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September 18th. The Clapham Omnibus.

I do not think it is Reasonable, I say, that a Moral Dog should be on a Lead in the Coffee Shop, I say.

It is perfectly Reasonable, says the Owner. Yesterday the Moral Dog Engaged in a Possessive Fashion with the Croissant of the Lady with the Blue Trousers.

I do not think it is Reasonable, I say, that a Moral Dog should not have his Own Croissant, I say.

It was not Your Own Croissant, says the Owner.

She was not Eating It, I say. Food Waste is one of the Greatest Environmental Problems We Face Today, I say. I was Doing My Bit, I say. Croissants are Made for Sharing, I say.

She was Eating It, says the Owner. She had Paused to Breathe, says the Owner. And made the Fatal Mistake of Admiring the Moral Dog, says the Owner. Who took it as an Invitation, says the Owner. Unreasonably, says the Owner.

I only had a Bit, I say. It was a Reasonable Bit, I say. Less than three Quarters, I say.

You sucked the Rest, says the Owner. We have Already Discussed the Unwelcome Nature of the Moral Dog’s Slobber, says the Owner. The Man did not like finding it in his Armpits when he Woke, says the Owner. The Lady with the Blue Trousers had Similar Feelings about her Croissant, says the Owner. If you recall, says the Owner, we had to Buy her Another One, says the Owner.

The Moral Dog’s Croissant Action was a Perfectly Reasonable Mistake to make, I say. Any Moral Dog would have done the same, I say.

The concept of what is Reasonable in the Coffee Shop is a Rather more Objective One than the Moral Dog suggests, says the Owner. This is why a Reasonable Person would not Trust the Moral Dog further than they could Throw Him in the Presence of a Croissant, says the Owner. And they Could not Throw Him Very Far, says the Owner. Given the Arrangement of Legs, Ears and Other Parts that make Getting a Proper Grip into an Endeavour Fraught with Risk.

I will be Reasonable from Now On, I say. Do I not look Reasonable? I say.

Not from the perspective of the Man on the Clapham Omnibus, says the Owner.

What has He got to Do With It? I ask. I have not Eaten his Croissant, I say. I do not suppose they have Croissants in Clapham, I say. It is South of the River, I say.

The Man on the Clapham Omnibus is a Hypothetical Ordinary and Reasonable Person, says the Owner, used by the courts in English law when it is necessary to decide whether Someone has acted in a Reasonable Way, says the Owner. The Man is Victorian, and is a Nondescript Person, in this case One who really enjoys his Croissant, against whom Conduct can be Measured, says the Owner.

If he is Victorian, I say, he would be Looking a Bit Rough by Now, I say. Without Wishing to be Too Indelicate About It, I say, I suspect he is No Longer Hungry, I say.

He has been updated, says the Owner. In 2014, in a Supreme Court Law Case the Eminent Judge Lord Reed said that the Clapham Omnibus now has many passengers. The Most Venerable is the Reasonable Man, who was born during the reign of Victoria but remains in Vigorous Health despite his high Croissant Intake.

This all Sounds Most Unlikely, I say. Where is he Getting his Croissants, I say.

I expect they have been brought Onto the Bus by the Newer Passengers, says the Owner. Lord Reed said that amongst the Other Passengers are the Right-Thinking Member of Society, the Officious Bystander, the Reasonable Parent, the Reasonable Landlord, and the Fair-minded and Informed Observer, all of whom have had Season Tickets for Many Years. In recent Times some More Diverse Passengers have Got onto the Bus, says the Owner. I expect there was a Moral Dog amongst them, says the Owner.

I bet he didn’t get a Vote, I say. I bet they were too busy Eating their Croissants to look at him, I say. Someone should Do Something, I say. Now is the time to rescue this Poor Dog from these dreadful Pastry-Munching Goody-Goodies and Teach them the Error of their Ways, I say. It is the Kind of thing, I say, that Superdog would take on, I say, Were there to be Such a Dog, I say.

They are not Goody-Goodies, says the Owner, and their Ways are not in Error, says the Owner. They are Legal Fictions who are By Definition Reasonable, says the Owner. And their Dog is on his Lead, says the Owner. Before you ask, says the Owner.

It is One Thing to Engage in a Philosophical Dispute with the Owner, but Completely Another to take on an Entire Busload of Self-Righteous Persons Stuffed with Croissants whilst Dragging their Starving Dog around Clapham as if Dogline did not Exist. The Moral Dog resorts to the Last Refuge of the Wounded Dog and expresses with his Eyebrows the Effect on his Moral Soul.

Would your Sad-Looking but Lovely Dog like a Croissant? Says the Coffee Shop Man.

He is not Always Lovely, says the Owner.

It will Otherwise be Wasted, says the Coffee Shop Man.

Why is that? Asks the Owner.

An Earlier Person Left it Behind, says the Coffee Shop Man. In their Rush to Catch the Bus Outside, says the Coffee Shop Man. He said give it to Someone Deserving, says the Coffee Shop Man. Like That Dog who Loves croissants, says the Coffee Shop Man.

Which Bus was he Rushing to Catch? Asks the Owner Faintly.

I think it was Going to Clapham, says the Coffee Shop Man.

Argh, says the Owner.

The Croissant is Excellent. Thank Goodness Someone Decent has Got on the Bus. I hope he makes them Feed the Dog.

Categories: dignity dog dog philosophy

Hergest the Hound

I am a dog of many thoughts.

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