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Mrs. Stockman n. Yes, but aren't we going
away, Thomas ?

(PETRA returns.)

Dr. Stockmann. Well!

PETRA. All right

Dr. Stockmann. Good. Going away, do you
say ? No, I'll be damned if we do ; we stay where
we are, Katrine.

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 ! As soon as my trousers are mended, I'll go
out into the town and look after a house ; we must
have a roof over our heads for the winter.

HORSTER. That you can have with me.

Dr. Stockmann. Can I ?

Horster. Yes, indeed you can. I've room
enough, and, besides, I'm hardly ever at home.

Mrs. Stockmann. Oh, how kind of you, Horster.

Petra. Thank you.

Dr. Stockmann {shaking his Jiand). Thanks,
thanks ! So that's off my mind. And this very day
I shall set to work in earnest Ah ! there's a rare
lot to be done here, Katrine ! It's a good thing I've
all my time at my disposal now; for you know I've
had notice from the Baths

234 Am Enemy of the People. [Act V.

Mrs. Stockman n {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 ! I'll make them hear me ; I'll preach to
them in season and out of season, as it's written

Mrs. STOCKMANN. My dear Thomas, I think
you've seen what good preaching does.

Dr. Stockmann. You really are ridiculous,
Katrine. Am I to let myself be beaten off the field
by public opinion, and the compact majority, and
such devilry ? No, thank you. Besides, my point is
so simple, so clear and straightforward. I only want
to drive into the heads of these curs that the Liberals
are the worst foes of free men ; that party-pro-
grammes wring the necks of all young and vital
truths ; that considerations of expediency turn justice
and morality upside down, until life is simply hideous.
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 then — listen! It's the
party-leaders that must be got rid of. For, you see, a
party-leader is just like a wolf — like a starving wolf ;
he must devour a certain number of small animals
a year, if he's to exist at all. Just look at Hovstad
and Aslaksen ! How many small animals they
polish off; or else they mangle and maim them, so

Act V.] An Enemy of the People. 235

that they're fit for nothing else but to be house-
holders and subscribers to the People's Messenger.
{Sits on the edge of the table?) Just come here,
Katrine; see how bravely the sun shines to-day! 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 !

Dr. Stockmann. Well, you'll have to pinch and
save where you can — and we'll get on all right.
That's my least concern. Now what does trouble me
is, that I don't see any man with enough independ-
ence and nobility of character to dare to take up my
work after me.

Petra. Oh ! don't bother about that, father; you
have time before you. — Why, see, there are the boys

(ElLlF and Morten enter from the sitting-room?)

Mrs. Stockmann. Have you had a holiday
to-day ?

Morten. No ; but we had a fight with the other
fellows in play-time

ElLlF. That's not true ; it was the other fellows
that fought us.

Morten. Yes, and then Mr. Rorlund said we'd
better stop at home for a few days.

Dr. Stockmann {snapping his fingers and spring-
ing 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 !

Mrs. Stockmann. Why, Thomas

Dr. Stockmann. Never, I say. I'll teach you

236 An Enemy of the People. [Act V.

myself — that's to say, I won't teach you any blessed

Morten. Hurrah !

Dr. STOCKMANN. but I'll try to make

free, noble-minded men of you. — Look here, you'll
have to help me, Petra.

PETRA. Yes father, you may be sure I will.

Dr. Stockman n. 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 twelve boys to begin with.

Mrs. STOCKMANN. You'll never get them in this

Dr. Stockmann. We shall see! (To the boys.)
Don't you know any street urchins — any regular
ragamuffins ?

MORTEN. Yes father, I know lots !

Dr. Stockmann. That's all right ; bring me a
few of them. I want to experiment with the street-
curs for once ; there are sometimes excellent heads
among them.

Morten. But what are we to do when we've
become free and noble-minded men ?

Dr. Stockmann. Drive all the wolves out to the
far west, boys.

(ElLIF looks rather doubtful ; MORTEN jumps
about y shouting "Hurrah ! ")

Mrs. Stockmann. If only the wolves don't drive
you out, Thomas.

Dr. Stockmann. Are you quite mad, Katrine!
Drive vie out! now that I'm the strongest man in
the town !

Act V.] An Enemy of the People. 237

Mrs. Stockman n. The strongest — now?

Dr. Stockmann. Yes, I venture to say this:
that now I'm one of the strongest men upon earth.

Morten. I say, father !

Dr. Stockmann (in a subdued voice). Hush ! you
mustn't speak about it yet ; but I've made a great

Mrs. Stockmann. What, again?

Dr. Stockmann. Yes, certainly. (Gathers them
about him, and speaks confidentially^) This is what
I've discovered, you see : the strongest man upon
earth is he who stands most alone.

MRS. STOCKMANN (shakes her head, smiling). Ah!
Thomas !

Petra (grasping his hands encouragingly). Father !





Werle, a tnerchant, manufacturer, etc.

Gregers Werle, his son.

Old Ekdal.

Hialmar Ekdal, his son, a photographer.

Gin a Ekdal, Hialmar 's wife.

Hedvig, their daughter, fourteen years old.

Mrs. Sorby, Werle 's housekeeper.

RELLING, a doctor.

Molvik, ex -student of theology.

Graberg, Werle s bookkeeper.

Pettersen, Werle s servant.

Jensen, a hired waiter.

A Flabby Gentleman.

A Thin-haired Gentleman.

A Short-sighted Gentleman.

Six other gentlemen, dinner-guests at Werle 's.

Several hired waiters.

The first act passes in Werle" s house, the four follotving acts at

Hialmar Ekdal' s.

[PRONUNCIATION.— Gregers Werle = Grayghers Verle ; Hialmai
Ekdal = Yalmar Aykdal; Gina = Gheena; Graberg ■ Groberg;
fensen = Yemen.]




Act First.

{At Werle's house. A richly and comfortably furnished
study ; bookcases and upholstered furniture j a writing-table^
with papers and documents, in the centre of the rooms lighted
lamps with green shades casting a dim light. In the back-
ground, open folding doors with curtains drawn back.
Within is seen a large and elegant 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 folding 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 ?noving about
arranging things and lighting more candles. From the
dining-room, the hum of conversation and laughter of many
voices are heard; a glass is tapped with a knife j silence
follows, and a toast is proposed j shouts of " Bravo / " and
then again a buzz of conversation.)

Pettersen (fights a lamp on the chimney-piece and
sets a shade over it). Just listen, Jensen ; now the
old man's on his legs proposing Mrs. Sorby's health
in a long speech.

vol. ii. 16

242 The Wild Duck. [Act I.

JENSEN {pushing forward an arm-chair). Is it

true, what people say, that there's something between


PETTERSEN. Lord knows.

Jensen. I'm told he's been a lively customer in

his day.


Jensen. It's in honour of his son that he's giving

this dinner-party, they say.

PETTERSEN. Yes. His son came home yesterday.

Jensen. I never knew till now that Mr. Werle

had a son.

PETTERSEN. Oh yes, he has a son. But he's

always 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

PETTERSEN (mutters). The devil — who's this


(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 (at the door). Must get into the office,


Pettersen. The office was closed an hour ago,

Ekdal. So they told me at the door. But

Act I.] The Wild Duck. 243

Graberg's in there still. Let me slip in this way,
Pettersen ; there's a good fellow. {Points towards the
baize door.) I've been in this way before.

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 — hm. Thanks, Pettersen, good
old friend! Thanks! {Mutters softly.) Ass! {He
goes into the office; PETTERSEN shuts the door after

Jensen. Is he one of the office people ?

Pettersen. No, he's only an outsider that does
odd jobs of copying. But he's been a gentleman in
his time, has old Ekdal.

JENSEN. You can see he's been through a lot

Pettersen. Yes ; he was a lieutenant, you know.

Jensen. The devil he was !

Pettersen. No mistake about it But after-
wards he went into the timber trade or something of
that sort They say he once played Mr. Werle a
very nasty trick. They were in partnership at
the Hoidal works at the time. Oh, I know old
Ekdal well, I do. Many's the glass of bitters and
bottle of ale we two have drunk at Madam Eriksen's.

JENSEN. He can't have much to stand treat with.

Pettersen. Why, bless you, Jensen, it's me that
stands treat You see I always think one must be a
bit civil to folks that have seen better days.

Jensen. Did he go bankrupt then ?

Pettersen. No, worse than that He went to

Jensen. To prison !

244 The Wild Duck. [Act I.

PETTERSEN. Or perhaps it was the Penitentiary
— {listens). Hush, they're leaving the table.

( The dining-room door is thrown open from inside,
by a couple of waiters. Mrs. S6RBY comes out
conversing with two geyitlemen. Gradually the
whole company follows, amongst them WERLE.
Last come HlALMAR Ekdal and GREGERS
Mrs. S6RBY (in passing, to the servant). Pettersen,
we'll have the coffee in the music-room.
Pettersen. Very well, Mrs. Sorby.

(She goes with 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

a stiff bit of work !

The Thin-haired Gentleman. Oh, with a
little good-will one can get through an astonishing
lot in three hours.

The Flabby Gentleman. Yes, but afterwards,
afterwards, my dear Chamberlain !

A Third Gentleman. I hear the coffee and
maraschino are to be served in the music-room.

The Flabby Gentleman. Bravo! Perhaps
Mrs. Sorby will play us something.

The Thin-haired Gentleman (in a low voice).
If only Mrs. Sorby doesn't play us a tune we don't

The Flabby Gentleman. Oh no, not she!
Bertha will never turn against her old friends.
( They laugh and pass into the inner room.)

Act I.J The Wild Duck. 245

Werle (in a low voice, dejectedly). I don't think
anybody noticed it, Gregers.

Gregers (looks at him). Noticed what?

Werle. Didn't you notice it either ?

Gregers. Why, what do you mean ?

Werle. We were thirteen at table.

Gregers. Indeed? Were there thirteen of us ?

Werle (glances towards Hialmar Ekdal).
Twelve is our ordinary party. (To the others?)
This way, gentlemen ! (WERLE and tlie others, all
except Hialmar and Gregers, go out by the back>
to t/ie right.)

HIALMAR (w/w has overheard the conversation).
You oughtn't 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'm quite outside his set.

Gregers. So I hear. But I wanted to see you
and talk with you, for I certainly shan't be staying
long. Ah, we two old schoolfellows have drifted far
apart from each other. It must be sixteen or seven-
teen years since we met.

Hialmar. Is it so long ?

Gregers. It is indeed. Well, how goes it with
you ? You look well. You've grown stout and
almost portly.

Hialmar. Hm, " portly" you can scarcely call it ;
but I daresay I look a little more of a man than I

Gregers. Yes, you do ; your outer man's in first-
rate condition.

246 The Wild Duck. [Act L

Hialmar. Ah, but the inner man ! That's
another matter, I can tell you ! Of course you know
of the terrible catastrophe that has befallen me and
mine since we last met

Gregers (more softly). How is your father
getting on now ?

Hialmar. Don't let's talk of it, old fellow. Of
course my poor unhappy father lives with me. You
see 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 how you've been getting on
up at the works.

GREGERS. I've had a delightfully lonely time of

it ; plenty of leisure to reflect on things in general.

Come over here ; let's make ourselves comfortable.

(He seats himself in an arm-chair by the fire and

pulls HIALMAR down into another alongside of

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've got over your feeling
against me.

GREGERS (surprised). How could you imagine I
had any feeling against you ?

Hialmar. You had at first, you know.

Gregers. 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 put that into your head ?

Act I.] The Wild Duck. 247

HiALMAR. I know it did, Gregers ; your father
told me so himself.

Gregers {starts). My father! Oh indeed. Hm
— was that why you never let me hear from you —
not a single word.


Gregers. Not even when you took to photo-
graphy ?

Hialmar. Your father said I'd better not write
you about anything.

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 ; I've
really no cause to complain. At first, you know, I
felt it a little strange. It was such a totally new state
of things for me. But of course my whole circum-
stances were totally changed. Father's utter, irre-
trievable ruin, — the shame and disgrace of it,

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 ; principally to your father
I believe

Gregers. Hm

Hialmar. Well, you see, 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

248 The Wild Duck. [Act I.

GREGERS. Father did?

HlALMAR. Yes, you knew that, didn't you?
Where do you suppose I got the money to learn
photography, and to furnish a studio and make a
start? All that costs a pretty penny, I can tell

GREGERS. And my father provided the money ?

HlALMAR- 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 corre-
spondence has always been purely a business one.
So it was my father that !

HlALMAR. 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 arm.) But, my dear Hialmar, I
can't tell you what pleasure all this gives me — and
regret too. I've perhaps done my father injustice
after all — in some things. This proves that there's
some good in his nature. It shows a sort of com-

HlALMAR. Compunction ?

Gregers. Yes, or whatever you like to call it
Oh, I can't tell you how glad I am to hear this of
father. — And so you're married, Hialmar! That's
further than I shall ever get Well, I hope you're
happy in your married life ?

HlALMAR. Yes, thoroughly happy, She's as good

Act I.] The Wild Duck. 249

a wife as a man could wish for. And she's by no
means without education.

GREGERS {rather surprised). No, surely not

HlALMAR. 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'd hardly know Gina

Gregers. Gina?

HlALMAR. Yes ; have you forgotten that her
name's Gina?

Gregers. Whose name ? I really don't know

HlALMAR. Don't you remember that she used to
be in service here ?

Gregers (looks at him). Is it Gina Hansen

HlALMAR. Yes, of course it's Gina Hansen.

Gregers. who kept house for us during the

last year of my mother's illness ?

HlALMAR. Yes, exactly. But, my dear friend,
I'm quite sure your father wrote you that I was

GREGERS {who has risen). Oh yes, he mentioned
it ; but not that — (walking about the room). Stay —
perhaps after all — 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
interests me — how did you come to know Gina —
your wife ?

HlALMAR. The simplest thing in the world. Gina
didn't stay here long ; everything was so much upset
at that time, with your mother's illness and so forth,

250 The Wild Duck. [Act I.

that Gina wasn't equal to it all, and so she gave
notice and left. That was the year before your
mother died — or perhaps it was the same year.

GREGERS. It was the same year. I was up at
the works then. But afterwards ?

HlALMAR. Then Gina lived for a year at home
with her mother, a Madam Hansen, an excellent hard-
working woman, who kept a little eating-house. She
had a room to let too ; a very pretty comfortable

Gregers. And I suppose you were lucky enough
to secure it ?

HlALMAR. Yes ; it was your father that recom-
mended it to me. So you see it was there 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 ; hm

Gregers {gets up and walks 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 ?

HlALMAR. Yes, precisely. I wanted to get on
and be able 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, you
know : it happened, luckily, that Gina had learnt to

Gregers. That chimed in marvellously.

HlALMAR {pleased, rises). Yes, didn't it? Quite
marvellously, you know !

Act I.] The Wild Duck. 251

GREGERS. Yes, no doubt. My father seems tc
have been almost a kind of providence for you.

HlALMAR {with emotion). He didn't forsake his
old friend's son in the hour of his need. He has a
good heart, you see.

Mrs. Sorby {enters^ arm-in-arm with Werle).
Nonsense, my dear Mr. Werle ; you mustn't stop
there any longer staring at the lights. It's not good
for you.

Werle {lets go her arm and passes his hand over
his eyes). I believe you're right.

(Pettersen and Jensen come round with
refreshment trays.)

Mrs, Sorby {to the Guests in the other room).
This way, gentlemen ; if any one wants a glass
of punch, he must be so good as to come in

The Flabby Gentleman {comes up to Mrs.
Sorby). Surely it isn't possible that you've sus-
pended our cherished tobacco-privileges ?

Mrs. Sorby. Yes. No smoking in Mr. Werle's
quarters, Chamberlain.

The Thin-Haired Gentleman. When did you
enact these stringent amendments on the cigar law,
Mrs. Sorby ?

Mrs. Sorby. After the last dinner, Chamberlain,
when certain persons permitted themselves to over-
step 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 way, Mr. Balle.

252 The Wild Duck. [Act I.

{Most of the Guests have assembled in the study ;
servants hand round glasses of puncJu)

WERLE {to HlALMAR, who is standing beside a
table). What are you studying there, Ekdal ?

HlALMAR. Only an album, Mr. Werle.

The Thin-Haired Gentleman {who is wander-
ing about). Ah, photographs ! They're quite in your
line of course.

The Flabby Gentleman {in an arm-diair).
Haven't you brought any of your own with you ?

Hialmar. No, I haven't

The Flabby Gentleman. You ought to have ;
looking at pictures is good for the digestion.

The Thin-haired Gentleman. And it contri-
butes to the entertainment, you know.

A Short-sighted Gentleman. And all contri-
butions are thankfully received.

Mrs. Sorby. The Chamberlains mean that when
one is invited out one should do something to earn
one's dinner, Mr. Ekdal.

The Flabby Gentleman. Where one dines so
well, that duty should be a pleasure.

The Thin-haired Gentleman. And of course
when it's a question of the struggle for life

MRS. SORBY. I quite agree with you !

( They continue the conversation^ with laughter and

Gregers {softly). You must join in, Hialmar.

Hialmar {writhing). What am I to talk about?

The Flabby Gentleman. Don't you think, Mr.
Werlc, that Tokay may be considered a tolerably safe
wine — from the medical point of view, I mean.

Act I.] The Wild Duck. 253

WERLE (by the fire). I can answer for the Tokay
you 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 remark-
ably delicate flavour.

HlALMAR (shyly). Is there any difference in 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 ; it must have sunshine.
Isn't that so ?

HlALMAR. Yes, it's largely a question of light.

MRS. Sorby. And it's exactly the same with
Chamberlains — they, too, need sunshine, 1 as the
saying is.

The Thin-haired Gentleman. Oh fie ! That's
a very stale sarcasm !

The Short-sighted Gentleman. Mrs. Sorby
is coming out.

The Flabby Gentleman. and at our

expense. {Threatening her.) Oh, Madame Bertha,
Madame Bertha !

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 amongst the old ?

Mrs. Sorby. Oh, far from it

1 The " sunshine " of Court favour.

254 The Wild Duck. [Act I.

The Thin-haired Gentleman. There nowl

But me, dear Mrs. Sorby ?

The Flabby Gentleman. Yes, and me? What
vintage do you think we belong to ?

Mrs. Sorby. I think you belong to the sweet
vintages, gentlemen. {She sips a glass of punch. The
gentlemen laugh and flirt with her)

Werle. Mrs. Sorby can always find a loop-hole
— when she wants to. Fill your glasses, gentlemen !

Pettersen, will you attend to ! Gregers, suppose

we have a glass together. (Gregers does not move.)
Won't you join us, Ekdal ? I couldn't find a chance
of drinking with you at table.

(GrAberg, the Bookkeeper, looks in through the
baize door.)
GrAberg. Excuse me, sir, but I can't get out
Werle. Have you been locked in again ?
GrAberg. Yes, and Flakstad has gone away with
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 ! Pah !

{The laughter and talk a?nong the Guests cease.

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Online LibraryHenrik IbsenGhost: An enemy of the people: The wild duck → online text (page 13 of 21)