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Scene: The next morning, William begins teaching Danny the art of poaching. They’re crouching behind a fence post near some chickens.
William: Now keep very still. Don’t let them see you. If we just stay here a minute… Chickens like raisins too. Not as much as pheasants though. They adore them. My old dad didn’t stop there. (We see a chicken pecking at the ground near a paper cone similar to the one William pulled out of his pocket the night before.) He thought about it. And one day the idea hit him. Watch. (The chicken is getting closer.)Watch that one. (The chicken pecks in the cone and it becomes stuck on his head.) Gotcha! Come on. (They jump up and head over to the chicken.) You can prod her. Stroke her, go on. (Danny pets the chicken, but it doesn’t move.) You can do anything you like to her. She won’t move! If she was a pheasant we could snap her up right now. See that’s the beauty of it. That’s the poetry. It’s completely silent. Go on. (He removes the cone and tosses the bird aside.) The Sticky Hat, my old dad used to call it. (Danny examines the cone.) And it’s a landmark invention in the history of poaching. (They hear a car approaching.) Hello, it sounds like business. Come on.
A car is pulling into the filling station. It’s not running smoothly though, and it backfires often. Danny and William watch nearby.
Danny: Who’s this? Dad?
The passengers (a well-dressed man and woman) get out and head towards the office. It’s Miss Hunter (played by Jean Marsh) and Mr. Parker (played by John Grillo).
William: Danny, I’ve got a job for you. But not until I tip you the wink, all right?
Miss Hunter goes back to the car and honks the horn.
Hunter: Ah, morning. Mr. Smith?
Hunter: Name’s Hunter. District Council Child Welfare Department.(William shakes her hand.) This is my colleague Mr. Parker.
Parker: Housing. (He shakes William’s hand.)
William: Good morning.
Hunter: Now Mr. Smith, we’ve had a…
William: A report. Yes, I thought you might be getting one.
Hunter: Ah, did you indeed. Well, we’re empowered under Section 3–
William: If you want to inspect the place I’ve no objection. (Gesturing.)This is the workshop, office, stalls…
Hunter: Living accommodation?
William: Around the back. I’d be very happy to show you around.
Hunter: I see. Well, I’m glad you’re adopting a responsible attitude. Hmm.
Hunter and Parker head off, while William whispers something to Danny. William goes to join the inspectors while Danny gets tools from the workshop. The inspectors measure the caravan, the bathtub, the outhouse, etc. while Danny goes to work on their car.
Hunter: I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. A tin tub to wash in, a hole in the ground to… Do you really think this is the proper way to bring up a child in this day and age?
William: I do, Miss Hunter. In this day and age especially. Why don’t we discuss this over a cup of tea?
Hunter: According to our records, you didn’t send Danny to school until he was seven and a half. Now are you aware of the legal requirements?
William: Yes, I’m perfectly well aware. You see, I taught Danny myself.
Hunter: Oh. I’m afraid that just won’t do, Mr. Smith. Law’s quite clear. Attendance at a school is compulsory.
William: Unless alternative instruction is provided by a qualified teacher.
William: Well I am a qualified teacher.
William: I taught full-time before the War.
Hunter: Ah. Well, did it never occur to you that Danny might benefit from the companionship of children his own age? Hmmph!
She takes off towards the car with Parker in tow. Suddenly she spots Danny up to his elbows in her engine. She runs towards him.
Hunter: What are you doing? How dare you! Take your hands off my car! This is criminal damage! I shall prosecute! I shall–
William: We thought she sounded a bit rough when you drove up this morning. Do you have trouble starting her in the mornings?
Parker: She does.
William: Points, is it Danny?
Danny: And carburetor.
Danny: Fuel pump’s a bit wonky too. I can fix it, but it really needs a new one.
William: All right, Dan. We’ll leave you to it.
William: Your car’s in safe hands, Miss Hunter. He does know what he’s doing. Now come along and have a cup of tea.
Danny continues to work on the car while William leads the other two into the gipsy caravan.
William: (While he serves them tea.) Danny’s been tinkering with motor cars since… since he could walk. Mr. Parker, tea?
Mr. Parker: (Writing something down.) Mmm-hmm.
William: I suppose he’s the best nine-year-old mechanic in the world. I know I should’ve asked you first… Well I thought it would convince you that he hasn’t been wasting his time. You’re right. I should’ve made him go to school earlier. But… my wife died when he was four months old. (Miss Hunter and Mr. Parker look surprised.) He was all I had. (He looks at a photo of Danny’s mother on the mantelpiece.)
Hunter: Fine looking girl. (She and Parker look ashamed as they drink their tea.)
A horn beeping alerts them that Danny has finished and they go out to the car.
William: Sounds like he’s ready for us.
Danny: If you’d like to try her.
Hunter starts the car up and it purrs.
Hunter: (Delighted.) Well…
Parker: Bless my soul!
Hunter: Danny, thank you very much. Well, I’m convinced. And I can assure you you won’t be hearing anymore from the council. Danny, you’re a lovely boy. You’ve got the most… spiffing father. Ready, Mr. Parker?
Parker: I’m probably talking out of turn, Mr. Smith. But if I were you, I’d hang on to this bit of land of yours . Say no more. Mum’s the word, eh?
Hunter: (Backing out of the driveway.) Bye! And God bless you both.
William: Well done, Dan.
Danny: Piece of cake.
William: (Starting towards office.) Go… uh… I… Do those tools. Don’t forget them there.
Danny picks up the tools and follows his father.
Danny: About last night. Did you ever do that when I’m asleep and I don’t know?
William: (Jacking up a car.) Not since your mother died. I made a vow then that I wouldn’t go out poaching until you were old enough to be left alone at night.
Danny: I’m old enough now. You can go out whenever you like.
William: (Looks at him.) Do you mean that?
Danny: As long as you tell me.
William: Of course I will.