Chapter 20 Summary
Quatermain is walking ahead of the other two down a stream that leads from the oasis until it disappears in the desert sands. He sees a grass hut that has a full doorway instead of the usual short “beehive” entrance.
A white man emerges dressed in skins and having an enormous black beard. He is limping as he walks toward the strangers, then falls down into a faint. Sir Henry cries out that it is his brother George.
Another man, also dressed in skins, appears from the hut. He exclaims when he sees Quatermain. It is Jim, the hunter whom Quatermain met several years earlier as he was leaving to follow “Mr. Neville” in his search for King Solomon’s mines. Sir Henry and George are greeting each other with great excitement, whatever disagreement between them (Quatermain suspects that it was over a woman) evidently forgotten.
George explains why he was found in the desert oasis, far from civilization and far from King Solomon’s mines. He and Jim had headed toward the mountains until George’s leg was shattered by a falling rock. Although it healed, George was in no condition to continue the quest to the mines or to cross the desert to return home.
Therefore, for two years they have lived like Robinson Crusoe on the desert oasis. There has been sufficient game coming to the oasis to keep them well fed. George had decided it was better to die of old age on the oasis than to die in the desert.
Quatermain and Captain Good agree between the two of them to divide up the diamonds into thirds, with one third going to Sir Henry, despite his objections. If he does not want them, then he can give them to his brother George.
The white men and Jim manage to get the lame George across the desert and eventually back to Quatermain’s home in Durban.
Sir Henry, George, and Captain Good return to England. Sir Henry writes a letter to Quatermain, telling him that when he tried to sell the diamonds, he was told that they would have to be sold in small portions over many years because no one could afford to buy them all at once.
From the few diamonds he sold, Sir Henry received one hundred and eighty thousand pounds. Sir Henry begs Quatermain to come to England. He has befriended Quatermain’s son Harry, inviting him to come to his home to hunt (although Harry accidentally shot him in the leg but managed to cut out the pellets as a proper medical student should).
Quatermain decides to accept the invitation and sets out to rejoin his friends and his son in England.