Rambles in the Mammoth Cave, during the Year 1844 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 66 pages of information about Rambles in the Mammoth Cave, during the Year 1844.

Soon after leaving the old Register Room, we were halted by our guide, who took from us all the lamps excepting one.  Having made certain arrangements, he cried aloud, “Come on!” which we did, and in a few moments entered an apartment of surprising grandeur and magnificence.  This apartment or hall is elliptical in shape and eighty feet long by fifty wide.  Stalagmite columns, of vast size nearly block up the two ends; and two rows of pillars of smaller dimensions, reaching from floor to ceiling and equidistant from the wall on either side, extend its entire length.  Against the pillars, and in many places from the ceiling, our lamps were hanging, and, lighting up the whole space, exhibited to our enraptured sight a scene surpassingly grand, and well calculated to inspire feelings of solemnity and awe.  This is the Stalagmite Hall, or as some call it, the Gothic Chapel, which no one can see under such circumstances as did our party, without being forcibly reminded of the old, very old cathedrals of Europe.  Continuing our walk we came to the Devil’s Arm-Chair.  This is a large Stalagmite column, in the centre of which is formed a capacious seat.  Like most other visiters we seated ourselves in the chair of his Satanic Majesty, and drank sulphur water dipped up from a small basin of rock, near the foot of the chair.  Further on we passed a number of Stalactites and Stalagmites, Napoleon’s Breast-Work, (behind which we found ashes and burnt cane,) the Elephant’s Head, the Curtain, and arrived at last at the Lover’s Leap.  The Lover’s Leap is a large pointed rock projecting over a dark and gloomy hollow, thirty or more feet deep.  Our guide told us that the young ladies often asked their beaux to take the Lover’s Leap, but that he never knew any to “love hard enough” to attempt it.  We descended into the hollow, immediately below the Lover’s Leap, and entered to the left and at right-angle with our previous course, a passage or chasm in the rock, three feet wide and fifty feet high, which conducted us to the lower branch of the Gothic Avenue.  At the entrance of this lower branch is an immensely large flat rock called Gatewood’s Dining Table, to the right of which is a cave, which we penetrated, as far as the Cooling Tub—­a beautiful basin of water six feet wide and three deep—­into which a small stream of the purest water pours itself from the ceiling and afterwards finds its way into the Flint Pit at no great distance.  Returning, we wound around Gatewood’s Dining Table, which nearly blocks up the way, and continued our walk along the lower branch more than half a mile, passing Napoleon’s Dome, the Cinder Banks, the Crystal Pool, the Salts Cave, etc., etc.  Descending a few feet and leaving the cave which continues onwards, we entered, on our right, a place of great seclusion and grandeur, called Annetti’s Dome.  Through a crevice in the right wall of the dome is a waterfall.  The water issues in a stream a foot in diameter, from a high cave in the side of the dome—­falls upon the solid bottom, and passes off by a small channel into the Cistern, which is directly on the pathway of the cave.  The Cistern is a large pit, which is usually kept nearly full of water.

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Rambles in the Mammoth Cave, during the Year 1844 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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