"Second man at Johnson and Merivale's, 41 Chancery Lane."
"Good-night!" said I, and vanished, like all disconsolate and broken-hearted heroes, into the darkness, with grief and rage and laughter all simmering within me like a boiling pot.
One more little scene, and I have done.
Last night we all supped at Lord John Roxton's rooms, and sitting together afterwards we smoked in good comradeship and talked our adventures over.
It was strange under these altered surroundings to see the old, well-known faces and figures.
There was Challenger, with his smile of condescension, his drooping eyelids, his intolerant eyes, his aggressive beard, his huge chest, swelling and puffing as he laid down the law to Summerlee.
And Summerlee, too, there he was with his short briar between his thin moustache and his gray goat's-beard, his worn face protruded in eager debate as he queried all Challenger's propositions.
Finally, there was our host, with his rugged, eagle face, and his cold, blue, glacier eyes with always a shimmer of devilment and of humor down in the depths of them.
Such is the last picture of them that I have carried away.
It was after supper, in his own sanctum—the room of the pink radiance and the innumerable trophies—that Lord John Roxton had something to say to us.
From a cupboard he had brought an old cigar-box, and this he laid before him on the table.
"There's one thing," said he, "that maybe I should have spoken about before this, but I wanted to know a little more clearly where I was.
No use to raise hopes and let them down again.
But it's facts, not hopes, with us now.
You may remember that day we found the pterodactyl rookery in the swamp—what?
Well, somethin' in the lie of the land took my notice.
Perhaps it has escaped you, so I will tell you.
It was a volcanic vent full of blue clay."
The Professors nodded.
"Well, now, in the whole world I've only had to do with one place that was a volcanic vent of blue clay. That was the great De Beers Diamond Mine of Kimberley—what?
So you see I got diamonds into my head.
I rigged up a contraption to hold off those stinking beasts, and I spent a happy day there with a spud.
This is what I got."
He opened his cigar-box, and tilting it over he poured about twenty or thirty rough stones, varying from the size of beans to that of chestnuts, on the table.
"Perhaps you think I should have told you then.
Well, so I should, only I know there are a lot of traps for the unwary, and that stones may be of any size and yet of little value where color and consistency are clean off.
Therefore, I brought them back, and on the first day at home I took one round to Spink's, and asked him to have it roughly cut and valued."
He took a pill-box from his pocket, and spilled out of it a beautiful glittering diamond, one of the finest stones that I have ever seen.
"There's the result," said he.
"He prices the lot at a minimum of two hundred thousand pounds.
Of course it is fair shares between us.
I won't hear of anythin' else.
Well, Challenger, what will you do with your fifty thousand?"
"If you really persist in your generous view," said the Professor, "I should found a private museum, which has long been one of my dreams."
"And you, Summerlee?"
"I would retire from teaching, and so find time for my final classification of the chalk fossils."
"I'll use my own," said Lord John Roxton, "in fitting a well-formed expedition and having another look at the dear old plateau.
As to you, young fellah, you, of course, will spend yours in gettin' married."
"Not just yet," said I, with a rueful smile.
"I think, if you will have me, that I would rather go with you."
Lord Roxton said nothing, but a brown hand was stretched out to me across the table.