The History of Mr. Polly (1949) Movie Script

(Clock chiming)
I'm looking for Mr Polly.
It seems he cannot be found.
Mr Polly, sir?
I haven't seen him for some time, sir.
Mr Polly, sir? No, sir.
- Tell me, where is Mr Polly?
- I don't know, sir.
"Then," said Sir Lancelot,
gazing across the valley
to where the river menandered
through fields of corn,
"my lady and Queen, this is the hardest
and most mischievious adventure
"ever attempted in all chivallery."
Old gravel-face is looking for you.
You ain't half gonna cop it.
One moment.
Have you seen Mr Polly anywhere?
(Low-pitched) No, sir.
Get up, Mr Polly.
What are we doing down there?
Why are we rolling about on the floor?
Get up at once, Mr Polly.
It has come to my notice, Mr Polly,
that we are not happy in our work,
that perhaps
we are not entirely suited to it,
that we are a slacker
and that we need to buck up,
that instead of studying our trade,
we prefer to enjoy ourselves
staying out to ungodly hours.
- You see, sir, I...
- Yes, Mr Polly?
I would like to remind you, Mr Polly,
that when we applied
for a position in this establishment
we gave every assurance
of being a smart young man,
that we had every intention
of getting on,
of getting on, Mr Polly, or getting out!
Get out, sir!
Get out of my sight!
Get out!
I've had six years' experience?
I've had six years' experience.
That's your lot. No more emergencies.
Can't get a job, can you?
Can't get a job anywhere.
Why not?
Not a trade I ever ought
to have chosen, really.
Father's fault. He put me into it.
Social misfit, that's what I am.
- (Door opens)
- (Footsteps)
Your name Polly?
Something for me?
Good news?
Found a situation, have you?
No, it's my father.
He's dangerously ill.
Never knew him very well, did I?
Stranger to me.
Took me to the pantomime, though,
every year. Crystal Palace.
Temper, too.
That time he wanted to get
the sofa upstairs, and it jammed.
Kicked and struck at it.
Lost control altogether.
Never forgot it.
- Looks peaceful.
- It was a merciful relief.
Second departed I've ever seen.
- We did all we could.
- Oh, no doubt of it, old man.
We was just talking
about the funeral, cousin Alfred.
You'll have to have a hearse, of course,
not one of them combinations
with the driver sitting on the coffin.
Disrespectful, I think, they are.
I do like them glass 'earses.
So refined and nice.
Podger's hearse you'll have.
It's the best in Easewood.
(Mr Polly)
Everything that's right and proper.
You'll want a mourner's carriage.
- According to whom you invite.
- Didn't think of inviting anyone.
You can't let your father go to
his grave without askin' a few friends.
- Funereal baked meats, like?
- Not baked.
You'll have to give them something.
Ham and chicken's very suitable.
Bit vulturial, isn't it?
- Where will you get your mourning?
- Haven't thought about it, old man.
I suppose I must have mourning.
If I were you, I should get ready-made
trousers. That's all you really need.
Black satin tie. Top hat
with deep mourning band. And gloves.
- Jet cuff links, as chief mourner.
- Not obligatory.
- It shows respect.
- Oh, it shows respect, of course.
Chasing the old man about to the last.
Wish I'd looked him up a bit more
while he was alive.
(Women giggle)
Oh, there you are, Alfred.
These are your cousins Larkins.
This is Annie.
And this is Miriam.
And this is Minnie.
Righto! I see.
And here's Aunt Larkins.
- I should have known him anywhere.
- She's never set eyes on him before!
I should have known him anywhere
for Lizzie's child.
You've got her eyes.
It's a resemblance.
And as for never seeing him,
I've dandled him.
- You couldn't dandle him now, Ma.
- The things you say, Annie!
- My dandling days are over.
- (Laughter)
- My turn to dandle.
- (Laughter)
- Not me, thank you!
- (Women laugh)
- (Tutting)
- Why, Uncle Pentstemon!
You 'ere? You would be.
- These your girls?
- They are, and better girls...
- Is that Annie?
- Fancy you remembering her name!
She mucked up my vegetable plot, the
baggage. Trounced her, I did, fairly.
I remember her.
Have you nailed him down yet?
You always was a bit ahead
of what was needful.
- I'm glad you could come, Uncle.
- Oh, I came. I came.
- You Lizzie's boy?
- I brought Willy.
- Here's May Punt.
- Thank you, Willy.
Oh, Grace, dear,
it is good of you to ask me.
We are looking well.
Mrs Larkins, how very nice to see you.
'Ere! Don't squash my hat! It ain't
the kind of hat you see nowadays.
Good morning, Mr Podger.
Good morning to you.
You know your way, don't you, upstairs?
Get our gloves on.
- You have a pair here.
- Oh, thank you.
(Chatter pauses)
(Loud chatter)
Well, I enjoyed the funeral
more than words can tell.
I was just reminding Grace
of the days beyond recall...
Did you think of having
your poor dear father post-mortem'd?
I didn't think of it for a moment.
Grace and beauty, they used to call us.
Don't swallow your fork, Willy.
I used to have a young gentleman,
a medical student, lodging with me.
Mr Podger,
I didn't give you very much ham.
- Can you get past? Let me sit forward.
- There she used to sit, as bold...
The contents of the stomach
- ought to be examined.
- Elfrid.
(Mrs Johnson)... and the fun she made
of everything nobody could believe.
Trounce her again, I would,
if she did as much now!
I won't have my girls spoken of,
by anybody, old or young.
- (Pop)
- Ain't the beer up?
It's the 'eated room.
- Excuse me, passing so soon again.
- Right? Righto!
- (Hiccups)
- Elfrid.
The new doctor said
everything must be put in spirits.
"Ladies," she says, "dip their pens in
the ink and keep their noses out of it."
Certain people never had
any daughters of their own.
- Elfrid.
- Not another mouthful!
And kept us in she did,
every afternoon for a week.
- Really?
- (Miriam) Elfrid.
He'd swallowed the very key
to open the drawer!
No wish to make myself disagreeable,
not to God's 'umblest worm.
- You aren't very busy with that brawn!
- (Loud chatter)
(Chatter and laughter)
Little dog!
(Loud chatter)
Oh, Alfred.
(Laughter and chatter)
Hen-witted gigglers.
Funereal games.
Don't hurt him, of course.
Doesn't matter to him.
Feel in the need of fresh air, Alfred?
You ever thought of, um...
investing that money of yours?
Money? What money?
The old man left you.
Pretty near 500 with insurance.
Yes. You'll have
to do something with it.
Give you a tidy income
if you invest it properly.
No end of things you can put it in.
- Put it into a small shop.
- Shop?
Mm, a shop. For a man who sticks to it,
there's a lot to be done in a shop.
I haven't got to go back to a shop,
not if I don't want to. Ever!
What do you think you'll do, then?
Buy a bicycle.
Stamton. Larkins lot asked me over.
Why not? Oscoolatory exercises.
Good idea! Righto!
- (Children shout)
- Rosie!
Why, it's cousin Alfred.
- Thought I'd look you up.
- (She chuckles)
Fancy, you coming to see us like this.
Explorations menanderings.
Wait a moment.
I'll tell Ma.
- Ma?
- What?
- Ma, Cousin Alfred's here.
- He ain't!
- He is.
- You lazy thing!
(Raised voices)
Go on. Come on, then!
Come on! Don't keep him waiting.
I didn't mean to shut you out.
I've just told Ma.
- (Crockery smashes)
- (Raised voices)
We're all in a bit of a mess today,
you know. It's my cleaning-up day.
Hello, Elfrid. Come in, come in.
Come in, Elfrid,
you've caught us on the 'op,
but welcome all the same.
(Giggles) Oh, I am glad
to see you again, Elfrid.
I didn't know you could
ride a bicycle, Elfrid.
- What, all the way here?
- Yes. I had a bit of a contretemps.
An accidentulous misadventure.
Ooh! Why, whatever happened?
A stout elderly gentlemen, shirtsleeves,
straw hat, starts to cross the road...
You never run him down, Elfrid!
- Not me! I never run anything down!
- (Laughter)
- Wobble. Ring the bell. Wobble.
- (Laughter)
Didn't ring his bell. Ran into me. Over
I went, clinging to his vulnerable 'ead.
Well, what happened then?
We sat amongst the debris
and had an argument.
I said he oughtn't to wear a dangerous
hat. He ought to leave it at home.
- You never run into anything.
- Never. So help me.
- Never, he says!
- Don't be so silly.
Ooh! Steady, old nag!
Whoa, my friskiacious palfry!
The things he says!
You never know what he won't say next!
- (Clock chimes)
- (Watch ticks)
- (Door opens)
- (Footsteps)
- Evening, old man.
- Not had an accident, Alfred?
Not much.
No, the pedal got a bit loose
in Stamton, old man. I couldn't ride it.
I looked up the cousins while I waited.
- Not the Larkins lot?
- Yes.
- See any shops?
- Shops?
- Yes, shops.
- Er... no. Nothing to speak of, old man.
Don't waste too much time.
We're happy to have you here...
You're right. I'll look into it
tomorrow, first thing.
Go off on my bicycle.
- Good night, Alfred.
- Good night, old man.
This is all right.
Business later.
(She sighs)
- Goodness!
- Can I... can I be of any assistance?
I don't know.
I didn't know anyone was here.
Sorry if I'm... intrudaceous.
It isn't that.
I oughtn't to get over the wall.
It's out of bounds, in term time.
- But this being holidays...
- Holidays is different.
I don't want to break the rules.
Well, leave them behind you,
where they're safe.
I think I'll stay on the wall.
So long as some of me's in bounds.
You bicycle? So do I.
- There's no harm in our talking.
- No, no, it's a kindness.
I was just sitting here
in melancholic rectrospectatiousness.
You know, you make me feel
like one of those old knights
who rode about the country looking
for dragons and beautiful maidens.
Oh, why?
- Beautiful maiden.
- Nonsense.
Oh, yes, you are. A beautiful maiden
imprisoned in an enchanted school.
- You wouldn't think it enchanted.
- And here am I clad in steel.
Well, at least my...
my fiery warhorse is.
Willing to absquatulate all the dragons
and rescue you.
You should see the dragons.
Fly with me.
(Laughs) You are funny.
I haven't known you five minutes.
We don't know each other's names.
Yours is the prettiest name
in the world.
- How do you know?
- Well, it must be.
It is rather pretty, yes. Christabel.
There you are. What did I tell you?
- And yours?
- Alfred.
- I can't call you Alfred.
- Well, um... well, Polly, then.
It's a girl's name.
I shan't forget it.
There is love at first sight.
I think I ought to get back over
the wall.
It needn't matter to you.
I'm just a nobody.
But I know that you're the best
and most beautiful thing
I've ever spoken to.
There's no harm in telling you that.
I should have to go back
if I thought you were serious.
- (Hand bell)
- Lawks!
(Christabel) Knight! Knight there!
(Christabel) Come again.
At your command.
- But...
- Yes?
- Just one finger.
- What do you mean?
To kiss.
(Departing footsteps)
(Whispers) Christabel.
Look here. It...
it's been over a week now.
Now, I can't keep up
this gesticulations game any longer.
I'm not a knight.
I'm nobody and nothing.
But look here. Will...
will you wait for me for five years?
- You're just a girl. It won't be hard.
- (Mouths)
I've always been just dilletentillating
about till now, but I could work.
I've just woke up. Wait till I get
a chance with the money I've got.
- But you haven't got much money.
- I've got enough to take a chance with.
I mean what I say. I'll... l'll stop
trifling and shirking and if I do...
- Don't.
- Don't what?
Don't go on being like this.
You... you're different.
- Go on being the knight.
- Yes, but I...
(Girl) Shut up, Rosie.
You idiot, he'll see you.
You're spoiling everything.
(Scrambling at wall)
- You've got someone...
- Oh, you filthy little beasts!
Oh! Mercy, mercy! Oh, Christabel!
You idiot! You giggling little idiot!
Blithering fool!
Talk bosh.
Forget about it.
You are a stranger, Elfrid.
Where you been all this time?
Looking round.
- What you been doing to your face?
- Er... bit of a scrase with the bicycle.
- Someone ought to look after it.
- All rough it is.
- Found a shop?
- Oh, one or two likely ones.
You're taking your time about it.
It don't do to be too precipipitous.
No. Once you've got it, you've got it.
Like choosing a husband.
Better see you got it good.
Oh, I'll find a shop all right.
You don't want to worry about that.
When I do, I shall have a cat.
Must make a home for a cat.
- (Mrs Larkins) To catch mice?
- No, sleep in the window.
Cat I'm gonna have, and a canary.
Funny I never thought of that before,
but a cat and a canary seem to go.
Summer weather, I shall sit
in the little room behind the shop,
sun streaming through the window,
cat asleep on the chair, canary singing.
- Mrs Polly...
- (Mrs Larkins) 'Ello!
Mrs Polly frying an extra bit of bacon.
Cat singing, canary singing, kettle
singing, bacon singing, Mrs Polly...
And who's Mrs Polly going to be?
A figment of the imagination, ma'am,
put in to fill up the picture.
I must have a garden.
But I don't mean a fierce
sort of garden. Earnest industry.
No, a patch of 'sturtiums and sweet pea.
Creeper up the back of the house.
- You will 'ave it nice.
- Rather!
Ting-a-ling-a-ling! Shop!
Smart little shop. Counter. Desk.
Umbrella stand. Carpet on the floor.
Cat asleep on the counter. All right.
I wonder you don't set about it
right off.
Well, I need to get it exactly right.
I got to have a tomcat.
Wouldn't do to wake up
and find the shop full of kittens.
- You can't sell kittens.
- (Both laugh)
(Children shout and laugh outside)
I like cats.
I always say to Mother,
"I wish we had a cat."
But we couldn't have a cat here.
Not with no yard.
Never had a cat, meself.
Might get 'em together.
Why... how d'you mean?
Shop and cat thrown in.
Mean to say...
Little dog.
Eating my bicycle tyre.
Thought my bicycle was on fire.
It... it's all right, really.
Little dog. Er... outside.
- Miriam ready?
- (Mrs Larkins) What for?
To go and meet Annie.
You're a rum 'un.
There isn't a little dog
anywhere, Elfrid.
I had... had a very curious sensation.
Felt exactly as if
something was up somewhere.
All right now.
You were sayin' something about a cat.
Give you one, day my shop's opened.
(Children shout and laugh outside)
(Children shouting)
Do you really mean to open a shop?
Well, there are drawbacks, of course,
but one is one's own master.
- That wasn't all talk?
- No, not a bit of it.
After all, a little shop
needn't be so bad.
- It's a 'ome.
- It's a home.
Let's sit down in this seat
where we can see those blue flowers.
One did ought to be happy in a shop.
(Girl) Oh!
Mercy, mercy! Please, Camilla!
You idiot! You giggling little idiot!
A shop's such a respectable thing to be.
I could be happy in a shop,
if I had the right company.
I'm not such a bloomin' geezer
as not to be able to sell goods a bit.
- I shall do all right.
- If you get the right company.
I shall get that all right.
You don't mean you've got someone?
I have got someone
in my eye this minute.
Oh, Elfrid.
You don't mean...
- I do.
- Not really.
You and me, Miriam, in a little shop
with a cat and a canary.
Just suppose it.
You... you mean you're in love with me?
Oh. Elfrid.
(Sighs) I didn't dream you cared.
Sometimes I thought it was Annie
and sometimes Minnie.
I always liked you better than them.
I've loved you, Elfrid, ever since
we met at your poor father's funeral.
- I just can't believe it.
- Nor I.
You do mean to marry me
and open that little shop?
Yes. Oh, yes. I've heard of
a little place over at Fishbourne.
I hadn't quite made up my mind
but... well, I'll take it.
Oh, Elfrid, it's just like a dream.
don't tell anyone yet a bit.
Only Ma.
(# Bridal Chorus)
(Music drowns out speech)
We've got a compartment
to ourselves, anyhow.
The rice they must've bought.
Pounds and pounds!
Ain't you gonna kiss me, Elfrid,
now that we're alone together?
Be careful of my 'at.
(Train whistle)
(Clock chiming)
(Clock chiming)
- (Knocks at door)
- (Clock chiming)
For you, Alfred.
Who's it from?
Konk, Maybrick, Ghool and Gabbitas.
Them again. I might've known.
"Dear sir, unless..."
Sixty pounds?
Elfrid, what you gonna do?
Nothing, I suppose, as usual. I ought
to have known better than to have asked.
You've always been the same,
ever since we came here.
You're lazy, Alfred.
That's what's the matter with you.
You're good for nothing but talking
and reading. Reading, you can do that.
But you can't do any real work, can you?
No. You think you're too good for it.
I'd like to know where you're gonna get
60 from. Or the rent, come to that.
You don't care.
You just sit there doing nothing.
It's all you've been doing,
as long as I can remember.
Month after month
for nearly 15 years now.
15 years next May it is.
May the 25th.
That's a day I shan't forget
in an 'urry.
I don't know why married you.
I don't, really, I don't.
You made it sound as if it was
gonna be all right. Promises.
We'd be rich
if we could live on promises.
We need more than promises now.
- (Clattering)
- (Running water)
Never anywhere to sit.
(Crockery rattles)
(Crockery clinks)
(Horse and cart passing)
(Crockery clinks)
(Crockery clinks)
(Blows nose)
Can't we have another point of view?
- I'm tired of the end elevation.
- Eh?
Of all the vertebracious animals,
man alone raises his face to the sky.
Why avert it?
In fact, old man, I'm sick of you
turning your back on me.
Oh, so that's what you're talking about?
That's it.
The way the wind blows.
What's the fuss?
No fuss. I just don't like it,
old man, that's all.
Can't help it if the wind
blows my straw.
Needn't unpack
like a pig rooting for truffles.
- Truffles?
- Needn't unpack like a pig.
- Are you calling me a pig?
- It's the side I seem to get of you.
'Ere! I don't want no row with you,
and I don't want you to row with me.
I'm a peaceful man. Teetotal too.
And a good thing if you was.
- You go inside.
- You mean to say?
I'm asking you civilly to stop unpacking
with your back to me.
A pig ain't civil, and you ain't sober.
You go and let me get on with my work.
And stop calling me pig, see?
I came here to make a civil request.
You came 'ere to make a row.
I don't want no truck with you, see?
I don't like the looks of you, see?
And I can't stand here all day arguin'.
- (Clock chiming)
- (Clank)
(Whistles tune)
You're not only lazy, you're deceitful.
Been trying to hide them underneath
the counter. No wonder we're in trouble.
You throw away all our money on books.
And what's the good of them, anyway?
Naked string and glue,
that's all they are.
Tom Cringle's Log. A Sailor Tramp.
Wanderings In South America.
I don't know why you want to bother.
Isn't Fishbourne enough for you?
If you'd concentrate a bit more
on running the business
we might be a deal better off.
(Rumbold) Called me a pig!
(Hinks) You're not the only one.
He's been flapping his mouth about me.
(Rumbold) Unpack how it suits me. Can't
unpack with straw blowing into me eyes.
(Hinks) I've had enough of Mr Polly.
He wants a poke in the nose.
- Inside, is he? You leave him to me.
- (Footsteps)
Know what you want to do?
You want to stop
flapping your mouth about me.
Stop flapping your silly mouth.
This place gets
more of your mouth than it wants.
- You don't want to talk so much.
- Don't I?
See this?
- D'you want a bloody nose?
- No.
Then you want to shut up.
- (Bucket bangs)
- You been asking for it, Alfred.
Now you've got it.
I always knew this talking of yours'd
get you into trouble.
But you wouldn't listen.
Never listen to anything
I've got to say.
It's the same with this house.
I told you so.
Too many stairs.
Inconvenient little rooms.
All this white paint. You would have it.
Shows the dirt something awful.
I've always hated this shop.
(Opens door)
Since you brought me here! You may
as well know it, and that's telling you!
- (Sighs)
- (Bucket water slooshes)
(Washing floor)
Seen my cap anywhere?
(He sighs)
(Scrubbing upstairs)
- (Scrubbing upstairs)
- I said cap!
You'd like me to wear this silly Mud Pie
forever! I won't, I'm sick of it!
I'm pretty near sick of everything,
if it comes to that!
Tantrums. I 'aven't patience.
(Sounds horn)
Tin man traps all over the pavement!
You put it all b-b...
(Whistles)... back!
Put it all back yourself!
You got to put it...
(Whistles)... back!
Get out of my way!
Let go, d'you hear? Let go!
- 'Ere! What's all this about?
- Pails all over the road.
Bunging up the street
with dustbins. Look at 'em.
He delib... (Whistles)
...deliberately rolled into my goods.
- Anyone see it begin?
- I did. I was in the shop.
If a witness is needed,
I've got a tongue.
I've got a voice in seeing
me own husband injured.
My husband went out
to speak to Mr Polly...
Hole. Hole!
Beastly silly wheeze of a hole.
# Oh, rotten beastly hole! #
(Sighs) Why did I ever get into it?
Hate Fishbourne. Hate the High Street.
Hate the shop. Hate Miriam.
Hate me neighbours.
(Sniffs) Hate meself, too.
Sixty pounds.
Konk, Maybrick, Ghool and Gab...
Next thing you know, I'll be bankrupt.
Nearly 40, and that's what I've come to.
(Snorts) I'm finished.
Haven't done any of the things
I wanted to do.
Haven't gone anywhere, seen anything.
Stuck in a silly little shop,
surrounded by a lot of people
who hate the sight of me.
Sick of it!
(Sighs) Oh, well.
It's hopeless. What am I gonna do?
No sense in going on, is there?
Might as well be dead.
I'll kill myself.
Kill myself.
That's what I'll do. I'll kill myself.
Life's insured. Place is insured.
I don't see it does any harm
to her or anyone.
Go about it the right way,
might even do a bit of good.
She ought to be grateful to me, really.
That's it. I'll kill myself.
What's the best way of going about it?
Must plan it properly.
Wouldn't do to have it go wrong.
Now, what's the best time? Sundays.
Sunday evening,
she always goes to church.
Plenty of firewood and stuff
under the stairs.
Drum of paraffin too.
I can't think why I never thought of it
before. It solves everything. Why not?
Suicide arsonical! Good idea. Righto!
(Church bells)
- Coming to church?
- Rather.
I've got a lot to be grateful for.
- You got what you deserve.
- Suppose I have.
You'd do better to come to church
than mope.
I shan't mope.
Well, aren't you going?
Go on, go to church!
- (Door shuts)
- Good riddance.
(Chair scrapes and squeaks)
Beastly home.
Beastly life.
Here goes.
Looks pretty arsonical.
Now for the stairs.
Now there's plenty of time.
Light the fire in the kitchen,
open the back door,
make certain the paraffin catches,
and sit down here and cut my throat.
Won't hurt much.
Ten minutes, I'll be a cinder.
Lord! Stings like a nettle.
Must be paraffin!
Got to put this out
before I cut my throat.
I'm soaked with the stuff!
I'd nerved myself for throat-cutting,
but this is fire!
No water up there, none in the shop.
Rumbold's'll be ablaze in five minutes!
It's all going too fast.
Hi! Fire!
- Hey, look!
- Shop's on fire!
Shop's on fire! Fire!
Rumbold's deaf mother-in-law! Upstairs!
Hey! Fire! Fire! Fire!
- Polly and Rumbold's on fire!
- (Dog barking)
The key!
I'll be down just as soon
as I've got me trousers on!
- Seen old Rumbold?
- Gone for a walk.
We haven't got the key
to the fire station!
Lawks! The old lady's there alone!
There's a deaf old lady upstairs!
Something ought to be done!
(Dog barking)
Telephone the Port Burdock
and Hampstead-on-Sea Fire Brigades!
Men! Men, cut away
the woodwork of the fire station!
- The telephone!
- No need. I've attended to it.
Back, please.
Two people on the roof!
I can't jump!
Old ladies like me mustn't be hurried.
(Background music drowns speech)
I've never been out on a roof before.
I'm all disconnected.
(Laughs) It's very bumpy,
especially the last bit.
Can't we sit here for a bit and rest?
You sit here for ten minutes, you'll pop
like a roast chestnut. Understand?
Roast chestnut! Pop!
There ought to be a limit to deafness.
Come on!
- Can't hear a word you say.
- I said, come on!
Where's he going to now?
Running and scurrying about
like black beetles in a kitchen.
Now you sit down.
Mr Rumbold, he's a very quiet man.
He likes everything quiet.
(Laughs) He'll be surprised
to see me 'ere.
Why, there he is!
Lawks a mercy! Why, it's Mr Gambell.
Hiding his head under that thing.
- Can we get her down?
- He might get stuck in it.
- You'll get stuck in it. Now come on.
- Let me do it me own way.
It's worse than Carter's style
afore they mended it.
With a cow looking at you.
Here he comes!
- There he is!
- (Cheering)
(Fire engine bell)
# For he's a jolly good fellow
# And so say all of us #
- (Laughter)
- I've never understood you properly.
You ought to have a medal.
Hear, hear!
I suppose there'll be
a public subscription.
- Not for those who are insured.
- I'm insured. Royal Salamander.
- Same 'ere.
- Mine's the Glasgow Sun.
Very good company.
- You insured, Mr Polly?
- Deserves to be.
(Chuckles) I'll lay Rusper's a bit sick
it didn't reach him.
(Sighs, clears throat and coughs)
You never know
how fires are gonna start.
Match, cigarette, anything.
Take Mr Polly here.
Lamp, wasn't it? Hm?
Er... yes, that's right.
Yes, upset the lamp.
I'd just lighted it.
Thing was aflare in a moment.
- So long.
- Good night.
Ha-ha! You played a brave man's part.
- If you don't get a medal, I... Well...
- Hear, hear!
- Good night, old man.
- Good night.
(Mr Rumbold) A man! A hero, I tell you!
(Mutters of assent)
(Sighs) I've been thinking.
It isn't going to be so bad after all.
We should get your insurance.
We can easily begin all over again.
(Sighs) Hm.
And get a better 'ouse.
I've always hated them stairs.
Choose a better position
where there's more doing.
Not 'alf so bad.
(Sighs) You wanted stirring up.
Forgot to cut me throat.
Hero. That's what they think.
(Sighs) One thing clear, though.
You don't like your life,
you can change it.
You can make it better,
you can make it worse.
Anyway, you can make it
more interesting.
Pull yourself together, Miriam!
Tell your mother what it's all about!
- (Sobs) He's gone!
- Gone? Gone where?
Gone for good! Oh, Ma!
He's run away and left me!
Oh, is that all?
Surprised he never done it sooner.
(Whistles tune and stops)
Cold sirloin for choice.
Wheaten bread, nut-brown ale.
My sort.
- (Footsteps)
- Law! Oh, I thought you was Jim.
Oh, I'm never Jim.
I believe I was having 40 winks,
if the truth was told.
- What can I do for you?
- Cold meat?
- There is some cold meat.
- And room for it.
There's some cold boiled beef.
A very crisp lettuce?
- New mustard?
- And a tankard?
A tankard.
Looking for work?
Yes, er, in a way.
What sort of work do you want?
I've never properly thought that out.
Been, erm, looking around for ideas.
Will you have your beef in the tap
or outside? That's the tap.
- (Man yelling, distant)
- Hear that?
- Hear what?
- Listen.
(Man yelling, distant)
- Hear it?
- Mm-hm.
That's the ferry,
and there isn't a ferryman.
- Could I?
- Can you punt?
Never tried.
Well, pull the pole out before you reach
the end of the punt, that's all.
(Man yelling)
(Man yelling)
Just coming, sir!
Just a moment.
Come along, young man, I'm in a hurry!
All right, sir.
- Good morning. Nice morning.
- Very nice morning, sir.
- Steady.
- All right.
- Ooh!
- Just... Just round the side, sir.
- Ooh!
- All right, sir, there we are.
Just sit there.
(lndistinct chatter)
Ow! Oh, oh!
(lndistinct chatter)
Oh! Oh!
Oh, excuse me, sir.
(Shouting angrily)
(Chuckles) You eat better than you punt.
I dare say you could learn to punt.
- Do you want a ferryman?
- I want an odd man about the place.
I'm odd all right. What's the wages?
Not much, but you'd get tips
and pickings.
I have a sort of feeling it'd suit you.
I have a sort of feeling it would.
Give me a trial.
I've more than half a mind.
I suppose you're all right?
I suppose you haven't done anything?
- Bit of arson.
- So long as you haven't the habit.
My first time, ma'am, and my last.
It's all right if you haven't been
to prison.
It's not what a man's happened to do
makes him bad.
Bringing it home to him and spoiling
his self-respect does the mischief.
You don't look a wrong 'un.
Have you been to prison?
- Oh, never.
- Nor reformatory?
Not me. Do I look reformed?
Can you paint and carpenter a bit?
Ripe for it.
Have a bit of cheese.
If I might.
Here's what you might have to do -
tar fences, dig potatoes
and swab out boats,
clean the boots and sweep the chimneys,
do a little house painting
and window cleaning,
sweep out and sand the tap and the bar,
clean pewter, wash glasses,
beat the carpets and mats,
clean the bottles - save the corks.
I shall want you to scrub the floors,
look after the ferry,
and deliver bottled beer and soda-water
siphons in the neighbourhood.
Ooh, and there's just one other thing -
you'll have to defend the premises in
general, especially at night,
and the orchard in particular.
Think you can do it?
I can but try.
I suppose when there's nothing else on
hand, I might even do a bit of fishing.
Think I'll go and take a look
at the garden. All right?
- (Girl) Hello.
- Hello.
- What are you called?
- Polly.
- I'm Polly.
- Then I'm Alfred.
- But I'm meant to be Polly.
- I was first.
(Chuckles) All right.
I'm going to be the ferryman.
I see.
Can you punt?
You ought to have seen me
earlier on this afternoon.
I can imagine it. I've seen the others.
- What others?
- That Uncle Jim has scooted.
- Scooted?
- He comes and scoots them.
- He'll scoot you too, I expect.
- I'm not a scooter.
Uncle Jim is. When Uncle Jim comes back,
he'll cut your insides out.
Perhaps very likely he'll let me see.
He don't like strangers about,
Uncle Jim don't.
He's a scorcher.
He only came back a little while ago
and he scooted three men.
- Really?
- He can, swear.
He's going to teach me,
soon as I can whistle properly.
- Teach you to swear?
- And spit.
- How old are you?
- Seven.
Who's Uncle Jim?
That little niece of mine
been saying things?
Bits of things.
Oh, I suppose I've got
to tell you sooner or later.
He's the drawback to this place,
that's what he is, the drawback.
I'd hoped you mightn't hear so soon.
Yes, but who is he?
She said he scoots people.
Oh, I suppose I've got to tell you.
He's my sister's husband, her second,
that child's stepfather,
in and out of jail
for the last seven years,
and me a widow woman
and helpless against his doings.
He takes me money
and he takes me things.
He won't let no man stay here
to protect me
or do the boats or work the ferry.
The ferry's getting a scandal.
I buy him off when it comes to it
but he's back again worse than ever,
prowling round and doing evil.
Er... biggish sort of man, I expect, yes?
- How much did you give him last time?
- Three golden pounds.
"That won't last long," he said, "but
there ain't no hurry. I'll be back."
Hmm, well, I'm, er...
I'm not one of your Herculaceous sorts,
you know.
Heh. Nothing very wonderful bicepitally.
You'll scoot. It ain't reasonable
to expect you to do anything else.
- How long since he was here last?
- Two months it is, come the seventh.
He came in through that very back door.
In he comes,
and down he sits in that chair.
"I come to torment you," he says,
"you old something."
Then begins at me.
No human being could ever have been
called such things before.
Made me cry out.
"And now," he said, "just to show
I ain't afraid of hurting you," he says,
he ups and twists me wrists.
You know, er...
you two oughtn't to be left.
Well, I don't see it's any affair
of mine.
I'd, er... I'd like to have a look
at him, though, somehow, before I go.
Not my business of course.
- (Loud knocking)
- What's that?
Only a customer.
Hmm. (Sighs)
Seems to be a good sort of crib...
for a fella who's looking for trouble.
(Jaunty whistling)
- (Rustling)
- (Stops whistling)
(Whistling hesitantly)
'Alf a mo, mister.
You the new bloke at the Potwell Inn?
Suppose I am.
You've got to shift.
Shift? Why?
Cos the Potwell Inn's my beat, see,
and you've got to shift.
Suppose I don't.
Look, I'm one of these blokes
what don't stick at things, see?
- I don't stick at nothing.
- Er, well...
- what do you think you'll do?
- What, if you don't clear out?
- Yes.
- Cor, you'd better. 'Ere...
What won't I do to you
once I start on you.
I'll make a mess of you.
I'll do you injuries.
I'll kick you ugly. I'll hurt you
in 'orrible ways, 'orrible, ugly ways.
You'll cry to see yourself, see.
Well, it's... it's too la-late
to go tonight.
I'll be round tomorrow early,
and if I find you...
We'll, er... We'll, er...
We'll consider your suggestions.
You'd better,
or I'll make a gory mess of you,
I'll cut bits off of you,
kick you ugly, cut your liver out,
spread it all about, I will.
I don't care a dead rat
one way or the other.
(Cockerel crows)
(Running footsteps)
He's scooted! I've been up to his room
and his bed hasn't even been slept in.
I knew it, I knew it.
Uncle Jim scooted him.
Somehow I didn't think he would.
Never mind.
Not my business. I'm not going
to have anything to do with it.
Nice place, pleasant woman,
pretty little girl too.
No concern of mine. What are they to me?
- (Cockerel)
- No.
No, no, no, no. Uncle Jim's right.
He has a claim.
Sort of a claim.
No, I... l... had a very agreeable holiday
and now I'd better go back to Miriam.
Miriam! Shan't go back to her,
I hate the sight of her.
No, better... better push on
somewhere else.
Yeah, that's it, that's the best thing.
Push on.
Look at that sky.
What's the matter?
Well, come on!
Ought to go back, oughtn't I?
I shouldn't run away again.
I've done that too often.
Got to stay and fight,
that's what I've got to do.
If I don't, I'll perish.
If I do, I'll perish.
Not my business!
Not my blasted business!
Wish I'd never set eyes
on the rotten inn!
Oh, why was I ever born?
One kick in the stomach'd settle
a chap like me!
(Breathing heavily)
Please! It isn't my affair!
(Sobbing quietly)
- You've come back.
- Rather.
He's mad drunk
and looking for the child.
- Where is she?
- Locked upstairs.
Right. I'll see to it.
- Out this way?
- Mm.
(Jim, slurring) # You love her,
she loves you
# And that's a pretty good sign
# That she's your tootsie-wootsie
# In the good old summertime!
# In the good old summertime
# In the good old summertime
# Strolling through a shady lane
# With your... #
- Your job.
- (Growls)
Bottles. Bottles!
Fightin' with bottles, eh?
I'll show him, fightin' with bottles.
Bottles, eh?
(Chicken clucking)
(Bottle smashing)
Get me out of this! (Growls)
Get me out of this!
Let me in! (Banging on door)
(Banging continues)
Let me in! I'll kill you for this!
(Banging continues)
(Grunting and yelling)
You keep out. Keep out!
You know I've got a weak chest.
I hate water.
This ain't fair fighting.
- This cold's getting to my marrow.
- You want cooling.
- You keep out in it.
- I've got to land, you fool.
You keep out. Don't you ever
land on this place again. Keep out.
I'll skin you for this.
You keep off, or I'll do worse to you.
I'll be back. Make no mistake,
I'll be back.
(Quiet chatter)
Where's that muddy-faced mongrel?
(Jim) Where's that bloody wisp
with the punt pole?
Come out of it, you potbellied
drunken degenerate you.
Come out and have your ugly face wiped!
Do you hear me?
I've got a thing for you.
He's back. I knew he'd come back.
Come out of my nest, you cuckoo, you,
or I'll cut your insides out!
Just give me that old poker handle
under the beer engine, will you?
I, er... I say. There's a chap out here
seems to want someone.
I think he appears to have brought you
a present of fish.
(Jim) He's hiding!
That's what he's doing - hiding!
I wish you'd come outside
and persuade him to go away.
His language isn't quite the thing...
for ladies.
It never was.
(Jim) Come out of
it, you pockmarked rat!
(Man) Now, my man,
be careful what you're saying.
(Jim) And who in all the world and
hereafter are you to call me "my man"?
You gold-eyed geezer, you.
- Restrain yourself!
- Bah.
- (Mr Polly) Stop it!
- Ah!
Now, that's the bloke I'm looking for.
- (Slap)
- Oh!
- Suffragettes everywhere!
- (All shouting)
(Crockery clattering)
Duck him! That's the best thing -
duck him!
- Get the clothes line, somebody!
- It's in the garden!
- He's fainted!
- A fit, perhaps!
- (Mr Polly) Look out!
- (Women gasp)
(Woman) Oh, Maurice.
(2nd woman) Oh, at least he's gone.
(Animated chatter)
Jim? Haven't you heard?
Jim's been lagged again, missus,
three days ago.
Jim in jail? What for?
Thieving a 'atchet.
Er... hatchet, did you say?
- Yes, a 'atchet.
- Oh.
- What did he steal a 'atchet for?
- He said he wanted a 'atchet.
I, er... I wonder what he wanted
a hatchet for.
Oh, I dare say he had a use for it.
Yes. Hmm.
I shall stick to it,
hatchets or no hatchets.
Erm... how much did you say
they'd given him?
- Ten days.
- Ten days.
That's what I said. (Sniffs) Ten days.
What are you doing down here?
It's past midnight.
You put that thing away. You know very
well I won't have a gun in the house.
You leave it down here, get rid of it
first thing in the morning.
Didn't you hear what I said? I don't
like 'em. Frighten me to death, they do.
Now you leave it down here
where it's safe.
Well, I... I don't want to do anything
you wouldn't like.
No wish to frighten you,
but perhaps you've forgotten.
Forgotten what?
- Oh, you mean Jim?
- Yes.
Due out today.
Hatchet, remember?
All the same,
I don't like the idea of firearms.
Nasty things. You never know
when they're going to go off.
Oh, don't worry, I'm not going to fire
it. That's not my idea at all.
Only going to use it for show,
frighten any trespassers.
I shan't get a wink of sleep,
not with that thing in the house.
Not even loaded. Besides,
it'll give me a bit of confidence.
don't you do anything silly now.
- Good night.
- Good night.
(Fabric ripping)
He's missed him, he's missed him!
Oi! Oi!
(Cow mooing in distance)
A medative and retrospectaceous pursuit.
Always promised meself,
first chance I've had.
Three years.
Three good, enjoyable years.
Worked hard too.
I wonder what's happened to her.
What's she doing?
Should've made sure she was all right.
Oh, blow.
Well, I ought to go back,
oughtn't I?
Make sure she's not in want.
I don't have to see her,
of course, actually speak to her.
No, it would upset her, probably.
Caught many?
No, not many.
I was just wondering.
Would it put you out very much
if I went off for a day or two?
- Bit of a holiday?
- No.
No, that'll be all right.
There won't be much doing now
till Thursday.
(Bicycle bell)
(Bicycle bell)
- Can I have tea?
- Well, you can,
but our tea room's upstairs.
My sister's been cleaning it out
and it's a bit upset.
- It would be.
- I beg your pardon?
I said, er, I didn't mind. Up here?
I dare say there'll be a table.
Nothing like turning everything
upside down when you're cleaning.
It's my sister's way.
She'll be back soon, I expect.
It's a nice light room when it's tidy.
Shall I put you a table over here?
No, let me.
Unusual name, Polly. Polly & Larkins.
- Real, I suppose.
- Polly's my sister's name.
She married a Mr Polly.
- Widow, I presume.
- Three years, come October.
Found drowned, he was.
There was a lot of talk in the place.
Wouldn't have known him, my sister, if
not for his name sewn in his trousers.
- Must have been rather a shock to her.
- It was a shock.
But sometimes a shock's better
than a long agony.
Wasn't a particularly good sort,
I don't suppose, this, er, Mr Polly.
He was a wearing husband.
I often pitied my sister.
He was one of the sort that...
- Dissolute?
- No.
Not exactly dissolute.
Feeble's more the word.
Weak, he was. Weak as water.
- Business brisk?
- Mustn't grumble, we do quite nicely.
Was there an inquest
on this whatshisname... Polly?
- Of course.
- You're sure it was him?
- Who else could it have been?
- Oh, nobody. Oh, course.
I'll just go and get your tea.
Business all right,
Miriam all right, must be.
Doing nicely, Annie said.
Well, that's all I wanted to know,
isn't it?
Satisfied? Completely.
Good afternoon.
Aren't you gonna have your tea?
I wonder what's become of Jim.
Hmm. Yes, I wonder sometimes.
Whatever have we done
to deserve an evening like this, eh?
Look at it.
You know, sometimes
I think I live for sunsets.
- I don't see it does you any good.
- (Chuckles)
No, nor me, but I do.
Whenever there's signs of a good sunset
and I'm not too busy,
we ought to come and sit out here.
Time we were going in, old Potty,
supper to get.
Can't sit here forever, you know.