THE greatest cave known on the globe is the Mammoth Cave pf Kentucky, situated  in Edmonson County, near the Green River, ninety-four miles from Louisville, and nine miles from Cave City, which is the nearest railroad station to the celebrated cavern.

The cave has never been explored throughout its entire extent, and as yet but one entrance to it has been discovered. Visitors usually remain over night at the Mammoth Cave House, which is situated near the entrance, in order to get an early start, as it requires a whole day to "do" the cave, as they call it.

The cave was accidentally discovered some seventy years ago by a hunter, and ten years later was worked for the purpose of obtaining salt-petre; but the enterprise proving unprofitable, the cave was given over to curiosity-seekers. The present owners are fearful that a new entrance will be discovered outside the limits of their own real estate, and for this reason, all visitors are forbidden to carry compasses or make observations upon the directions of the great natural tunnel.

There are two routes, the long and the short; the former extends nine miles underground, and the latter three miles..

On entering, visitors are provided with a guide, who looks carefully after the lamps to see that they are properly trimmed and supplied with oil, as the chance of having one's lamp go out in those desolate chambers, and being left in awful solitude and darkness, perhaps forever, is not a pleasant thought. At different parts of the cave, small tanks of oil are kept, from which the lamps may be replenished in case of accident, and these have proved in numerous instances to be of great service.

The path, which forms the entrance is damp and slippery, and judging from the appearance of the opening, one hardly expects much from the interior. However, almost immediately on entering, his spirits begin to rise, on account of the abundance of oxygen in the air. Consumptives have gone there to live, in the hope that the invigorating air would restore them to health, but have been disappointed.

Hanging by their claws to the walls and ceiling of the cavern, are innumerable bats. During the winter they assemble there in such numbers that the curves of the cave are black with them.

Many avenues branch from the main tunnel, the most of which have been explored more or less. The "Methodist Church" is the first place of note. It consists of a semicircular chamber, in which a ledge of rocks represents the pulpit. Religious services have been held here; and the logs brought in for seats, though more than half a century ago, are still well preserved. Just beyond the church, apparently cut in the rocky ceiling, is a figure of gypsum called the "American Eagle," though it bears little resemblance to the natural bird.

Near "Minerva's Dome," a place remarkable for the honeycombed appearance of its roof, is the "Fat Man's Misery," a passage between the walls of the cave so narrow that a person of ordinary size has to go sidewise in order to get through.  Having forced a passage, however, our explorer enters the "Valley of Humility," where; if he would make any progress, he is compelled to bend nearly double, the roof being so low; but he soon reaches the "Great Relief," a broad passage a little further on, where he pauses to take a breath and wipe the perspiration from his face.

There are numerous streams in the cave, the most noted of which, perhaps, is the Echo. This river is renowned for its echoes. It is much larger and more striking than the other streams, and when it is high, as it usually is in the spring, it is difficult to cross. A boat is provided for the purpose of crossing, and after rowing out into the stream a little way, the guide usually stops a short time so as to give visitors a chance to hear the echoes from their voices. Even the variation in the tone is accurately preserved in the echo, and one can scarcely believe that some one is not concealed, and repeating his words.

The "Styx" is another stream, which flows about a hundred feet below the floor of the cave. It is crossed by means of a rough wooden bridge. The murmur of the water can be heard below, but in order to see it, a lantern is let down over the side of the bridge by means of a long pole. The celebrated eyeless fish of the Mammoth Cave are found in the Echo River. These little creatures are about four inches long, and resemble ordinary minnows. Though entirely destitute of eyesight, it is very difficult to capture them.

Near the "Styx" is the Bottomless Pit, which is about one hundred and seventy-five feet deep.

It receives its name on account of its gloom and dreariness. The Pit has frequently been descended, though the experiment is a dangerous one. Many other points of interest in connection with the long route might be mentioned did space permit.

On the short route the point most worthy 'of note is the "Star Chamber," which is about seventy feet high, the roof being composed of gypsum crystals. On entering the chamber, the guide takes several of the lamps, and, descending into a hollow of the rocks, throws the light there from upon the ceiling. The effect is wonderful. The light' striking upon the crystals of gypsum, makes them look precisely like stars, and creates so complete an illusion that one can hardly believe that he is not standing under the evening sky. The Mammoth Cave would be well worth visiting if its only wonder were the "Star Chamber."

The dimensions of the cave vary greatly. At the "Fat Man's Misery" it is about twelve inches wide, and in the Valley of Humility, just beyond, the roof is so low that one cannot get through without stooping; while in the "Grand Dome" it is over a hundred feet thick, and the ceiling is seventy feet high. The great cavern is noted for its wonderful variety, and one comes out of it feeling that he has seen one of the wonders of the world.