Cambridge Underground 1983 pp 37-39


Charles Butcher

Where is McDougal's Cave ?

"... the flickering rank of lights dimly revealing the lofty walls of rock almost to their point of junction sixty feet overhead. This main avenue was not more than eight or ten feet wide. Every few steps other lofty and still narrower crevices branched from it on either hand, for McDougal's cave was but a vast labyrinth of crooked aisles that ran into each other and out again and led nowhere. It was said that one might wander days and nights together through its intricate tangle of rifts and chasms, and never find the end of the cave; and that he might go down and down, and still down into the earth, and it was just the same - labyrinth underneath labyrinth, and no end to any of them. No man 'knew' the cave. That was an impossible thing."

Who visited Eldon ?

"... which, I grant, we may justly call a WONDER, is Eldon Hole. The description of it, in brief, is thus: in the middle of a plain open field, gently descending to the south, there is a frightful chasm, or opening in the earth, or rather in the rock, for the country seems thereabouts to be all but one great rock; this opening goes directly down perpendicular into the earth, and perhaps to the centre; it may be about twenty foot over one way, and fifty or sixty the other; it has no bottom, that is to say, none that can yet be heard of. Mr. Cotton says, he let down eight hundred fathoms of line into it, and that the plummet drew still; so that, in a word, he sounded about a mile perpendicular."

and Wells ?

"Near this city, and just under the hills, is the famous, and so much talked about Wokey Hole, which, to me, that had been on Pool's Hole, in the Peak of Derby, has nothing of wonder or curiosity in it."

Who had a dig going ?

"So he scraped and scratched and scrabbled and scrooged, and then he scrooged again and scrabbled and scratched and scraped, working busily with his little paws and muttering to himself, 'Up we go! Up we go!' till at last, pop! his snout came out into sunlight, and he found himself rolling in the warm grass of a great meadow."

Who was nearly eaten in a cave ?

"The cave, tho' large, was dark; the dismal floor
Was pav'd with mangled limbs and putrid gore.
Our monstrous host, of more than human size,
Erects his head, and stares within the skies;
Bellowing his voice, and horrid in his hue.
Ye gods, remove this plague from mortal view!
The joints to slaughter'd wretches are his food;
And for his wine he quaffs the streaming blood.
These eyes beheld, when with his spacious hand
He seiz'd two captives of our Grecian band;
Stretch'd on his back, he dash'd against the stones
Their broken bodies, and their crackling bones;
With spouting blood the purple pavement swims,
While the dire glutton grinds the trembling limbs."

Who lived in a hole ?

"Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hold with no thing in it to sit down on or to eat .."

Who got lost ?

"They met some people soon after they had got inside, who said they had been there for three quarters of an hour, and had had about enough of it. Harris told them they could follow him if they liked; he was just going in, and then should turn round and come out again. They said it was very kind of him, and fell behind, and followed.

... 'That map may be right enough' said one of the party, 'if you know whereabouts in it we are now.'"

Who said ?

"About half way down I had a quiet word with him, and he assured me he was feeling as fit as ever."

Whose door ?

"Now they all pushed together, and slowly a part of the rock wall gave way. Long straight cracks appeared and widened. A door five feet high and three wide was outlined, and slowly without a sound swung inwards. It seemed as if darkness flowed out like a vapour from a hole in the mountainside, and deep darkness in which nothing could be seen lay before their eyes, a yawning mouth leading in and down."

Who else got lost ?

"'You should have kept her in sight, it was your duty,' said Aziz severely. 'Here are twelve caves at least. How am I to know which contains my guest? Which is the cave I was in myself?'

The same vague gesture. And Aziz, looking up, could not even be sure he had returned to the same group. Caves appeared in every direction - it seemed their original spawning place - and the orifices were always the same size. He thought 'Merciful Heavens, Miss Quested is lost,' then pulled himself' together, and began to lock for her calmly."

Who made a pilgrimage to a cave ?

"And then, poking out of a section, I saw some strands of the coarse reddish hair I knew so well. I eased them out, slid them into a envelope and sat down, immensely pleased.I had accomplished the object of this ridiculous journey."

Who compiled ?

Foxhole, sinkhole, pitchhole, checkhole, mudhole, pit, well, shaft, chasm, gulf, abyss, excavation, dig, workings, cave, cavern, hole, grotto, antre, subterrane, lair, tunnel; burrow, warren, subway, bunker, foxhole, dugout, sewer,

Who discovered a fairly large underground pitch ?

"Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end! 'I wonder how many miles I've fallen by this time?' she said aloud. 'I must be getting somewhere near the centre of the earth. Let me see: that would be four thousand miles down, I think -' ..."

Who came out of a cave at night ?

There is a place low down there underground
As far from Belzebub as his tomb's deep
Not known to sight, but only by the sound

Of a small stream which trickles down the steep
Hollowing its channel, where with gentle fall
And devious course its wandering waters creep.

By that hid way my guide and I withal
Back to the lit world from the darkened dens
Toiled upward, caring for no rest at all,

He first, I following; till my straining sense
Glimpsed the brigh~t burden of the heavenly cars
Through a round hole; by this we climbed, and thence
Came forth, to look once more upon the stars.

Who ate too much underground ?

So he started to climb out of the hole. He pulled with his front paws and pushed with his back paws and in a little while his nose was out in the open again ... and then his ears and then his front paws ... and then his shoulders ... and then -
"Oh, help!" said P**h "I'd better go back"
"Oh bother" said P**h "I shall have to go on."
"I can't do either!" said P**h "Oh help and bother!"

Answers next year.

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