Saturday, February 11, 2012

Turning into Catherine Morland

"If I understand you rightly, you had formed a surmise of such horror as I have hardly words to -- Dear Miss Morland, consider the dreadful nature of the suspicions you have entertained. What have you been judging from? Remember the country and the age in which we live. Remember that we are English, that we are Christians. Consult your own understanding, your own sense of the probable, your own observation of what is passing around you. -- Does our education prepare us for such atrocities? Do our laws connive at them? Could they be perpetrated without being known, in a country like this, where social and literary intercourse is on such a footing, where every man is surrounded by a neighbourhood of voluntary spies, and where roads and newspapers lay everything open? Dearest Miss Morland, what ideas have you been admitting?"

Henry Tilney makes a good point, one that has often inspired me to disregard fears and paranoia in favor of reliance on my rational mind. But since I had my daughter, I find that I have more and more trouble not admitting such ideas into my rattled brain. Suddenly, every news story seems to portend the end of civilization as we know it, each person I pass on the street seems potentially maniacal, and I can barely sleep in the house alone without convincing myself that intruders are lurking just outside my door. It's like my brain has wandered out of control and no reasoned admonition can reign it back in.

Mr. Tilney laughs at my foolishness, and I of course agree that constant consideration of the worse case scenario is no way to live one's life, but the truth is that horrors do happen, atrocities are committed, and escaping them is purely a matter of luck. So am I falling victim to flights of fancy rivaling Mrs. Radcliffe's worst imaginings? Most certainly, but rather than continue to upbraid myself, I think I'll take these musings as a reminder to savor every blissful moment of security and happiness I am so privileged as to be able to enjoy. Oh, and I think I'll upgrade the home security system. Can't hurt, right?    

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