Debris eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 51 pages of information about Debris.

MYSTERY OF CARMEL.

The Mission floor was with weeds o’ergrown,
And crumbling and shaky its walls of stone;
Its roof of tiles, in tiers and tiers,
Had stood the storms of a hundred years. 
An olden, weird, medieval style
Clung to the mouldering, gloomy pile,
And the rhythmic voice of the breaking waves
Sang a lonesome dirge in its land of graves. 
As I walked in the Mission old and gray—­
    The Mission Carmel at Monterey.

An ancient owl went fluttering by,
Scared from his haunt.  His mournful cry
Wakened the echoes, till roof and wall
Caught and re-echoed the dismal call
Again and again, till it seemed to me
Some Jesuit soul, in mockery—­
Stripped of rosary, gown, and cowl—­
Haunted the place, in this dreary owl. 
Surely I shivered with fright that day,
Alone in the Mission, old and gray—­
    The Mission Carmel at Monterey.

Near the chapel vault was a dungeon grim,
And they say that many a chanted hymn
Has rung a knell on the moldy air
For luckless errant prisoned there,
As kneeling monk and pious nun
Sang orison at set of sun. 
A single window, dark and small,
Showed opening in the heavy wall,
Nor other entrance seemed attained
That erst had human footstep gained. 
I paused before the uncanny place
And peered me into its darksome space. 
Had it of secret aught to tell,
That locked up darkness kept it well. 
I turned, and lo! by my side there stood
A being of strangest naturehood. 
Startled, I glanced him o’er and o’er,
Wondering I noted him not before. 
His form was stooped with the weight of years,
And on his cheek was a trace of tears;
Over all his face a shade of pain
That deepened and vanished, and came again. 
Fixed he his woeful eyes on me—­
Through my very soul they seemed to see. 
And lightly he laid his hand on mine—­
His hand was cold as the vestal shrine. 
“’Tis haunted,” he said, “haunted, and he
Who dares at night-noon go with me
To this cursed place, by phantoms trod,
Must fear not devil, man, nor God.” 
“Tell me the story,” I cried, “tell me!”
And frightened was I at my bravery. 
A curious smile his thin lips curved,
That well had my bravery unnerved. 
And this is the story he told that day
To me in the Mission old and gray—­
    The Mission Carmel at Monterey.

“Each midnight, since have seventy years
Begun their cycle around the spheres,
Two faces have looked from that window there. 
One is a woman’s, young and fair,
With tender eyes and floating hair. 
Love, and regret, and dumb despair,
Are told in each tint of the fair sweet face. 
The other is crowned with a courtly grace,
Gazing, with all a lover’s pride,
On the beautiful woman by his side. 
Anon! a change flits o’er his mien,

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Project Gutenberg
Debris from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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