Day 264: William and the Brains Trust

The facts

Professor Knowle descended from the train at the little wayside station. After a short distance he came upon a boy sitting on a gate, sharpening a stick with a pen-knife. “Am I on the right road to Marleigh, my boy?” he asked.
“What part do you want to go to?” said the boy.
“The Church Room,” said Professor Knowle.
”I’ll take you a shqrt cut over the fields, if you like,” said the boy.
That, thought the Professor, would be very nice. Together they set off across the fields. The boy, the Professor decided, was not very intelligent. Certainly this country child did not seem mentally alert. His face wore a wooden, almost a blank, expression.


The BBC’s popular wartime radio programme The Brains Trust stars a popular academic, Professor Knowle. He has spawned a parody music-hall act, Professor Know-all.

Professor Knowle has been booked to give a lecture to a high-brow gathering in the village on the very same night that Professor Know-all has been booked to perform at a low-brown concert party given by local RAF airmen.

“It was the boy’s mistake, of course,” said the Professor, “and quite an understandable one.”
“Did he say what his name was?” said Mr Markson.
“He said it was William Brown. He’s not to be blamed, of course. He couldn’t know what complications would ensue…”
“I wonder…” said the head master thoughtfully. But it was no use wondering. He could imagine the wooden blankness of William’s expression as he persisted that he had misunderstood the Professor and thought that he meant the Village Hall. Better leave the matter as it was.

Despite it being abundantly obvious what is going to happen once William gets involved in the story, and despite an unusual lack of involvement of or reference to William, it’s still a fun ride with a happy ending.