In this coastal village in Cornwall, England, Pascoe, the preacher, lives in a small cottage near the Wesleyan Chapel, which is next to the tavern. They are overlooked by a lighthouse on the cliff.
The bell is ringing for the evening service at the chapel, as the congregation approaches, singing a hymn together (‘Der Hell’gen Seelen fürchten nun micht mehr den Tod’ / ‘God’s Chosen People shall not pay the price of sin!’). Tallan, the landlord at the tavern, and his teenage son, Jack, hear the crowd approaching and stop them on their journey to suggest that wine is better than prayer at keeping the devil away from them (‘Halt da!’ / ‘Stay friends!’). The people enthusiastically join them for a drink, although one of the villagers, Harvey, protests and speaks out, reminding them that Pascoe forbade them from drinking on the Sabbath. They have nothing to fear today, though, as Pascoe is far away and so he will not catch them drinking.
The increasing wind heralds an incoming
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