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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 142, October 1, 1853

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Identifier: DX04159647

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 142, October 1, 1853

Description: Describes a visit to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.


(for we tread on caverns!) we enter stalagmite, and stalactite decorated Louisa’s Bower. Post Oak pillar is next, a rare stone-impregnated water petrifaction, up rising and down hanging; and then we enter the Register Rooms, Old and New. The whiteness of the ceilings of these avenues has been villanously smirched and befouled by nobodies names execated in lamp smoke, — hence their appellation. Gothic Chapel follows, an extensive and exquisite mimicry of Architectural handiwork. ‘Tis a large elliptically-shaped room, at either end screened off by great stalagmite columns; others also, beautiful exceedingly rising from the floor to roughly ribbed and ground arches, variously lined. Asses twain, (two-legged ones) were wed here, once, thinking perchance they did a notable thing, as if any-body couldn’t effect it. In one of the great Stalagmite columns is a rough seat, dubbed Wilkin’s or the Devil’s Arm Chair, — the former appelation it has from a past owner of the Cave. Here, (if you let him,) Stephen [Bishop] will sing Eliza Cook’s trash about embalming a chair with tears and be-dewing it with sighs. The fellow has a pleasant, mellowish voice, and uses it indifferently well. Vulcan’s Forge, a cinder like heap, roughy shaped like one., dark colored. Napoleon’s Breastwords, or Scott, or Taylor’s Breastworks, for they were indifferently called either. I prefer the latter twain, as I see no reason for giving the Scoundrel Corsican preference over honest men. A rock embankment, like to military work, of some length. The Elephants Head, a stalactite mass, thus shaped, sans trunk, dependant from above, Hercules Pillars, and the Lover’s Leap. The latter, a sharp pointed rock out-jutting into a black-rotunda-pit is notable to look upon, — of course no lover ever did jump from it, hence its name. To the right, downwards we go through neglecting Elbow Crevice, a narrow pass, but 3 feet wide, though 50 high, winding under the avenue we have just left. (But of this being the avenue I’m not certain, — I think there’s two here, and it may be the one leading to the right.) Bonaparte’s Dome, and,

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1853-10-01

Type(s): Diary

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

Subjects: Diaries
Mammoth Cave (Ky.)
African Americans


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