Harry T. (Harry Taylor) Gause.

Detailed description of scenes and incidents connected with a trip through the mountains and parks of Colorado, as accomplished by H.B.B. Stapler and Harry T. Gause, July 21-August 20, 1971 online

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Online LibraryHarry T. (Harry Taylor) GauseDetailed description of scenes and incidents connected with a trip through the mountains and parks of Colorado, as accomplished by H.B.B. Stapler and Harry T. Gause, July 21-August 20, 1971 → online text (page 14 of 14)
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minister at its head, wound around the last sharp bend in the
avenue, they were welcomed by a dazzle of light from
torches and lamps, and a wedding march, executed with fine
effect by the band from the hotel.

There is a picturesque, natural pulpit formed by the
union of stalactites and stalagmites, that occupies the most
prominent position in the chamber, being just in the center
of the smooth floor. Here the minister stood, when he pro-
nounced them 'man and wife.'

The guides who were present at the ceremony, say that
it was the most affecting and solemn scene they had ever
witnessed. The novelty and romance of the surroundings,
were such as to make the reminiscence of this occasion, one
of a life-time. The bride and groom stood a few feet in front
of the natural stone alter, with heads reverently bowed, until
the wedding ring was placed upon the bride's finger, when the
groom, bending over that fragile form, imprinted a warm kiss
upon the upturned lips. At this moment there arose a
jubilant shout from those who had been the silent spectators
of this impressive scene, and the band struck up an inspiriting
air, that echoed strangely along the vaulted ceiling of the
Chapel.



198 VULCAN'S SMITHY.

After receiving- the congratulations of their new-made
friends, the happy pair left the Cave followed by a noisy crowd
of people who would praise, too loudly, the modesty of the
bride and the manliness of the groom. We noticed where the
ceiling had been blackened by the smoke from the lamps that
had been suspended from it.

After leaving the Gothic Chapel, we entered Vulcan's
Smithy. This is a room, the floor of which is strewn with
stalagmite nodules, which are covered with the black oxyd of
iron, which resembles the cinders of a blacksmith's shop.

As there was nothing else remarkable about this apart-
ment we passed on to Napoleon's Breastworks, which consist
of a ledge of rocks that have been detached from the side of
the avenue against which they now rest. From the front,
they appear to be a gradual rise in the floor, terminatiug
abruptly in a perpendicular descent, which forms a sort of
natural rifle-pit behind.

Next, we came to the Arm Chair, which is a very com-
fortable and unique looking seat, formed by the union of
stalactites with stalagmites. Nothing could be more natural
than the symmetrical projections upon either side, that answer-
ed for arms ; and nothing more suited to the graceful inclina-
tion of the head, than the bowl-like hollow that offered it a
convenient resting place.

We were now not far from the end of our journey, so we
did not remain here long, to attest the merits of the Chair,
but hastened on, past the Elephant's Head which is a large
stalagmite bearing the above form, which projects from the
left wall of the avenue, and descended a very steep and rug-
ged hill that led us down into the pit beneath the Lover's
Leap. The Lover's Leap consists of a long sharp rock that



LAKE PURITY. 199

juts out from the floor of the cavern, sixteen feet over a pit
seventy feet deep. It is a very curious circumstance that this
rock should occupy such a position, but the name given to it
is so appropriate that one almost forgets to notice its unique-
ness in the thought of the romance connected with it.

Elbow Crevice was next in order. This passage is five
feet in hight, from three to five in width and twenty feet in
length. It is another Fat Man's misery upon a large scale.

After some severe climbing, we reached Gatewood's Din-
ing Table, which is a flat rock that has been detached from
the ceiling. It is about twelve feet in length, and eight in
width and is named after one of the old saltpetre miners.

One look was sufficient, at such a common place object as
a rock, so we passed on for some twenty yards, when we stood
beneath Napoleon's Dome. This Dome is fifty feet high and
from twenty to thirty feet wide. It was formed in the same
manner as, and somewhat resembles, Corenna's Dome, in the
Pass of El Ghor.

As we had seen so many and such immense ones already,
this offered nothing strikingly peculiar, either in appearance
or size, so we tramped along again toward Lake Purity, which
is the last point of interest in the route. It is a pool of per-
fectly transparant water, and is situated directly under Vul-
can's Smithy.

The Avenues through which we had passed, turned and
twisted so continually in their directions, that now we were
back again, about ten feet under the point at which we had
seen the Smithy. We sat down here and enjoyed a refreshing
draught from the cold waters of Lake Purity.

About a half a mile further on, the Gothic Arcade termi-



200 ADIEU TO THE MAMMOTH CAVE.

nates in a dome and a small, but picturesque cascade. After
indulging our weary limbs as long as the guide thought pro-
per, we began the return.

It was almost three o'clock when we reached the hotel,
and having ascertained that the stage was to leave for Cave
City at four o'clock, we had just sufficient time left, to hastily
pack our traveling bags and take dinner, when the coach was
announced, and we were off.

In concluding my remarks concerning the Mammoth
Cave, I would say that there have been over one hundred and
fifty avenues, discovered ; many of these, however, are never
entered by visitors, and consequently, I have not attempted
to describe them. There has not been, for some time past,
much enterprise displayed on the part of 'the guides in extend-
ing their explorations, into the remoter portions of the Cave,
there being now something over a hundred linear miles which
are known to them, this being more than can be displayed to
visitors in a single day.

The explored Cave is, we have every reason to believe,
but a fraction of the real one : for the guides who have certainly
had more experience than any other persons in this matter, and
are, therefore, more capable of expressing a correct judgment
concerning it, say that, judging from the general features of
the different avenues already discovered, and examining the
rock formation that, in most instances, terminates them, the
Cave must exceed, in reality, several times its present dimen-
sions.

The train was on time at the station so we embarked
with a feeling that now indeed we were homeward bound.

Three hours 7 later, we alighted in Louisville. Riding
directly to the Gait House, we obtained excellent rooms, and
a hot supper, late as was the hour.



THE QUEEN CITY OF THE WEST. 2OI

We slept soundly that night, and rose on the following
morning, in time to take the seven-fifteen train for Cin-
cinnati.

The road over which we traveled for the next five hours,
was very interesting, from its cultivated surroundings and
luxuriant growth of grains and timber, but possessed no
special characteristic to distinguished it particularly from any
other road in the western states.

At noon we reached the Queen City of the West ! and
were hurried away to the Burnet House, which proved to
exceed in elegance of appointment and taste of finish, our
most sanguine expectations.

After dinner we spent some time in sauntering about the
city on an inspecting tour, but at about four o'clock, we re-
turned, and, while I adjourned to the parlor to write up my
journal, my friend Stapler ordered a carriage, and drove out
to Auburn Hill, to call upon a college acquaintance.

At five P. M., I left the hotel and walked leisurely from
one street to another, visiting the different public buildings
and other places of interest, until at last, I found myself
seated in one of the beautiful open squares, that are so
numerous in, and form one the most pleasant features of, the
city.

Directly in front of me, was an immense fountain with a
lake-like reservoir, upon the brilliant surface of which, great
white swans floated in graceful curves, their spotless plumage,
reflected in a thousand ripples.

On the left bank stood a rustic summer-house, from which
the music of some bright, operatic airs greeted me as I enter-
ed this little gem of a park. The smoothly mown lawns were
intersected by serpentine walks and drives, which were kept



202 AN ODD TIGHT-ROPE PERFORMANCE.

in perfect order. Large trees lining these miniature avenues,
cast a delightfully cool shade over the long rows of wooden
seats that were arranged along either side. All was rest and
quiet.

I noticed many gayly dressed ladies with their frolicsome
children seated over the park, enjoying this scene of refreshing
repose. The sun had set, and I now, for the first time, recol-
lected that I had a long walk before me, ere I could reach the
hotel ; so, with reluctant steps, I left the square through a
gate, opposite to that by which I had entered.

When I had arrived within four blocks of the Burnet
House, and while crossing one of the side streets that extend
along the banks of the canal, I noticed a great crowd of people,
assembled to witness a tight rope performance. The rope was
stretched across between the eaves of two, five-story houses
on opposite sides of the street. At the time I came along,
this prodigy was contentedly cooking his supper, upon a small
kitchen stove that he dexterously balanced before him. The
oddest feature of the scene was the fact, that he possessed
but one leg, the other having been shot away just below the
knee. It was wonderful with what skill he poised himself
while going through various contortions and gymnastic exhi-
bitions upon a loose rope-swing that dangled above the middle
of the street. All this seemed to delight the vulgar populace,
if we are to judge by their enthusiastic plaudits after each
successful feat. But I did not stop long to behold such idiotic
behavior, but hurried back to the hotel, where I found Stapler
diligently hunting me.

At ten o'clock P. M., we stepped on board the train that
was to bear us to our respective homes ; and, it was with light
hearts and joyous anticipations, that we lay down to rest that
night.



THE RIDE OVER THE BALTIMORE AND OHIO. 203

We awoke an hour before reaching Parkersburg which is
situated on the state-line, dividing Virginia and Ohio, and at
which place, we breakfasted.

The Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road is one of the most
wonderful feats of engineering skill in the world. It runs
along through the Blue Ridge and over the Alleghanies, now
spanning a fearful gorge by means of a light and narrow tres-
sel-work bridge, and now winding u.p the steep side of the
mountain with a grade of one hundred feet to the mile. We
darted into a curved tunnel and out again before we had time
to realize that we had entered, then.in other places, they were
a mile in length, shutting us up in blackness and smoke for
several minutes. Ours, being the sleeper, was, as is the cus-
tom, the last car on the train, so that we had the benefit of
every sharp curve, around which we went jolting and swinging
from one side to the other with dangerous rapidity. I don't
think there were five hundred yards of straight track in the
whole distance from Parkersburg to Baltimore, except, per-
haps, after passing the Relay House. This road possesses
more curves than any other in the country, the Pennsylvania
Central, not excepted.

The scenery was very beautiful all the way from the
western bases of the Blue Ridge to Baltimore. We caught
some magnificent glimpses while winding over the Alleghanies.
Every now and then a sight of a grand vista of mountain-
ous country would open before us, and perhaps a deep gorge
would reveal a beautiful sunlit valley, nestling at its base, or
while we were crossing an elevated tressel-work bridge that
seemed as though it were suspended between heaven and
earth, we could trace for miles the course of the sparkling
stream that flowed far beneath us. It was a grand exhilarat-
z



204 ALONE.

ing ride, but one well calculated to inspire terror in those who
are, by any means, prone to t : midity.

It was not until almost nine o'clock in the evening that
we stopped before the Relay House. Here it was, that I was
compelled to bid adieu to my friend and traveling compan-
ion Stapler. He left me to embark on the train for Wash-
ington.

It was not many moments before I was whirling away
again alone. Any one who has not left one, with whom he has
been constantly associated and, too, amid the most novel and
exciting scenes for a number of weeks, cannot appreciate the
feelings of loneliness that I experienced after I had fully
realized that he had departed.

We steamed into the Monumental City and all was noise,
bustle and confusion. I immediately adjourned to the supper
room where I remained for the next three quarters of an hour
in perfect contentment.

After thus refreshing myself, I took a long stroll over the
portion of the city immediately surrounding the depot, to be-
guile the tedious moments that must intervene before the
train should leave.

At last I was on board again, beginning my last car ride.
I slept for a long time, I know not how long, but waking
with a start, I found that the train had stopped at a station.
I determined to step out upon the platform to rouse myself.
I got off the car and wandered about through the depot for
some time. All I could see was two solitary carriages stand-
by the side of the curb. I said to myself "They are waiting
for some one, to take both himself, whoever he may be,
and his trunks." I entered the train again ; and and was just
going back to my seat, when a happy thought occured to me,



THE LAST ADVENTURE. HOME AT LAST ! 205

viz ; to ask the brakeman what station this was, so I called,
"holloa there! what place is this, sir ?" " Wilmington" he
replied. Imagine my astonishment. To think of my walking
into the depot and not knowing it. Imagine my looking up the
streets and not recognizing the city of my nativity.

In a state of sleepy mortification, I seized my carpet-bag
and overcoat and alighted. On approaching the solitary ve-
hicle that I had noticed, I recognized the familiar face of our
old coachman James, while sitting in the other carriage was
Noah, his assistant, ready to take careful charge of my trunk,
so /proved to be that mysterious individual, about whom I
had, a moment before, speculated so dreamily.

It was not many more minutes before I drove up the
long avenue and stopped before the door of my home. It
was now very late, about two o'clock, and I had scarcely
pulled the bell, when the door was hastily opened and I was
in the arms of my sister and cousin, and was home at last !
What a relief was this consciousness to one who had been
traveling constantly for almost five weeks ! There is no ap-
preciation without deprivation ; I now appreciated, if never
before, the blessings of home.

It was with a thankful heart for our preservation amid
the dangers which had threatened us while absent, and our
happy reunion after both the pleasures and fatigues oi such a
summer tour, that I closed my weary eyes in sleep that night,
and, as profound stillness again reigns throughout the house,
let us draw the curtain over this scene of peaceful repose.





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Online LibraryHarry T. (Harry Taylor) GauseDetailed description of scenes and incidents connected with a trip through the mountains and parks of Colorado, as accomplished by H.B.B. Stapler and Harry T. Gause, July 21-August 20, 1971 → online text (page 14 of 14)