Search Our New Beta Online Collections!

Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 132, September 30, 1853

<< Back to search results

View this document

From collection:Part of:

Identifier: DX04150533

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 132, September 30, 1853

Description: Describes a visit to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.


palpable obscure, and black and dark night we go, the cavern arch expands and is lost in gloom, and we’re in the Rotunda. A monstrous subterranean Vestibule, a hundred feet in height, two hundred in length & one-hundred and fifty in width; roofed in by one vast rock, sans chink or crevice, save where at its borders a jagged cornice work may be descried. Monstrous rock buttresses are around, and from this huge oval-shaped hall on either side two galleries diverge. But none of this could we descry through the murky air, had not Stephen [Bishop], (who has heretofore sported one or two lines from Virgil which he has acquired parrot-fashion, un-knowing their meaning;) lit a Bengal light. Up it sparkles, fizzing and flaring; the yawning rock ribs and giant boulders start out into grim distinctness, the great chamber in all its heighth, depth and hugeness is at once though but for brief space seen. We pass on, turning neither to the right nor the left. Great, black walled Bat Room on the former, (reflecting no ray of light from torch or lanthorn) lay unvisited; and equally so, on the latter, Audubon’s Avenue, with its dimly seen roof, and wide space, its natural well and columnar stalagmites up rising to the roof, its mystic cloud like ceiling, and entire length of a quarter of a mile. Little Bat. Room, a branch of it, pit 280 feet deep, Bats in it in water. But down the Main cave we speed, Kentucky cliffs (thus denominated from assumed semblance ‘twixt them and rocks on that named river,) are passed and descending brief space we are in the Church. Another great hall, perchance a hundred feet across, and sixty in height and perched up on the left a rock pulpit; above wherefrom sermons have been preached, whether prompted by theological cox combing or an amiable intent to justify and screen slumber thereby induced I know not. Methinks however, that if an audience of Troglodytes could be convened, and they have not varied their social relations since the time of Heroditus, (I think

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1853-09-30

Type(s): Diary

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: African Americans
Mammoth Cave (Ky.)


| More

Disclaimer: We are working to create a web-based collection index. Information available through this website should be considered "draft only."