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oyster train; then, the mince-pie express; and,
finally, several special trains of delicious, hot
negus, that were destined to run regularly
(and rather fast, too) during the rest of the
evening. Nothing is better for clearing the
than artfully compounded negus, and,
when the Christmas carols were struck up by
the choristers below, it was delightful to hear
the clear sweet tones of several of our
companions swell the harmony from the gallery, led
off handsomely by our hostess.

At a very few minutes before midnight, the
carol then being sung suddenly ceased. There
was a dead pause. Not a whisper. The vast
company became dumb in a moment. Presently
faint questions were asked in the gallery as to
what it meant, and under-breath answers
returned that we were waiting for twelve o'clock.
Then silence more intense than at first. The
heart beats fast, the moments moving slowly, as
they always do when watched. This hushed
expectation became quite emotional, solemn.
Till, at last, the first stroke of the hour struck
quite a shock upon the ear. The whole
company simultaneously burst forth with the Gloria
in Excelsis of Pergolesi, the bells of the noble
college-tower struck up their loudest and
merriest chimes, and the louder they pealed without,
the louder our chorus swelled within. This
exciting combination of sounds sent quite a
thrill to the heart.

When this merry contention was lulled, the
president stood up in the middle of the hall,
and, in clear sonorous tones said, " Ladies and
gentlemen, I wish you all a merry Christmas!"
In an instant, every person present stood up and
shook hands with his neighbour and wished
".Merry Christmas!" "Merry Christmas!"
repeated in every conceivable tone of voice
throughout the length and breadth of the hall,
surged from gallery to floor, and from floor to
gallery, and became a pretty pattering storm
of good wishes. The last good wish uttered
was " Good night!" and the company retired
from the hall certainly merrier for their Christmas-Eve
at College than when they entered it
- probably better.


SOME hours' drive has brought us to the
wonderful cave, which is in Edmonson county, a
little south of the exact centre of the
mule-breeding state of Kentucky.

Some hours' drive in a stage-coach, from a
small station on the Louisville and Nashville
Railway, has brought us, I say, cave-wards, through
damp reeking woods, not unfrequented by
'possums and rattlesnakes, over a rough road
with rude plank bridges here and there where
water-courses or deep ditches had to be
traversed. Four strong large-limbed Kentucky
horses drew that ark of a stage, which held
some twelve people inside, and I am afraid to
say how many outside. It was a great movable
prison, with a central seat constructed to
hold three persons, whose unfortunate backs
rested against a broad leather strap, which
hooked into the door-frame, and which always
had to be removed before the door could be
opened. How we bounced, and bumped, and
tilted, and groaned, as we were dislocated over
the deep rutted road- especially once, when the
drag broke and the horses ran away- I only hint
at, as I want to get quickly on to the nine-
mile-long cave, with its subterranean river, its
little colony of blind fish, its botanical museum
of crystallised flowers, and all its other wonders,
that I have come some four thousand miles
from dear old England to see.

We had driven for three hours through thin
plantations of young hickory-trees, gum-trees,
sassafras, dog-wood, and butter-nuts. The large
yellow leaves of the hazel-nut hung scarce and
shivering for their fall; the maple-trees spread
out their crimson foliage, red as if fresh stained
with Indian blood. We had only met a man
looking for deer, and a monthly nurse straddling
a horse on her way to a patient.

We are at the door of the Cave Hotelto hurry
on mattersand the cave itself, I know from
guide-books, is now not more than a hundred
yards or so off. I feel as Dante should have felt
when he began his gloomy journey, for our negro
drivera slaveas he laughingly flings down
the reins upon the backs of his smoking horses,
tells me that for the last nine milesever since,
indeed, we stopped for a parcel at Bell's Hotel,
just at the entrance of the woods, and some
few miles from the station we have been passing
over the passages and chambers of the cave.
It probably runs miles beyond this, but the true
end has never yet been discovered.

I felt in a new country, for I had been
listening all through the drive to stories of the
old Indian cities and fortifications in Kentucky,
and to legends about the Devil's Pulpit and
Dismal Rock. I had been driving through
twelve miles of plantation, cheek by jowl with
a thin lean American, suffering from the " ager"
(ague), and who carried anxiously on his knees,
to my great annoyance, an enormous wire-cage,
with a frightened mocking-bird inside it: a bird
whose equilibrium the jolting of the stage
seriously discomposed. I had been talking to a
young dentist from Cincinnati, whose first
successful bit of practice had been drawing a lion's
tooth for a menagerie keeper; and, above all, I
had lunched off gumbo soup and wild turkey,
and here I was, just preparing to descend into
the Mammoth Cave.

The hotel looks rather dismal in the heavy
rain which comes down in thick strings, and
splashes the planks of the rude log-cabin hall,
at the door of which the stage has drawn
up. Two or three negroes run about after
each other like so mauy stupid black puppies,
and the deserted bar-room, where the
landlord sips "a Roman punch," looks
painfully dismal, with no one in it " liquoring up."
The landlord, a quiet man, in faded evening
dress, evinces no bustling alacrity, no servile
respect, no cringing eagerness; on the contrary,
he seems rather bored by our arrival, and put