Saturday, July 07, 2018

A paradox you live with

--- Sister Gertrude, in Muriel Spark's  The Abbess of Crewe (1974)

From Chapter One, published in The Scotsman,

‘Gertrude, my excellent nun, my learned Hun, we have a problem and we don’t know what to do with it.’

‘A problem you solve,’ says Gertrude.

‘Gertrude,’ wheedles the Abbess, ‘we’re in trouble with Rome. The Congregation of Religious has started to probe. They have written delicately to inquire how we reconcile our adherence to the Ancient Rule, which as you know they find suspect, with the laboratory and the courses we are giving the nuns in modern electronics, which, as you know, they find suspect.’

‘That isn’t a problem,’ says Gertrude. ‘It’s a paradox.’

‘Have you time for a very short seminar, Gertrude, on how one treats of a paradox?’

A paradox you live with,’ says Gertrude, and hangs up.