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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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palpable obscure, and black and dark night we go, the cavern arch
expands and is lost in gloom, and we re in the Rotunda.
A monstrous subterranean Vestibule, a hundred feet in height,
two hundred in length & one-hundred and fifty in width; roofed in
by one vast rock, sans chink or crevice, save where at its borders
a jagged cornice work may be descried.    Monstrous rock buttresses are
around, and from this huge oval-shaped hall on either side two
galleries diverge.   But none of this could we descry through the murky
air, had not Stephen, (who has heretofore sported one or two lines from
Virgil which he has acquired parrot-fashion, un-knowing their meaning;) lit
a Bengal light.     Up it sparkles, fizzing and flaring; the yawning
rock ribs and giant boulders start out into grim distinctness, the
great chamber in all its heighth, depth and hugeness is at once though
but for brief space seen.  We pass on, turning neither to the
right nor the left.      Great, black-walled Bat Room on the former,
(reflecting no ray of light from torch or lanthorn) lay unvisited; and equally
so, on the latter, Audubon s Avenue, with its dimly seen roof,
and wide space, its natural well and columnar stalagmites up rising
to the roof, its mystic cloud like ceiling, and entire length of a quar-
ter of a mile. Little Bat. Room, a branch of it, pit 280 feet deep,  Bats in it in water. But 
down the Main cave we speed, Kentucky cliffs
(thus denominated from assumed semblance  twixt them and rocks on
that named river,) are passed and descending brief space we are
in the Church.     Another great hall, perchance a hundred feet
across, and sixty in height and perched up on the left a rock pulpit;
wherefrom sermons have been preached, whether prompted by
theological cox combing or amiable intent to justify and screen
slumber thereby induced I know not.    Methinks however, that if
an audience of Troglodytes could be convened, and they have not
varied their social relations since the time of Heroditus, (I think
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Six: page one hundred and thirty-two
Description:Describes a visit to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.
Date:1853-09-30
Subject:African Americans; Bishop, Stephen; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Mammoth Cave (Ky.); Travel
Coverage (City/State):Kentucky
Scan Date:2011-02-02

 

Volume
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Six
Description:Includes descriptions of Gunn's writing and drawing work in New York, a visit to the Catskill Mountains, attending the wedding of his friend Charles Damoreau (Brown), a visit to the Crystal Palace in New York, his friend Lotty's difficult marriage to John Whytal, a sailing trip around Lake Superior, a visit to Mackinac Island in Michigan, a visit to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, and a journey by horseback from Kentucky to Louisiana with friends.
Subject:African Americans; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Marriage; Native Americans; Publishers and publishing; Slavery; Travel; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York; Michigan; Wisconsin; Ohio; Kentucky; Mississippi; Alabama; Louisiana
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2011 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.