After reading the short story that this film is based on, I don't think H.G. Wells wrote the character of Fotheringay as an "idiot," but rather as the everyman of his time, 1898. This most delightful story may be found here:
I hope you enjoy the story as much as I did. I understand why Roland Young was cast as Fotheringay, as he gives a delicately witty and yet subtle and dark performance. He does the story justice, which is not always true of film adaptations.
"Wow. Our town has only had a Whole Foods for three weeks and we already have our first gay kids."