It is New Year’s Eve. We have had to leave the Edge of the World and Return to Reality. All of us did this in a Small Flying Machine. Some of us had to do this in a Box marked Animal. As we leave the Airport on the Edge of the World, I look back at the Horizon. Just where the sea is falling over the Edge of the World I think I can see the faintest hint of land. I howl.
Do not howl, says the Owner, when she takes me for Ablutions on a Patch of Sorrowful Grass beside the A30, we will Return Again. And in the meantime the Isles of Scilly are Always There for us.
I do not see how the Isles of Scilly Being Always There for Us is helpful, I say, if we are not On Them.
You can keep the Isles of Scilly in your Heart, says the Owner.
I do not think they will fit, I say, there are several Lighthouses and I am a Dog not a Planet.
They will fit, says the Owner, Hearts are Surprisingly Stretchy. You can have Space for Islands in your Heart in the same way that you have Space for People in your Heart.
I had not realised there were People in my Heart, I say. I am surprised I have not felt them Moving Around.
They are not Moving Around, says the Owner. The People and Places that Change your Life become a Permanent Part of Your Heart. You take them Everywhere.
I did not realise that Hearts had such impressive capabilities. Do you take the Man everywhere in your Heart? I ask.
Yes or course, says the Owner. And I also take you, Hergest. Everywhere.
I rather like the thought that the Owner takes me Everywhere in her Heart, particularly as this does not involve putting me in a Box Marked Animal. Then I wonder Who Else she has in there and whether I may meet them late at night when I am Least Expecting It. You said the Prime Minister has also changed our Lives, I say. Do you also take Him Everywhere in your Heart?
Certainly not, says the Owner. He has not been invited. Only Invited people are kept in your Heart.
This is a Great Relief, I say. Imagine how many Hearts the Prime Minister would be in otherwise. If he got an Itch he would not know where to find it.
The Owner pulls a face that indicates that the Itch of the Prime Minister is not her Prime Concern. Carrying someone in your Heart is not like carrying a bit of them, it is more like holding them close, she says. I imagine, for example, that you also have Caspar in your Heart?
I suppose I do, I say, and it is particularly comforting to have him there, given the Fluff. I also have Bercow and Houdini, and Lucifer with the Nose Cage there too. They will have missed me from the Park. And of course I have Squeaky Cat, even though his ears have now come off and he looks rather more like a Sloth. I realise my Heart is Larger than I Thought.
Well, just think, says the Owner, just as you have Caspar and Bercow and Houdini and Lucifer in your Heart when you are on the isles of Scilly, you will also have the Isles of Scilly in your Heart when you are in London. You will have the blue of the sea and the glow of the setting sun, the smell of the seaweed and the call of the curlews.
There are also a lot of Rocks, I say.
Those too, says the Owner.
We gaze at the patch of Sorrowful Grass together. I suppose, I say, Missing Things is the Price we Pay for Having Things that are Worth Missing. So rather than being Unhappy that we are missing the Isles of Scilly we should be Happy that we have an Isles of Scilly to Miss, and to hold in our Hearts.
Indeed, says the Owner, looking more Cheerful, that is Exactly it. That is Very Profound.
It is Profound, but it is not Surprising. The Moral Dog has already been shown to possess a Heart Large Enough for Several Lighthouses and an Awful Lot of Rocks, as well as Several Dogs, one with Extra Fluff, an Owner, a Man and a Squeaky Cat whose Ears have Fallen Off. With a Heart as Vast as this it seems to me that a certain amount of Profoundness is the Least you can Expect.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.