Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/267

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253
THE SUBTERRANEAN RIVER MIDROI.

biologist can hold it with any consistency. Over and over again such a result was predicted of education. As she was not educated out of womanhood, so she can not be metamorphosed by politics, and will remain, when acknowledged as an individual, still the counterpart of man.


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THE SUBTERRANEAN RIVER MIDROÏ.

By Dr. PAUL RAYMOND.

THE investigations in palethnology which I have been pursuing for several years in the departments of Gard, Ardèche, and Vaucluse, France, have led me to explore the subterranean cavities, avens, caverns, and rivers which furrow the region of the Gausses. In this way I discovered, in 1894, the subterranean river of Midroï, and found it so curious that I am impelled to describe it for those who are interested in explorations of the depths of the earth, The river Midroï is situated on the left bank of the canon of the Ardèche, at the beginning of the defile of la Madeleine. Its mouth, marked by the rich vegetation that clothes the rocks around, is at a level of about twenty-feet above the average height of the river. Starting to explore this river on August 28, 1895, and carrying our instruments, our photographic apparatus, and our boat, the Microbe, with considerable difficulty across the slippery clay bottom, we passed into a gallery about thirteen feet long and ten feet high, contracting in some places to a few inches, which offered nothing of special interest. About one hundred and fifty yards farther on we came to a lake, where my progress had been stopped in a visit made to this place the year before. Launching the Microbe, we proceeded on our way to the unknown. We advanced between walls smooth and polished by the water upon this new Styx, which had a uniform depth of about ten feet (Fig. 1). After a few turns the lake became narrower; an arcade, and then a second, rose before us — the Gate of Mycenæ {Porte de Mycenes), as we called them, standing at the entrance to the second gallery. This was the end of the lake, and for the present of our sail. Making the boat fast at the first arcade, we lifted ourselves upon the second, straddling the terminal part of the lake where the slightest slip would have thrown us into it, and entered the second gallery among slender stalactite columns, finely notched on the edges {stalagmite des crénelures). A change of direction, and we were in the hall of the Dome {Escaliers des Stalagmites and Salle de Bifurcation), the vault of which is more than thirty feet high. The gallery forks here, one part going due north, the other part opening opposite,