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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 147, October 2, 1853

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Identifier: DX04164208

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 147, October 2, 1853

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


he again started, a negro woman bore him [Alfred] company for some space, she on horseback also. Having parted from her, we, at another house were joined by a boy and two young fellows, who proceeded with us to the Cave Entrance, which lies, as usual on a rocky-hill side, but quite out of the way of road or path, you have to ride through the forest for some hundreds of yards to reach it. Dismounting, and preparing our lamps, one of the young fellows, (more boy than man,) was inclined to venture with us, but on his expressing a mild apprehension that we might be “lost,” Alfred was so desperately ironical at the notion that he speedily convinced me he didn’t know much of the place. It is scarcely ever visited, presenting no very great attractions in points of curiosity; — there hadn’t been an explorer for years two or three, so they told me. Boy deciding to go, down we clambered, descending a very steep and hazardous declivity, over loose rocks, presenting every unpleasant variety of sharp angles upwards. I doubt if it could have been managed but for a stout and very long vine-stem which was fastened above, to hold on by. This Cave I shall not attempt to describe in detail, nor indeed could I. Three avenues branch off from the entrance hall, at some little distance from the mouth; each of which we severally explored. They are very wild, gloomy, and savage, huge chaotic rock piles have to be clambered over; long avenues monotonous and wearisome threaded to the sounds of the shrill gibber of myriads of bats which cluster, hanging head downwards in close bunches of about twenty or thirty, from the ceiling. Like thick black knobs of moss they bespeck the roof for half a mile together, all the winter; and their querulous gibber, was strange and solemn to listen to, as we sped on, disturbing them with out lamp-glare. Some stalactites there are, and queer, fantastically shaped, water worn niches, or figures, idol or monkey shaped; and some black, terrible pits. One of these, respecting which Bird tells a story of two men getting here lost, their lights extinguished, themselves disputing as to which way

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1853-10-02

Type(s): Diary

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

Subjects: Diaries
Mammoth Cave (Ky.)
African Americans


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