Lehigh University
The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Text for Page 131 [09-30-1853]

              start, for about the space of two hundred yards down a road mighty trees overhead and 
around, by
the sloping hill-side, which being pursued straight onwards leads to Green
River.   But we, on the right turning sharply. are now gazing downwards at the Cave�s
mouth.     A great, oval-shaped cavern at the bottom of a ravine,
rude rock-steps winding downwards from the front, under the overarching
rock stratra.    From the arches centre, issuing forth from pendant verdure
and tree shrubbery, plashes down a spring of bright water into a long
trough below, behind which, and partially closing the entrance is a rough
log hut. (Tis used for a larder during the summer�s heat.)    All about &
above, wild vines and creepers hang, their fresh sun-lit green standing
out deliciously from the hell-black night within.     A chill blast of
air from the Cavern�s jaws welcomes us, as, our lamps having been
procured from an adjacent, (formerly habited, but now discussed,) building, �
downwards we go, Stephen; cigar in mouth, leading the way.   We
now spy stones piled up on either side of the way, and long wooden pipes,
heretofore used in conveying water farther on into the cave to hoppers used
by saltpeter makers.   During the war of 1812 the profits of this man-
ufacture set folks to extensive cave exploration; and the earth in the
Mammoth Cave, instinct with nitre was used to good purpose; being
purchased by government contractors, Gratz & Wilkins for that object.
The war ending, prices fell, and for manufacturing ends, the Cave
was disused.     Later, however, old miners, desirous of raising a dollar or
so, have done a little lixivating the nitrous earth, but they were solitary
cases.       Onwards we go, through a long low cavernous straight,
hight the Narrows, passing, to reach it through a doorway in
a rough stone wall, stretching cross wise athwart the cave.     The
cave breath is chill and strong, but slackens as we advance, until 
a temperately cold, tranquil atmosphere is around you, varying not
much the twelve months round.     Swinging our lamps, through the               
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