The coffee shop is decorated with hearts and flowers. Happy Valentine’s Day, says the Coffee Man when the Owner Orders Coffee. Happy Valentine’s Day, he says to the Man. Happy Valentine’s Day Hergest, he says to me..
Thankyou, says the Owner. That is Very Sweet of You. Was that not Sweet of him?
It was, says the Man, looking at the news on his phone.
What is Valentine’s Day? I ask the Owner, and why is it Happy?
It is a day on which, traditionally, adoring couples Pledge their Troth, says the Owner. I get the feeling she is talking to the Man rather than to me.
It is Commercial Nonsense, says the Man. It is not clear, even, that St Valentine Actually Existed. His story is as Full of Inconsistencies as the Prime Minister’s new Cabinet. I do not think he knew anything about Troths.
I hope you are not adopting a Troth, I say. They are very smelly and I have heard that they eat Billy Goats.
That is Trolls, says the Owner. We do not Pledge those. And even if St Valentine Did Not Exist, the Idea of St Valentine Exists.
You have been reading Terry Pratchett again, says the Man.
Terry Pratchett said that just because something is a Metaphor that doesn’t mean it Isn’t Real, says the Owner.
How do you Pledge a Troth? I ask.
The traditional way, says the Owner, involves Protestations of Undying Love delivered to the front door via the Postman.
It must be Exhausting for the Postman, I say. Imagine having to deliver Protestations of Undying Love All Day.
Indeed, says the Owner. Although Our Own Postman appears to have had a Fairly Restful Day today, owing to having No Protestations to Deliver.
I can hear that, you know, says the Man.
That was the idea, says the Owner, and she flounces over to fetch the coffee.
Don’t look at me like that. says the Man.
I am not Looking like Anything, I say.
I do not believe in a Festival of Troths, says the Man.
I know that, I say. You are entirely within your rights to ignore it, I say.
Then why are you looking Accusing? Asks the Man. You look like Squeaky Cat when he has been in the Washing Machine.
I am reflecting, I say, that is All. I cannot help it if my Eyes are at times reminiscent of my Dear Friend Squeaky Cat, who always has my Best Interests at Heart.
On what are you reflecting? Asks the Man.
Only that being on the other end of a Lead from a Woman who has not received Protestations about Troths will be no Walk in the Park, I say, although I am also speaking metaphorically, I add, since it will, in fact, be a Walk in the Park. But of course you must do what is Right. I will Bear any Consequent Unintended Yanking Nobly.
Oh for Goodness Sake, says the Man. I surrender. The Troth will arrive at lunchtime. Suitably Pledged and Protesting.
Excellent, I say. I hope you will include a Dog Biscuit.
Honestly, says the Man. I get No Peace.
Later the Owner is thrilled when a Delivery Person appears with Flowers and Dog Biscuits. I should not have Misjudged the Man, she says. His Troth was Plighted All Along. Later, our walk in the park is a real Walk in the Park, and we visit my friend the Butcher for something Nice for Dinner.
The Moral Dog, Indispensably Wise in Matters of the Heart. Expert on Troths.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.