Towards the end, I squeeze in an anecdote about Charles Laughton. Listening, I realised I didn’t quite get the end line as I first heard it, so I’ll recapitulate.
Laughton, the famed movie actor, is at a Christmas dinner. The household is into creating its own entertainment, so everyone is invited to perform a piece that embodies, for them, the spirt of Christmas. When it comes to his turn, Laughton recites the 23rd Psalm (The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want), to his audience’s delight. Later in the round, an aged aunt who has been dozing through much of the evening is prompted for her contribution. Not having heard the great actor, she too recites the psalm.
Though initially embarrassed by the repetition, the way in which she speaks soon stills her listeners, and a tear comes to everyone’s eye. Even Laughton is deeply moved and his host quietly asks him how this old lady has managed such an impact. Laughton replies: “I know the psalm, but she knows the shepherd”.