An Enemy of the People
(SCENE.--The editorial office of the "People's Messenger." The entrance door is
on the left-hand side of the back wall; on the right-hand side is another door with
glass panels through which the printing room can be seen. Another door in the
right-hand wall. In the middle of the room is a large table covered with papers,
newspapers and books. In the foreground on the left a window, before which
stands a desk and a high stool. There are a couple of easy chairs by the table,
and other chairs standing along the wall. The room is dingy and uncomfortable;
the furniture is old, the chairs stained and torn. In the printing room the
compositors are seen at work, and a printer is working a handpress. HOVSTAD
is sitting at the desk, writing. BILLING comes in from the right with DR.
STOCKMANN'S manuscript in his hand.)
Billing. Well, I must say!
Hovstad (still writing). Have you read it through?
Billing (laying the MS. on the desk). Yes, indeed I have.
Hovstad. Don't you think the Doctor hits them pretty hard?
Billing. Hard? Bless my soul, he's crushing! Every word falls like--how shall I put
it?--like the blow of a sledgehammer.
Hovstad. Yes, but they are not the people to throw up the sponge at the first
Billing. That is true; and for that reason we must strike blow upon blow until the
whole of this aristocracy tumbles to pieces. As I sat in there reading this, I almost
seemed to see a revolution in being.
Hovstad (turning round). Hush!--Speak so that Aslaksen cannot hear you.
Billing (lowering his voice). Aslaksen is a chicken-hearted chap, a coward; there
is nothing of the man in him. But this time you will insist on your own way, won't
you? You will put the Doctor's article in?
Hovstad. Yes, and if the Mayor doesn't like it--
Billing. That will be the devil of a nuisance.
Hovstad. Well, fortunately we can turn the situation to good account, whatever
happens. If the Mayor will not fall in with the Doctor's project, he will have all the
small tradesmen down on him--the whole of the Householders' Association and