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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 137, September 30, 1853

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Identifier: DX04155089

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 137, September 30, 1853

Description: Describes a visit to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.

Transcription:

tion of my own could I have made the discovery. These so-called rivers and Lake are but deep pools, in the very lowest parts of the cave; they rise and fall with Green River, though how, or through what cranny and fissure communicating is not known. But their level varies not above two feet from that of Green River, ever. / A party were on ahead, exploring the wonders beyond the Rivers, and on I should at once have proceeded, but that my companions could spare but limited time, and wished to return by the stage of this same afternoon. So I postponed troglodyzing further, and turning back we sought the Deserted Chambers, for lunch. But reaching Richardson’s Spring, and Stephen [Bishop] examining his basket, lo! the cold fowl therein deposited hid had vanished, and naught but fragmentary bread-scraps remained. The rats were the thieves. (I then imagined, either that the said fowl was a myth, or that Stephen had made catspaws of apochyrphal rats for the occasion; with injustice however, for on subsequent occasions I saw rats at this very place.) Some laughter and drollery and a few niggerish imprecations followed; and then we rose to see further, for an hour or so yet remained ere stage departure. Back to the Main Cave we sped, reaching it where heretofore we had branched off by the Giant’s Coffin. An abrupt, Acute Angle of rock passed the road turning sharp to the left we, after duly noting gypsum incrustations in fancifully shaped Giant and Pigmy on the ceiling enter the Sick Room. Two roofless huts, stone-built, stand here. And here, and in some dozen others, (frame built and now pulled down for hotel uses,) fifteen years back did consumption-smitten mortals live, in hope to ‘scape the King of Terrors; it being hoped and asserted that the Cave atmosphere might prove beneficial. From differing states they came, in various stages of disease, some abiding months here, one two years in dreary torchlight hope. But one died, the faith in darkness and cave atmosphere with him, and they all fled to live or die as might be in the sunlight and air above. Naught remains but the two roofless huts and the story. Now we enter on the Star Chamber. A long lofty hall, perhaps 60 feet high, the mossy (after threading a rough avenue,) on the so-called Natural

Rights: NoC-US

Place:

Dates: 1853-09-30

Type(s): Diary
Page

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

Subjects: Food
Diaries
Mammoth Cave (Ky.)
Rats
Travel
Nature
Caves
Diseases
Tuberculosis
Medical care

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