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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 151, October 3, 1853

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Identifier: DX04167859

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 151, October 3, 1853

Description: Describes a visit to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.

Transcription:

you stoop under with a shudder, — a monstrous slab called the Hanging Rock, sustained only by two points. Anon an Ugly Hole is espied, named after the fatal one of Calcutta, but 13 feet deep, though sombre enough in appearance to be 30. To the right too, is a rock imitation of a gigantic Kings crown, the rock mimicry of the ornaments of the golden rigol being very curious. And now, — we’ve been doing an hours walking, we reach Hebe’s Spring, strongly, and to my thinking, nastily impregnated with sulphar. Nevertheless being thirsty we drank of it, some copiously. I must not forget to mention that the snow white, crystalized gypsum on the ceilings of some of these caverns give them a prettily fanciful appearance. Hebe’s Spring, to all appearance finishes the Cavern. But what of this steep ladder which we have just, with difficulty passed, (for the way is here horribly narrow,) in getting to the Spring? Why, up it, you have to go for 20 feet or so, to new subterranean worlds beyond. And up it, not without hard squeezing you mount, the jagged rocks pressing on you all around, till you scramble into Martha’s Vineyard. Here the roof incrustations mimic clustering bunches of grapes, carbonate of lime and sulphur drippings being the materials of this geologic Bacchanal domain. Olindo Avenue is next, including Washington’s Hall, a spacious and beautiful cavern; its roof all gemmed with gypsum concretions, rosette shaped, laminated, or curled into flower bosses, and other curiously exquisite geologic prettinesses; which can be and are much damaged by the paws of curiosity gapers. The floor of this cavern is rough, and rock strewn, and as visitors generally dine here there are plenty of deposits of mildewed ham, bread and chicken bones. Also a foolish pile of stones with dampened fragments of paper and silly names of sillier nobodies writ upon them. There is an avenue here, branching off to the right, leading to a grotto [word crossed out] called Marian’s Cabinet, with pretty roof incrustations, and a side Cut, hight Paradise the Lover’s Retreat, leading to Paradise. This amorously named avenue is a tortuous

Rights: NoC-US

Place:

Dates: 1853-10-03

Type(s): Diary
Page

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

Subjects: Food
Diaries
Nature
Caves
Mammoth Cave (Ky.)
Travel

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