11: ESCAPE:

In the meantime, Cecil is languishing in the Colney Hatch Asylum. Opened in 1851, Prince Albert, the Prince Consort, had laid the foundation stone for what was to become the largest mental asylum for pauper lunatics. My Aunt has applied several times for his release into her care, but on each occasion it is refused. Refused. Refused. At that time the insane were regarded not merely as ill, but as morally defective. They had offended against the puritan ethic which demands that we rise above adversity, as did Job, who, sitting on his dunghill, responded to disaster and tragedy by declaring that God knew best in the best of all possible worlds. Therefore, an unbreachable dichotomy existed between the mad and the sane, with no possibility of redemption from either condition.

My Aunt becomes more and more agitated at her sonís incarceration in such a place and takes her distress to a Catholic Church where she kneels in the confessional box, the face of the priest barely seen behind the grille. "Bless me father for I have sinned" she says and having told him of her sonís agony, confesses more than she ought. "My daughter" says the Father "you are being punished for your sins. Say ten Hail Marys."

On to Holding My Breath

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