Chapter 18 Summary
The men try to sleep, but the total silence and thoughts of their impending suffering and death prevent much rest. After a few hours, Sir Henry suggests that they eat some of the food that is still remaining from the basket that Foulata brought with her. Captain Good does not see why; the sooner they die, the better. Eating would just prolong their death, not prolong their life.
Sir Henry then suggests that they yell in case anyone should be looking for them and may be outside in the outer chamber. They cry out, but there is no response. All they hear is silence, so they give in to their despair. Quatermain and Captain Good begin to sob.
The day passes. They soon notice that there is a steady supply of fresh air. They look for the source, but after an hour Sir Henry and Quatermain give up. Captain Good perseveres and finds a corner where the stone sounds hollow and there seems to be a slight breeze. They all pull on the stone, which eventually gives way to reveal a stone stairway.
Quatermain fills his pockets and a basket with diamonds, but the others will take nothing with them. They begin to descend the dark stairway.
They find themselves in a labyrinth, which they follow with dwindling hope. Quatermain thinks about leaving the basket full of diamonds but decides he might as well die a rich man than a poor one.
Eventually they hear the sound of running water. Suddenly Good falls into an underground river and desperately grabs for something to hang onto. He finds a rock, and the two others pull him to safety.
They continue on their way, retracing their steps to find another tunnel leading in a different direction. Sir Henry suggests that they take it because all roads are alike and they might as well keep on walking until they drop.
Soon they see a speck of light ahead. They follow it to find a small opening, probably made by a jackal. They exit into the starlit night. The earth gives way under them, and they fall down to the grass below them.
They find that they are in the pit from where they diamonds were extracted, with the Three Silent Ones standing above. They make it to the top and walk down the mountainside. They find a fire below and meet once again Infadoos, who welcomes them with joy and tears.