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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 145, October 1-2, 1853

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Identifier: DX04162384

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 145, October 1-2, 1853

Description: Describes a visit to White's Cave in Kentucky.


warmed in time. A very small rise fills up the low arches, but one of twelve feet would be required to close up the avenue of Purgatory. Were it thus closed at the commencement of rains or floods, luckless mortals on the other side must perforce tarry there, no outlet being available.


2. Sunday. With [Oliver] Kellam and Stephen [Bishop] set off, as yesterday agreed upon, to explore White’s Cave, a minor attraction, not generally visited, in the vicinity. Like Knights Templars we bestrode one horse, Stephen walking beside us bearing the lamps. Less than a mile of forest road brought us to the place, where the cave mouth almost hidden by pendant vines and greenery, pierced a hill side, trees above and all around. Dismounting, downwards we crept, attired in cave costume, and swinging our lamps as usual. Of this place I have no detail of nomenclature and varying peculiarity to give, for though unique and singularly beautiful as it is, it ‘tis but one cavern, a thousand feet long from entrance to end, partially divided in twain by a wondrous screen of stalactites and stalagmites; which petrified rock-drippings and adamantine icicles indeed are around on every side. From the whole roof they depend, hard but translucent, slender, long, massive, fantastically shaped, varying ever, strangely beautiful as a dream. Nor this alone, for the floor is all worn into winding, shell-like, continuous curves, the hard, sharp clear-cut rock-ridges serpentining hither and thither, up, down, in and out in the strongest fashion: the hollows between filled with bright clear ice-cold water, now deep enough to cover arm to elbow joint, now shallow enow to be bottomed by finger-point. For unguessable centuries here hath Nature been silently at work at this strange witchery, and with what wondrous result! I never saw, imagined, dreamed of, aught like to it, and for many an hour, when thoughtful musing, thousands of miles away, will the remembrance haunt me, that there, amid wild Kentucky Hills, in darkness and with

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1853-10-01

Type(s): Diary

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

Subjects: Diaries
Mammoth Cave (Ky.)


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