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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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rock walls on either side of which do not (you fancy) reach sheer up to the
ceiling which, like a midnight firmament seen from the depths of a ravine,
broods over you.  But it is but that the ribbed rocks are of a lighter hue
than the gypsum covered roof, where small and multitudinous bits having drop-
ped off have besprinkled this subterranean sky with innumerable stars.   A
more marvelous and perfect illusion can not be conceived.    In thus describing
it, I think of it as the reality of that which it is but the similitude.
That solemn star-bespangled firmament may, for all the gazer knows, (as
his back against the rock wall he stares upwards,) be at an immensity of
distance overhead.        Meantime, taking our lamps, Stephen crosses the
hall, and disappears in an unseen cavity in the floor. Dimmer becomes
the lamp glare, and as we gaze aloft, blackly passing athwart that
solemn sky overhead goes a slow thunder cloud   Stephen s hand over
the lamps!       Anon blackness rushes down upon us, overwhelming and over
powering, a darkness that may be felt, and thus we stand till a lamp
down afar behind from the other end of the crevice passage which the guide 
has passed through.       This  Star Chamber business  is perchance the very
finest thing in the Mammoth Cave.        On proceeding, over the rough
loose stones, the Mackarel Ceiling and Floating Clouds overhead, we
pass through the Banquet Hall. (Branching off here, unvisited by us,
lie the Black Chambers, wild savage scenery, forming an avenue
a mile and a half in length, then abruptly terminating.)    And Solitary
Cave, small but full of fine stalactites is also undisturbed, and I know
not what other places hereabout.    Salts, gypsum, quartz and ochre are here-
by found.        But we approach the end of the Main Cave,   4 1/2 miles
from its entrance.  Passing a Cascade we are in the Chief City or
Temple, a monstrous room, where standing on a great mountain of
stones we may learn that  tis 900 feet long, 300 wide, and 100 in height.
  And now we turn backwards, to the gladsome day, and a hearty meal
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Six: page one hundred and thirty-eight
Description:Describes a visit to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.
Subject:Bishop, Stephen; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Mammoth Cave (Ky.); Travel
Coverage (City/State):[Kentucky]
Scan Date:2011-02-02


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.