What is that? I ask the Owner.
It is a Humane Mousetrap, says the Owner.
What are you doing with My Cheese? I ask the Owner.
I am offering it to the Mouse, says the Owner, in exchange for his entering the Humane Mousetrap.
Why do you want the Mouse to enter the Humane Mousetrap? I ask.
The Mouse has taken to Weeing on the Kitchen Floor, says the Owner, and the Wee to Mouse ratio has become too significant to ignore..
How Appalling I say.
How Swiftly doth the Moral Dog change his Tune, says the Man.
I was a Puppy, I say. Are the Indiscretions of Youth never to be Forgotten, but held over the Moral Dog like a Criminal Record for the Rest of his Days?
No and yes, says the Man, and it is not Your Cheese.
Surely, having been offered My Cheese, I say, ignoring the Man, he will simply return for more.
Not from Mill Hill, says the Owner. It is too far for a Mouse, even in the presence of Isle of Mull Cheddar.
What if all the persons from Mill Hill take the same approach and bring their Mice to Highgate? I ask. We may simply Swap Mice, and in the process participate in an Outrageous Waste of Cheese, I say. It is well-known that Mice are completely indiscriminate regarding Cheese and would not know their Lincolnshire Poacher from their Isle of Mull Cheddar if their lives depended upon it.
Neither would the Moral Dog, says the Owner, were he not to have read the Labels.
That is beside the Point, I say. We have an Unspoken agreement regarding the Isle of Mull Cheddar, I say. I am entitled to five percent, with an option of a further five percent of the Lincolnshire Poacher contingent on an exceptional Performance Review. I wish to be certain that the Cheese being allotted to the Mouse does not come out of my share, I say.
It does not, says the Owner.
Excuse me, says the Man, it had better not come out of my Share. We have an agreement that ninety-five percent of the Isle of Mull Cheddar is mine. And do not imagine that the Lincolnshire Poacher is subject to different rules.
You are both being selfish, says the Owner, if we do not give Cheese to the Mouse it will continue to Wee on the floor and steal the coffee beans. Sometimes we all have to make a Sacrifice for the Common Good. Sometimes we all have to sacrifice a little of what we have in order to Reap the Common Rewards. Sometimes we have to be Open and Generous with our giving in order to move forwards on the great Moral Wheel of Life.
That is True, says the Man, but the Sacrifice appears disproportionate since the Cheese given to the Mouse is ninety-five percent mine and only five per cent the Moral Dog’s, assuming he continues not to Wee on the Floor, and the Lady with the Pink Trousers in the Park has no Further Complaints.
It is True, I say, but the Sacrifice also appears disproportionate to the Moral Dog, whose five percent is already so meagre a portion of Cheese that any further reduction is positively Inhumane.
Honestly, says the Owner, you Two are So Unhelpful. I am disappointed by your Lack of Solidarity. What on earth do you expect me to give to the Weeing Mouse?
Give it the Cottage Cheese, I say. I do not like that, I say.
Neither do I, says the Man, that is an excellent idea.
Absolutely not, I like the Cottage Cheese, says the Owner. It is One Hundred Percent Mine.
I am stunned beyond words by such perfidy. Although only briefly. Oh how the truth is revealed, I say. How little scraping at the surface is required to expose the Double Standards the Owner employs, I say. Hurld headlong flaming from the Ethereal Sky, With hideous ruine and combustion down To bottomless perdition, I say. The ways of Mice and Men are
Is That Dog quoting Milton? Says the Man.
Oh for goodness sake, says the Owner, without so much as a Guilty Twitch, it is Only a bit of Cheese.
I am considering going to Mill Hill with the Mouse.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.