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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 136, September 30, 1853

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Identifier: DX04154177

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 136, September 30, 1853

Description: Describes a visit to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.

Transcription:

strangely shaped rock pendants, like unto geologic hams, petrified, canvas — covered swine’s flesh, in varying joints. It must have been waterworn in the rock, which may have offered more or less resistance, according to its hardness. From the right here branches forth an Avenue to the Mammoth Dome, the hugest one in this subterranean world. A vast hall, black as Erebus, three hundred feet by a hundred in diameter, two hundred in heighth; standing high on the loosely piled rock floor you may feel the awful pall of darkness blanking out all light, life, and creation, even as though they had passed away for evermore. Black-brooding Night rests solemnly, intensely, terribly on you. A place where Time, and Space exist not, where the Majesty of Darkness is everything. A rapid, painful, booming, humming, brain-pulsation, a feeling of utter insignificance and awe are with you. Fit place this for the awful Titan-born twins Otus and Ephialtes to hold the sateless god of blood captive, fit place for Ares to lie prone in brazen chains, threefold bound at their feet, as in Flaxman’s drawing. But back speeding, we from River Hall approach the Dead Sea. Fast grip on the iron-handrail now, (every necessarily here placed), for the slippery rock, down-sloping, glides off into a murky pool thirty feet below, some two and twenty deep. But for aught you see it may be twenty fathom, and with sullen plunge and dismal plash go the stones we hurl over to its bottom. A steep ladder next, and firm holding to each round down we go; and so deviously for a few steps round a rock corner, — an ugly bit, for the rock-floor slopes horribly, and you have the full conciousness [consciousness] of what is below, in mind. But ‘tis done, and we near the rivers. To the right flows Styx, unseen, though over it we pass, (after threading a rough avenue,) on the so-called Natural Bridge, a chaos of rocks fallen from above; and before us, on the left hand, approached by a muddy slope lies Lethe’s sluggish pool. Just beyond the Bridge the rivers join, though not from any diserna-

Rights: NoC-US

Place:

Dates: 1853-09-30

Type(s): Diary
Page

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

Subjects: Diaries
Mammoth Cave (Ky.)
Travel
Caves
Nature
Mythology, Greek

Permalink:
http://collections.mohistory.org/resource/182467

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