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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 139, September 30-October 1, 1853

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Identifier: DX04156912

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 139, September 30-October 1, 1853

Description: Describes a visit to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.


at the Cave Hotel, at the expiration of which Dr Brodnax mounts the stage and is off. I fraternize with the only two folk left, one a Maine man, who leaves on the morrow, and a young Louisianian [Oliver Kellam], the good looking Southerner heretofore spoken of, (and of whom plenty, anon;) and talk by a wood fire till nigh midnight with the former, and then to bed, intending more Cave Explortion on the Morrow.

30. November 1st of Oct. F Saturday. It had rained hard and fast all the night, and the leaves overhead were dank with moisture, and the sky overclouded, as I Stephen [Bishop] alone accompanying again descended into the Cave Mouth. Whether the passage across the river would be practicable we knew not, but intended making trial. Not much time was devoted to the objects on our way, as heretofore, Stephen kept on, I following, and we came to Lake Lethe in due time. It had risen materially, and he at once doubted effecting the passage; nevertheless into the wet, dirty, flat boat we entered, after much baling out of water had been done on Stephen’s part. Both lamps are placed on the prow, and I standing erect, Stephen paddle in hand, guides the boat onwards. Sheer up on either side, sans beach or margin, rises the rocks out of the grisly pool over which we glide. Above, the ceiling can be dimly seen, and when either of us lift up our voices and sing, solemn sonorous echo reverberations roll through the caverns, even as if strange spirits brooded on the black ledges above eternally, and were answering out invocations. The river winds, blackness closing on us behind, and 150 yards have been passed over. And now we ought to be at the Great Walk, disembarking here to pass to where another boat awaits us on Echo River. But it is all full of water, — the river has risen indeed! On we keep And now before us, blockading the way are two boats, one almost wholly submerged, one end being fast under a low arch on the right. Through this arch we should have had to pass, but ‘twas filled, covered by the risen water. There was a little horror in the notion that there lay the passage intended, albeit had a boat been awaiting us

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1853-09-30

Type(s): Diary

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

Subjects: Diaries
Mammoth Cave (Ky.)
Boats and boating


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