Hergest, says the Owner, why are you Lurking under the Table?
I am not Lurking, I say, Lurking is a behaviour usually associated with Ducks.
What would you Call It then? Asks the Owner.
I am merely On Duty Under the Table, I say.
It looks like Lurking, says the Owner.
It may look like Lurking, I say, but the Moral Nature of an Act is Defined not by its Appearance but by its Motive. I am Awaiting Emergencies.
What Kind of Emergencies? Asks the Owner, in Tones which I feel represent Unreasonable Suspicion, given the Accommodating and Adoring Nature of the Moral Dog.
You might need Assistance, I say, should the Floor Beneath the Table become Unexpectedly Untidy. The Moral Dog is At The Ready.
I see, says the Owner. Was the Moral Dog planning to use the Hoover?
I was Certainly Planning on Hoovering, I say. After a Fashion, I say.
I must take care not to Drop Anything then, says the Owner, lest I make More Work for the Lurking Moral Dog.
Do not Strain Yourself, I say. It would be No Trouble, I say.
The Owner looks under the Table. Oh, she says, you seem to have Missed a Bit. There is a Sock on the Floor. It appears Pre Chewed. And that looks like a Small Portion of Squeaky Cat over there.
Ah, I say. I offer only a Highly Specialised and Ecologically Sound Hoovering Service. I focus on Recycling.
I see, says the Owner. That is Indeed Commendable. What Highly Specialised Things is the Moral Dog offering to Hoover?
I hadn’t thought exactly, I say. But I will Know them when I See Them.
I think I understand, says the Owner. The Moral Dog would not wish to recycle a Sock or Squeaky Cat, but might See His Way to the Recycling of Cheese.
Well, I say, since you Mention It, One would not want to leave Cheese on the Floor. I have heard that in London one is never more than Three Feet from a Rat.
The Moral Dog is Very Noble, says the Owner. The Lurking is now Fully Explained. And I imagined you were Begging for Cheese.
Of Course Not, I say, wearing my Hurt face. When considering the Philosophical Nature of the Moral Act, Intention is Everything. The Moral Dog’s Motives are Pure. Any Consequent Acquisition of Cheese is Purely Incidental and, Therefore, Morally Sound.
Of Course, says the Owner, looking Ashamed. The Moral Dog would not wish to Use the Owner’s Gullibility by Devious Means. How Could I have Thought Such a Thing?
Indeed, I say, in a Dignified Fashion. How Could You?
I am So Glad we have Arrived at a Morally Satisfactory Understanding.
What are you doing? Asks the Man a moment later. Did you just Feed That Dog your Cheese?
No, says the Owner, it Fell from my Fork on the Way to my Face.
That Dog has Hoovered it Up, says the Man. I thought we had Agreed he Must Not Be Rewarded for Lurking in Pursuit of Cheese.
I was Not Rewarding Lurking, says the Owner, it was an Accidental Cheese Act. The Moral Dog is On Duty for Emergencies.
Is he now, says the Man. I think I should finish your Cheese.
The Owner puts on her Hurt face. How can you Suggest that the Moral Owner would seek to Reward the Moral Dog for Lurking? She asks. The Moral Nature of an Act is Defined not by its Appearance but by its Motive.
Sometimes, says the Man, it is Exhausting, Living with a Moral Dog.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.