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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 146, October 2, 1853

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Describes visits to White's Cave and Long's Cave in Kentucky. Transcription:forests above lies the unspeakable beauty of White’s Cave. Well now can I understand the inspiration which produced Bird’s “Merry the Miner.” / Hanging our lanthorns behind the central screen, the effect of the was indescribable. On the crowded, spear shaped, transparent rock icicles the light glistened, on the great down-hanging stalactite masses which meeting in marriage-petrification with the Stalagmites below form strange columnar shapes; on the pools and thin rock curves of the floor, on distant hollows where stalactites dimly seen beyond stalactites indicate inaccessibly minute winding ways; — wondrously beautiful, all. / Towards the farther parts of the Cavern, these features become fewer, rough cave above and below, and an ascent over loose rough rock-masses, rather steep has to be effected. Stalactites and Stalagmites, appear again, if I recollect at the end, though of no very extraordinary size or beauty. / Returning to the Hotel, (where our clerical friend had been favouring the folks with a sermon in the big ball room above;) we dined; and an hour so subsequently set off on horseback, under the guidance of Alfred to explore Long’s Cave, at about five miles distance. Stephen [Bishop] was sick, having complained of indisposition during the last day or two. Alfred, having admitted he had been in the Cave in question once before, consented, though a little unwillingly, (indeed the good fellows do have enough of troglodyzing o’ week days;) to accompany me. [Oliver] Kellam was...
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