it Hialmar Ekdal you are 
talking about in this strain } 

Relling. 
Yes, with your permission ; I am simply giving 
you an inside view of the idol you are grovelling 
oefore. 

Gregers. 

I should hardly have thought I was quite stone 
blind. 



ACT v.] THE WILD DUCK. d69 

Relling. 
Yes you are — or not far from it. You are a sick 
man, too, you see. 

Gregers. 
You are right there. 

Relling. 
Yes. Yours is a complicated case. First of all 
there is that plaguy integrity-fever ; and then 
— what's worse — you are always in a delirium of 
hero-worship ; you must always have something to 
adore, outside yourself. 

Gregers. 
Yes, I must certainly seek it outside myself. 

Relling. 
But you make such shocking mistakes about 
every new phoenix you think you have discovered. 
Here again you have come to a cotter's cabin with 
your claim of the ideal ; and the people of the 
house are insolvent. 

Gregers. 
If you don't think better than that of Hialmar 
Ekdal, what pleasure can you find in being ever- 
lastingly with him ? 

Relling. 
Well, you see, I'm supposed to be a sort of 
a doctor — save the mark ! I can't but give a hand 
to the poor sick folk who live under the same 
roof with me. 

Gregers. 
Oh, indeed ! Hialmar Ekdal is sick too, 
is he ! 



370 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT V. 

Relling. 
Most people are, worse luck. 

Gregers. 
And what remedy are you applying in Hialmar's 
case } 

Relling. 
My usual one. I am cultivating the life-illusion ^ 
in him. 

Gregers. 
Life — illusion ? I didn't catch what you said. 

Relling. 
Yes, I said illusion. For illusion, you know, is 
the stimulating principle. 

Gregers. 
May I ask with what illusion Hialmar is inocu- 
lated > 

Relling. 
No, thank you; I don't betray professional 
secrets to quacksalvers. You would probably go 
and muddle his case still more than you have 
already. But my method is infallible. I have 
applied it to Molvik as well. I have made him 
"daemonic." That's the blister I have to put on 
his neck! 

Gregers. 
Is he not really daemonic then ? 

Relling. 
What the devil do you mean by daemonic ! It's 
only a piece of gibberish I've invented to keep up 
a spark of life in him. But for that, the poor 

' "Livslognen," literally "the life-lie." 



ACT v.] THE WILD DUCK. 37l 

harmless creature would have succumbed to self- 
contempt and despair many a long year ago. And 
then the old lieutenapt ! But he has hit upon his 
own cure, you see. 

G REGERS, 

Lieutenant Ekdal ? What of him } 

Relling. 
just think of the old bear-hunter shutting him- 
self up in that dark garret to shoot rabbits ! I tell 
you there is not a happier sportsman in the world 
than that old man pottering about in there 
among all that rubbish. The four or five withered 
Christmas-trees he has saved up are the same to 
him as the whole great fresh Hoidal forest ; the 
cock and the hens are big game-birds in the fir- 
tops ; and the rabbits that flop about the garret 
floor are the bears he has to battle with — the 
mighty hunter of the mountains ! 

Gregers. 
Poor unfortunate old man ! Yes ; he has in- 
deed had to narrow the ideals of his youth. 

Relling. 
While I think of it, Mr. Werle, junior — don't 
use that foreign word : ideals. We have the 
excellent native word : lies. 

Gregers. 
Do you think the two things are related .'* 

Relling. 
Yes, just about as closely as typhus and putrid 
fever. 



372 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT V. 

Gregers. 
Dr. Relling, I shall not give up the struggle 
until I have rescued Hialmar from your clutches ! 

Relling. 
So much the worse for him. Rob the average 
man of his life-illusion, and you rob him of his 
happiness at the same stroke. [To Hedvig, who 
comes in from the sitting-room.] Well, little wild- 
duck-mother, I'm just going down to see whether 
papa is still lying meditating upon that wonderful 
invention of his. [Goes out by the passage door. 

Gregers. 
[Approaches Hedvig.] I can see by your face 
that you have not yet done it. 

Hedvig. 
What } Oh, that about the wild duck! No. 

Gregers. 
I suppose your courage failed when the time 
came. 

Hedvig. 
No, that wasn't it. But when I awoke this 
morning and remembered what we had been 
talking about, it seemed so strange. 

Gregers. 
Strange } 

Hedvig. 

Yes, I don't know . Yesterday evening, at 

the moment, I thought there was something so 
delightful about it ; but since I have slept and 
thought of it again, it somehow doesn't seem 
worth while. 



ACT v.] THE WILD DUCK. 373 

Gregers. 
Ah, I thought you could not have grown up 
quite unharmed in this house. 

Hedvig. 
I don't care about that, if only father would 

come up 

Gregers. 

Oh, if only your eyes had been opened to that 
which gives life its value — if you possessed the 
true, joyous, fearless spirit of sacrifice, you would 
soon see how he would come up to you. — But I 
believe in you still, Hedvig. 

IHe goes out by the passage door. 
Hedvig wanders about the room for a 
time ; she is on the point of going into 
the kitchen when a knock is heard at the 
garret door. Hedvig goes over and 
opens it a little ; old Ekdal comes out ; 
she pushes the door to again. 

Ekdal. 
H*m, it's not much fun to take one's morning 
walk alone. 

Hedvig. 
Wouldn't you like to go shooting, grandfather ? 

Ekdal. 
It's not the weather for it to-day. It's so dark 
there, you can scarcely see where you're going. 

Hedvig. 
Do you never want to shoot anything besides 
the rabbits ? 

Ekdal. 

Do you think the rabbits aren't good enough ? 



374 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT V. 

Hedvig. 
Yes, but what about the wild duck ? 

Ekdal. 
Ho-ho ! are you afraid I shall shoot your wild 
duck ? Never in the world. Never. 

Hedvig. 
No, I suppose you couldn't ; they say it's very 
difficult to shoot wild ducks. 

Ekdal. 
Couldn't ! Should rather think I could. 

Hedvig. 
How would you set about it, grandfather.'' — I 
don't mean with my wild duck, but with others ? 

Ekdal. 
I should take care to shoot them in the breast, 
you know ; that's the surest place. And tTien 
you must shoot against the feathers, you see — not 
the way of the feathers. 

Hedvig. 
Do they die then, grandfather ? 

Ekdal. 
Yes, they die right enough — when you shoot 
properly. Well, I must go and brush up a bit. 
H'm — understand — li'm. [Goes into his room. 

[Hedvig waits a little, glances towards the 
sitting-room door, goes over to the book- 
case, stands on tip-toe, takes the double- 
barrelled pistol do7vnJro7n the shelf, and 



THE WILD DUCK, 375 



looks at it. GiNA, with brush and duster, 
comes from the sitting- room. Hedvig 
hojttily lays down the pistol, unobserved. 

GiNA. 

Don't stand raking amongst father's things, 
Hedvig. 

Hedvig. 

[Goes away from the bookcase.^ I was only going 
to tidy up a little. 

GiNA. 

You'd better go into the kitchen, and see if 
the coffee's keeping hot; I'll take his breakfast 
on a tray, when I go down to him. 

[Hedvig goes out. Gin a begins to sweep 
and clean up the studio. Presently the 
passage door is opened with hesitation, 
and Hialmar Ekdal looks in. He has 
on his overcoat, but not his hat ; he is 
unwashed, and his hair is dishevelled and 
unkempt. His eyes are dull and heavy. 

GiNA. 

[Standing with the brush in her hand, and looking 
at him] Oh, there now, Ekdal — so you've come 
after all } 

Hialmar. 

[Comes in and ansivers in a toneless voice.] I come 
^only to depart again immediately. 

GiNA. 

Yes, yes, I suppose so. But, Lord help us I what 
a sight you are ! 

Hialmar. 
A sight } 



376 THE WILD DUCK, [aCT V. 

GiNA. 

And your nice winter coat too ! Well, that's 
done for. 

Hedvig. 

[At the kitchen door.] Mother, hadn't I 

better ? [Sees Hialmar, gives a loud scream 

of joy, and runs to him.] Oh, father, father I 

HiALMAR. 

[Turns away and makes a gesture oj repulsion.] 
Away, away, away ! [To Gina.] Keep her away 
from me, I say I 

Gina. 

[In a low tone.] Go into the sitting-room, 
Hedvig. [Hedvig does so without a word. 

HiALMAR. 

[Fussily pulls oid the table-drawer.] I must have 
my books with me. Where are my books } 

Gina. 
Which books } 

HiALMAR. 

My scientific books, of course; the technical 
magazines I require for my invention. 

Gina. 
[Searches in the bookcase.] Is it these here paper- 
covered ones.^ 

HiALMAR. 

Yes, of course. 

Gina. 

[Lays a heap of magazines mi the table.] Shan't 
I get Hedvig to cut them for you } 



ACT V.I THE WILD DUCK. 377 



HiALMAR. 

I don't require to have them cut for me. 

[Short silence. 

GiNA. 

Then you're still set on leaving us, Ekdal } 

HiALMAR. 

[Rummaging amongst the books.^ Yes, that is a 
matter of course, I should think. 

GiNA. 

Well, well. 

HiALMAR. 

[Vehemently.^ How can I live here, to be 
stabbed to the heart every hour of the day } 

GiNA. 

God forgive you for thinking such vile things 
of me. 

HiALMAR. 

Prove ! 

GiNA. 

I think it's you as has got to prove. 

HiALMAR. 

After a past like yours.'* There are certain 
claims — I may almost call them claims of the 
ideal 

GiNA. 

But what about grandfather .'* What's to become 
of him, poor dear } 

HiALMAR. 

I know my duty ; my helpless father will come 
with me. I am going out into the town to make 



378 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT V. 

arrangements . H'm — [hesitatingly/] has any 

one found my hat on the stairs ? 

GiNA. 

No. Have you lost your hat ? 

HiALMAR. 

Of course I had it on when I came in last 
night ; there's no doubt about that ; but I couldn't 
find it this morning. 

GiNA. 

Lord help us ! where have you been to with 
those two ne'er-do-weels ? 

HiALMAR. 

Oh, don't bother me about trifles. Do you 
suppose I am in the mood to remember details } 

GiNA. 

If only you haven't caught cold, Ekdal 

[Goes out into the kitchen. 

HiALMAR. 

[Talks to himself in a low tone oj' irritation, whilst 
he empties the table-drawer.] You're a scoundrel, 
Relling ! — You're a low fellow ! — Ah, you shame- 
less tempter ! — I wish I could get some one to 
stick a knife into you ! 

[He lays some old letters on one side,Jinds 
the torn document of yesterday, takes it 
up and looks at the pieces ; puts it down 
hurriedly as Gina enters. 

GiNA. 

[Sets a tray with coffee, etc., on the table.] Here's 



ACT v.] THE WILD DUCK. 379 

a drop of something hot, if you'd fancy it. And 
there's some bread and butter and a snack of salt 
meat. 

HiALMAR. 

[Glancing at the tray.] Salt meat ? Never under 
this roof! It's true I have not had a mouthful of 
solid food for nearly twenty-four hours ; but no 
matter. — My memoranda ! The commencement 
of my autobiography ! What has become of my 
diary, and all my important papers } [Opens the 
sitting-room door but draws back.] She is there too I 

GiNA. 

Good Lord ! the child must be somewhere ! 

HiALMAR. 

Come out. 

[He makes room, Hedvig comes, scared, 
into the studio. 

HiALMAR. 

[With his hand upon the door- handle, says to 
GiNA :] In these, the last moments I spend in 
my former home, I wish to be spared from inter- 
lopers [Goes into the room. 

Hedvig. 
[With a bound towards her mother, asks softly, 
trembling.] Does that mean me } 

GiNA. 

Stay out in the kitchen, Hedvig ; or, no — you'd 
best go into your own room. [Speaks to Hialmar 
as she goes in to him.] Wait a bit, Ekdal ; don't 
rummage so in the drawers ; / know where every- 
thing is. 



380 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT V. 

Hedvig. 
[^Stands a moment immovable, in terror and per- 
plexity, biting her lips to keep back the tears ; then 
she clenches her hands convulsively, and says softly :] 
The wild duck . 

^She steals over and takes the pistol from 

the shelf, opens the garret door a little way, 

creeps in, and draws the door to after her. 

[HiALMAR ajid GiNA can be heard disputing 

in the sitting-room. 

HiALMAR. 

[Comes in with some manuscript books and old loose 
papers, which he lays upon the table.] That port- 
manteau is of no use ! There are a thousand and 
one things I must drag with me. 

GiNA. 

[Following with the portmanteau.] Why not leave 
all the rest for the present, and only take a shirt 
and a pair of woollen drawers with you ? 

HiALMAR. 

Whew ! — all these exhausting preparations ! 

[Pulls off his overcoat and throws it upon 
the sofa. 

GiNA. 

And there's the coffee getting cold. 

HiALMAR. 

H'm. 

[Drinks a mouthful without thinking 0/ it, 
and then another. 

GiNA. 

[Dusting the backs of the chairs.] A nice job 



ACT v.] THE WILD DUCK. 381 

you'll have to find such another big garret for the 
rabbits. 

HiALMAR. 

What ! Am I to drag all those rabbits with me 
too? 

GiNA. 

You don't suppose grandfather can get on with- 
out his rabbits. 

HiALMAR. 

He must just get used to doing without them. 
Have not / to sacrifice very much greater things 
than rabbits ! 

GlNA„ 

[Dusti?ig the bookcase.] Shall I put the flute in 
the portmanteau for you ? 

HiALMAR. 

No. No flute for me. But give me the pistol 1 

GiNA. 

Do you want to take the pigstol with you ? 

HiALMAR. 

Yes. My loaded pistol. 

GiNA. 

[Searching for it.] It's gone. He must have taken 
it in with him. 

HiALMAR. 

Is he in the garret } 

GiNA. 

Yes, of course he*s in the garret. 



382 THE WILD DUCK. [acT V. 



HiALMAR. 

H'm — poor lonely old man. 

[He takes a piece of bread and butter, eats 
ity andjifiishes his cup of coffee. 

Gin A. 
If we hadn't have let that room, you could 
have moved in there. 

HiALMAR. 

And continued to live under the same roof 
with ! Never, — never ! 

GiNA. 

But couldn't you put up with the sitting-room 
for a day or two ? You could have it all to your- 
self. 

HiALMAR. 

Never within these walls ! 

GiNA. 

Well then, down with Relling and Molvik. 

HiALMAR. 

Don't mention those wretches' names to me ! 
The very thought of them almost takes away my 
appetite. — Oh no, I must go out into the storm 
and the snow-drift, — go from house to house and 
seek shelter for my father and myself. 

GiNA. 

But you've got no hat, Ekdal ! You've been 
and lost your hat, you know. 

HiALMAR. 

Oh those two brutes, those slaves of all the 



ACT v.] THE WILD DUCK. 383 



vices ! A hat must be procured. \Takes another 
piece of bread and butter.^ Some arrangement must 
be made. For I have no mind to throw away my 
Hfe, either. [Looks for something on the tray. 

GiNA. 

What are you looking for } 

HiALMAR. 

Butter. 

GiNA. 

ril get some at once. [Goes out into the kitchen. 

HiALMAR. 

[Calls after her.] Oh it doesn't matter; dry 
bread is good enough for me. 

GiNA. 

[Brings a" dish of butter.] Look here ; this is fresh 
churned. 

[She pours out another cup of coffee for 
him ; he seats himself on the sofa, spreads 
more butter on the already buttered bread, 
and eats and drinks awhile in silence. 

HiALMAR. 

Could I, without being subject to intrusion — 
intrusion of any sort — could I live in the sitting- 
room there for a day or two .'' 

GiNA. 

Yes, to be sure you could, if you only would. 

HiALMAR. 

For I see no possibihty of getting all father's 
things out in sucii a hurry. 



384 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT V. 



GiNA. 

And besides, you've surely got to tell him first 
as you don't mean to live with us others no more. 

HiALMAR. 

[Pushes away his coffee ciip.^ Yes, there is that 
too ; I shall have to lay bare the whole tangled 

story to him . I must turn matters over; I 

must have breathing-time ; I. cannot take all these 
burdens on my shoulders in a single day. 

Gin A. 
No, especially in such horrible weather as it is 
outside. 

H lALMAR. 

[Touching Werle's letter.^ I see that paper is 
still lying about here. 

GiNA. 

Yes, / haven't touched it. 

HiALMAR. 

So far as I am concerned it is mere waste 
paper 

GiNA. 

Well, / have certainly no notion of making any 
use of it. 

HiALMAR. 

but we had better not let it get lost all the 

same ; — in all the upset when I move, it might 
easily 

GiNA. 

I'll take good care of it, Ekdal. 

HiALMAR. 

The donation is in the first instance made to 



ACT v.] THE WILD DUCK. 385 

father, and it rests with him to accept or de- 
cline it. 

GiNA. 

[Sighs.] Yes, poor old father 

HiALMAR. 

To make quite safe Where shall I find 

some gum ? 

GiNA. 

[Goes to the bookcase ] Here's the gum-pot. 

HiALMAR. 

And a brush ? 

GiNA. 

The brush is here too. [Brings him the things. 

HiALMAR. 

[Takes a pair of scissors.] Just a strip of paper 

at the back [Clips and gums.] Far be it from 

me to lay hands upon what is not my own — and 
least of all upon what belongs to a destitute old 
man — and to — the other as well. — There now. 
Let it lie there for a time ; and when it is dry, 
take it away. I wish never to see that document 
again. Never ! 

Gregers Werle enters from the passage. 

Gregers. 
[Somewhat surprised.] What, — are you sitting 
here, Hialmar.^* 

HiALMAR. 

[Rises hurriedly.] I had sunk down from 
%tigue. 

Gregers. 

You have been having breakfast, I see. 



386 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT V. 



HiALMAR. 

The body sometimes makes its claims felt too. 

Gregers. 
What have you decided to do ? 

HiALMAR. 

For a man like me, there is only one course pos- 
sible. 1 am just putting my most important things 
together. But it takes time, you know. 

GiNA. 

[ With a touch of impatience.] Am I to get the room 
ready for you, or am I to pack your portmanteau > 

HiALMAR. 

[After a glance of annoyance at Gregers.] Pack 
— and get the room ready ! 

GiNA. 

[Takes the portmanteau.] Very well ; then I'll put 
in the shirt and the othei things. 

[Goes into the sitting-room and draws the 
door to after her. 

Gregers. 
[After a short silence.] I nev^er dreamed that this 
would be the end of it. Do you really feel it a 
necessity to leave house and home ? 

HiALMAR. 

[Wanders about restlessly.] What would you have 
me do } — I am not fitted to bear unhappiness, 
Gregers. I must feel secure and at peace in my 
surroundings. 



ACT v.] THE WILD DUCK. 387 

Gregers. 
But can you not feel that here ? Just try it I 
should have thought you had firm ground to build 
upon now — if only you start afresh. And re- 
member, you have your invention to live for. 

HiALMAR. 

Oh don't talk about my invention. It's perhaps 
still in the dim distance. 

Gregers. 
Indeed ! 

HiALMAR. 

• Why, great heavens, what would you have me 
invent ? Other people have invented almost every- 
thing already. It becomes more and more difficult 

every day 

Gregers. 
And you have devoted so much labour to it. 

HiALMAR. 

It was that blackguard Relling that urged me 
to it. 

Gregers. 
Relling > 

HiALMAR. 

Yes, it was he that first made me realise my 
aptitude for making some notable discovery in 
photography. 

Gregers. 

Aha — it was Relling ! 

HiALMAR. 

Oh, I have been so truly happy over it ! Not so 



388 THE WILD DUCK. [acT V. 

much for the sake of the invention itself, as 
because Hedvig believed in it — believed in it with 
a child's whole eagerness of faith. — At least, I have 
been fool enough to go and imagine that she 
believed in it. 

Gregers. 
Can you really think that Hedvig has been 
false towards you ? 

HiALMAR. 

I can think anything now. It is Hedvig that 
stands in my way. She will blot out the sunlight 
from my whole life. 

Gregers. 
Hedvig ! Is it Hedvig you are talking of .^ How 
should she blot out your sunlight ? 

HiALMAR. 

[Without a?isfvering.] How unutterably I have 
loved that child ! How unutterably happy I have 
felt every time I came home to my humble room, 
and she flew to meet me, with her sweet little 
blinking eyes. Oh, confiding fool that I have been ! 
I loved her unutterably ; — and I yielded myself up 
to the dream, the delusion, that she loved me 
unutterably in return. 

Gregers. 
Do you call that a delusion ? 

HiALMAR. 

How should I know ? I can get nothing out of 
Gina ; and besides, she is totally blind to the ideal 
side of these complications. But to you I feel 
impelled to open my mind, Gregers. I cannot 



ACT v.] THE WILD DUCK. 389 

shake off this frightful doubt — perhaps Hedvig 
has never really and honestly loved me. 

Gregers. 
What would you say if she were to give you a 
proof of her love ? [Liste7is.] What's that ? I 
thought I heard the wild duck ? 

HiALMAR. 

It's the wild duck quacking. Father's in the 
garret. 

Gregers. 

Is he ? [His face lights up with joy.^ I say you 
may yet have proof that your poor misunderstood 
Hedvig loves you ! 

HiALMAR. 

Oh, what proof can she give me .'* I dare not 
believe in any assurances from that quarter. 

Gregers. 
Hedvig does not know what deceit means. 

HiALMAR. 

Oh Gregers, that is just what I cannot be sure 
of. Who knows what Gina and that Mrs. Sorby 
may many a time have sat here whispering and 
tattling about } And Hedvig usually has her ears 
open, I can tell you. Perhaps the deed of gift 
was not such a surprise to her, after all. In fact, 
I'm not sure but that I noticed something of the 
sort. 

Gregers. 

What spirit is this that has taken possession of 
you } 



390 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT V. 

HiALMAR. 

I have had my eyes opened. Just you notice ; — 
you'll see, the deed of gift is only a beginning. 
Mrs. Sorby has always been a good deal taken 
up with Hedvig; and now she has the power to 
do whatever she likes for the child. They can 
take her from me whenever they please. 

Greoers. 
Hedvig will never, never leave you. 

HiALMAR. 

Don't be so sure of that. If only they beckon 

to her and throw out a golden bait ! And oh! 

I have loved her so unspeakably! I would have 
counted it my highest happiness to take her ten- 
derly by the hand and lead her, as one leads a 
timid child through a great dark empty room ! — 
I am cruelly certain now that the poor photo- 
grapher in his humble attic has never reallv and 
truly been anything to her. She has only cun- 
ningly contrived to keep on a good footing with 
him until the time came. 

Gregers. 
You don't believe that yourself, Hialmar. 

HiALMAR. 

That is just the terrible part of it — I don't know 
what to believe, — I never can know ito But can 
you really doubt that it must be as I say ? Ho-ho, 
you have far too much faith in the claim of the 
ideal, my good Gregers ! If those others came, 
with the glamour of wealth about them, and called 
to the child : — *' Leave him ; come to us : here life 
awaits voii ' '' 



ACT v.] THE WILD DUCK. SQl 

Gregers. 
[Quick/i/.] Well, what then ? 

HiALMAR. 

If I then asked her : Hedvig, are you willing to 
renounce that life for me ? [Laughs scornfully.] 
No thank you ! You would soon hear what answer 
1 should get. 

[A pistol shot is heard from within the 
garret. 

Gregers. 
[Loudly and joyfully.] Hialmar ! 

HiALMAR. 

There now ; he must needs go shooting too. 

Gin A. 

[Comes in.] Oh Ekdal, I can hear grandfather 
blazing away in the garret by hisself. 

Hialmar. 

I'll look in 

Gregers. 
[Eagerly f with emotion.] Wait a moment ' Do you 
know what that was ? 

Hialmar. 
Yes, of course I know. 

Gregers. 
No you don't know. But / do. That was the 
proof ! 

Hialmar. 
What proof .^ 



392 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT V. 

Gregers. 
It was a child's free-will offering. She has got 
your father to shoot the wild duck. 

HiALMAR. 

To shoot the wild duck ! 

GiNA. 

Oh, think of that I 

HiALMAR. 

What was that for ? 

Gregers. 
She wanted to sacrifice to you her most cherished 
possession ; for then she thought you would surely 
come to love her again. 

HiALMAR. 

[Tenderly, with emotion.^ Oh, poor child • 

GiNA. 

What things she does think of ' 

Gregers. 
She only wanted your love again, Hialmar. She 
could not live without it. 

Gina. 

[Struggling with her tears.] There, you can see for 
yourself, Ekdal. 

HiALMAR. 

Gina, where is she ? 

GiNA. 

[Sniffs.] Poor dear, she's sitting out in the 
kitchen, I dare say. 



ACT v.] THE WILD DUCK. 393 

HiALMAR. 

[Goes over, tears open the kitchen door, and says ;J 
Hedvig, come, come in to me ! [Looks round. ^ No, 
she's not here. 

GiNA. 

Then she must be in her own little room. 

HiALMAR. 

i Without'] No, she's not here either. [Comes 
She must have gone out. 

GiNA. 

Yes, you wouldn't have her anywheres in the 
house. 

HiALMAR. 

Oh, if she would only come home quickly, so 

that I can tell her Everything will come 

right now, Gregers ; now I believe we can begin 
life afresh. 

Gregers. 

[Quietly.] I knew it ; I knew the child w^ould 
make amends. 

Old Ekdal appears at the door of his room ; he 
is in full uniform, and is busy buckling on his 
sword. 

HiALMAR. 

[Astonished.] Father ! Are you there ? 

GiNA. 

Have you been firing in your room ? 

Ekdal. 
[Resentfully, approaching.] So you go shooting 
alone, do you, Hialmar ? 



394f THE WILD DUCK. [aCT V. 

HiALMAR. 

[Excited and confused.^ Then it wasn't you 
that fired that shot in the garret ? 

Ekdal. 
Me that fired? H'm. 

Gregers. 
[Calls out to HiALMAR.] She has shot the wild 
duck herself! 

HiALMAR. 

What can it mean ? [Hastetis to the garret door, 
tears it aside, looks in and calls loudly:] Hedvig ! 

GiNA. 

[Runs to the door.] Good God, what's that ! 

HiALMAR. 

[Goes in.] She's lying on the floor ! 

Gregers. 
Hedvig ! lying on the floor ! 

[Goes in to Hialmar. 

GiNA. 

[At the same time.] Hedvig ! [Inside the garret.] 
No, no, no ! 

Ekdal. 
Ho-ho ! does she go shooting too, now ? 

[Hialmar, Gina, and Gregers earn/ 
Hedvig into the stiidio ; in her dangling 
right hand she holds the pistol fast 
clasped in her fingers. 

Hialmar. 
[Distracted.] The pistol has gone off. She has 
wounded herself. Call for help ! Help ! 



ACT v.] THE WILD DUCK. 395 

GiNA. 

[Runs into the passage and calls donm.] Relling ! 
Relling I Doctor Relling ; come up as quick as 
you can ! 

[HiALMAR afid Gregers /flry Hedvig down 
on the sofa. 

Ekdal. 
[Quietli^.] The woods avenge themselves. 

HiALMAR. 

[On his knees beside Hedvig.] She'll soon come 
to now. She's coming to ; yes, yes, yes. 

Gin A. 

[ Who has come in again.'\ Where has she hurt 
herself.? I can't see anything 

[Relling comes hurriedly , and immediately 
after him Molvik ; the latter without his 
waistcoat and necktie, and with his coat 
open. 

Relling. 
What's the matter here ? 

Gina. 
They say Hedvig has shot herself. 

HiALMAR. 

Come and help us ! 

Relling. 
Shot herself! 

[He pushes the table aside and begins to 
examine her. 

HiALMAR. 

[Kneeling and looking anxiously up at him.^ It 



396 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT V. 

can't be dangerous ? Speak, Relling I She is 
scarcely bleeding at all. It can't be dangerous } 

Relling. 
How did it happen } 

HiALMAR. 

Oh, we don't know ! 

GiNA. 

She wanted to shoot the wild duck. 

Relling. 
The wild duck ? 

Hialmar. 
The pistol must have gone off. 

Relling. 
H'm. Indeed. 

Ekdal. 
The woods avenge themselves. But I'm not 
afraid, all the same. 

[Goes into the garret and closes the door 
after him. 

Hialmar. 
Well, Relling, — why don't you say something ? 

Relling. 
The ball has entered the breast 

Hialmar. 
Yes, but she's coming to ! 

Relling. 
Surely you can see that Hedvig is dead. 



ACT v.] THE WILD DUCK. 397 

GiNA. 

[Bursts into tears.] Oh my child, my child 

Gregers. 
[Huskilif.] In the depths of the sea 

HiALMAR. 

\ Jumps up.] No, no, she must live ! Oh, for 
God's sake, Relling — only a moment — only just 
till I can tell her how unspeakably I loved her all 
the time ! 

Relling. 

The bullet has gone through her heart. Internal 
hemorrhage. Death must have been instantaneous. 

HiALMAR. 

And I I I hunted her from me like an animal ! 
And she crept terrified into the garret and died 
for love of me ! [Sobbing.] I can never atone to 

her ! I can never tell her ! [Clenches his 

hands and cries, upwards.] O thou above ! If 

thou be indeed ! Why hast thou done this thing 
to me } 

GiNA, 

Hush, hush, you mustn't go on that av/ful way. 
We had no right to keep her, I suppose. 

MOLVIK. 

The child is not dead, but sleepeth. 

Relling. 
Bosh! 

HiALMAR. 

[Becomes calm, goes over to the sofa, folds his 
arms, and looks at Hedvig.] There she lies so stiff 
and still. 



398 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT V. 

Relling. 
[Tries io loosen the pistol.^ She's holding it so 
tight, so tight. 

GiNA. 

No, no, Relling, don't break her fingers ; let 
the pigstol be. 

HiALMAR. 

She shall take it with her. 

GiNA. 

Yes, let her. But the child mustn't lie here for 
a show. She shall go to her own room, so she 
shall. Help me, Ekdal. 

[HiALMAR and Gina lake Hedvig between 
them. 

HiALMAR. 

[As Ihey are carrying her.] Oh Gina, Gina, can 
you survive this ! 

Gina. 

We must help each other to bear it. For now 
at least she belongs to both of us. 

MOLVIK. 

[Stretches out his arms and mumbles.] Blessed 
be the Lord ; to earth thou shalt return ; to earth 
thou shalt return 

Relling. 

[ Whispers.] Hold your tongue, you fool ; you're 
drunk. 

[HiALMAR and Gina ca?'ri/ the body out 
through the kitchen door. Relling shuts 
it after them. Molvik slinks out into the 
passage. 



ACT v.] THE WILD DUCK. $99 



Rellino. 
[Goes over to Gregers and says :] No one shall 
ever convince me that the pistol went off by 
accident. 

Gregers. 
[ Who has stood lerrifiedy with convulsive twitchings.] 
Who can say how the dreadful thing happened ? 

Relling. 
The powder has burnt the body of her dress. 
She must have pressed the pistol right against 
her breast and fired. 

Gregers. 
Hedvig has not died in vain. Did you not see 
how sorrow set free what is noble in him .'' 

Relling. 
Most people are ennobled by the actual presence 
of death. But how long do you suppose this 
nobility will last in him ? 

Gregers. 
Why should it not endure and increase through- 
out his life } 

Relling. 
Before a year is over, little Hedvig will be 
nothing to him but a pretty theme for declamation. 

Gregers. 
How dare you say that of Hialmar Ekdal .'* 

Relling. 
We will talk of this again, when the grass has 
first withered on her grave. Then you'll hear 



400 THE WILD DUCK. [aCT V. 

him spouting about "the child too early torn from 
her father's heart ; " then you'll see him steep 
himself in a syrup of sentiment and self- admiration 
and self-pity. Just you wait ! 

Gregers. 
If you are right and I am wrong, then life is not 
worth living. 

Relling. 
Oh, life would be quite tolerable, after all, if 
only we could be rid of the confounded duns that 
keep on pestering us, in our poverty, with the 
claim of the ideal. 

Gregers. 
[Looking straight before kirn.] In that case, I am 
glad that my destiny is what it is. 

Relling. 
May I inquire, — what is your destiny.^ 

Gregers. 
[Going.] To be the thirteenth at table. 

Relling. 
The devil it is. 



THE END. 







BINDS ri;:. 



jAPii o wi\n