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Spencer liked the story in St Luke Chapter 7, in which after marvelling at the centurion's faith, Jesus heals his sick servant without entering the house. Bringing this into his own time and place, Spencer set the scene in the maid's bedroom in the attic of his home, a room which he too never entered. Sometimes he heard strange voices coming from the room which he later discovered was simply the maid talking through the wall to another servant. Thus, the biblical narrative reminded him of experiences in his own life. These also included kneeling in prayer at church, and Cookham villagers praying around the bed of a dying man, a custom his mother had told him about. The youth on the bed has Spencer's own features.

August 2004