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John Burt CHAPTER ONE THE PROPHETS PRAYER KNEEL, John. Take off your hat, lad. Let us pray! An old man and a boy clung like wreckage to a rock which marked the outer edge of Black Reef. The flickering light of a lantern accentuated the gloom of the night; a night famous in the annals of New England for the storm which tore the coast from Quoddy Head to Siasconset. Darkness fell at three oclock that murky November day, and the half gale from the south waned, only to gain strength for the blast which, at turn of the tide, roared in from the northeast. Black Reef is a jagged spur of the rock-walled coast which holds the Atlantic at bay in the crescent sweep of beach and cliff from Nantasket to Cohasset. Forty years ago the scattered houses of a few farmers nestled among the hills well back from the beach. The lanterns light revealed two figures worthy the pencil of a Hogarth. Bared to the gale, the old mans scant white locks streamed back from a forehead massive and unfurrowed. Wonderful eyes of steel gray glowed with fires of fanaticism beneath dark, shadowing eyebrows scarcely touched with the rime of years.
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