If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten. — Rudyard Kipling

Richard of Jamestown - James Otis




The Effect of Captain Smith's Return

It was well for us of Jamestown that my master returned just when he did, for already had our gentlemen, believing him dead, refused longer to work, and even neglected the hunting, when game of all kinds was so plentiful. They had spent the time roaming around searching for gold, until we were once more in need of food.

The sickness had come among us again, and of all our company, which numbered an hundred when Captain Newport sailed for England, only thirty-eight remained alive.

Within four and twenty hours after Captain Smith came back, matters had so far mended that every man who could move about at will, was working for the common good, although from that time, until Captain Newport came again, we had much of suffering.

With the coming of winter Nathaniel and I were put to it to do our work in anything like a seemly manner. What with the making of candles, or of rushlights; tanning deer hides in such fashion as Captain Smith had taught us; mending his doublets of leather, as well as our own; keeping the house and ground around it fairly clean, in addition to cooking meals which might tempt the appetite of our master, we were busy from sunrise to sunset.

[Illustration] from Richard of Jamestown by James Otis

Nor were we without our reward. On rare occasions Captain Smith would commend us for attending to our duties in better fashion than he had fancied lads would ever be able to do, and very often did Master Hunt whisper words of praise in our ears, saying again and again that he would there were in his house two boys like us.

This you may be sure was more of payment than we had a reasonable right to expect, for certain it is that even at our best the work was but fairly done, as it ever must be when there are houseboys instead of housewives at home.

Master Hunt had a serving man, William Rods, and he was not one well fitted to do a woman's work, for in addition to being clumsy, even at the expense of breaking now and then a wooden trencher bowl, he had no thought that cleanliness was, as the preacher often told us, next to godliness.

It was he, and such as he, that caused Captain Smith and those others of the Council who were minded to work for the common good, very much of trouble.

The rule, as laid down by my master, was that those living in a dwelling should keep cleanly the land roundabout the outside for a space of five yards, and yet again and again have I seen William Rods throw the refuse from the table just outside the door, meaning to take it away at a future time, and always forgetting so to do until reminded by some one in authority.

However, it is not for me to speak of such trifling things as these, although had you heard Captain Smith and Master Hunt in conversation, you would not have set them down as being of little importance. Those two claimed that only by strict regard to cleanliness, both of person and house, would it be possible for us, when another summer came, to ward off that sickness which had already carried away so many of our company.

After Captain Smith had brought matters to rights in the village, setting this company of men to building more houses, and that company to hewing down trees for firewood, which would be needed when the winter had come, Master Hunt made mention of a matter which I knew must have been very near his heart many a day.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

Who I am
Left Alone in the World
An Idle Boy
Captain Smith Comes to London
Meeting Captain Smith
Captain Smith Speaks to Me
Plans of the London Company
The Vessels of the Fleet
How I Earned my Passage
When the Fleet Set Sail
The Voyage Delayed
Nathaniel's Story
We Make Sail Again
The First Island
Captain Smith Accused
Captain Smith a Prisoner
I Attend My Master
Several Islands Visited
A Variety of Wild Game
The Tempest
The New Country Sighted
The Leader Not Known
Arrival at Chesapeake Bay
An Attack by the Savages
Reading the Company's Orders
Captain Smith on the Council
Smith Remains Aboard
Exploring the Country
People Land from the Ships
Captain Smith Proven Innocent
We Who were Left Behind
Baking Bread without Ovens
Unequal Division of Labor
Building a Home of Logs
Keeping House
Lack of Cleanliness
Cave Homes
The Golden Fever
Ducks and Oysters
Roasting Oysters
Leaning to Cook
The Sweet Potato Root
A Touch of Homesickness
Master Hunt's Preaching
Neglecting the Future
Surprised by Savages
Strengthening the Fort
Sickness and Death
Smith Gains Authority
Disagreeable Discipline
Signs of Rebellion
Second Proclamation
Building a Fortified Village
Trapping Turkeys
A Crude Kind of Chimney
Cooking a Turkey
Candles or Rushlights
The Visit of Pocahontas
Captain Kendall's Plot
Death of Captain Kendall
Captain Smith's Expedition
An Exciting Adventure
Taken Before Powhatan
Pocahontas Begs for Smith
Captain Smith's Return
A New Church
Captain Newport's Return
Gold-Seekers
A Worthless Cargo
Condition of the Colony
Tobacco
Captain Newport's Return
Gazing at the Women
Hunt Brings Great News
Captain Newport's Instructions
The Story of Roanoke
The Crowning of Powhatan
Preparing for the Future
Stealing Company Goods
What the Thieving Led To
Fear of Famine
The Unhealthful Location
Gathering Oysters
Sturgeon for Food
Turpentine and Tar
Making Clapboards
Providing for Children
Dreams of the Future
A Plague of Rats
Treachery During Smith's Absence
Captain Smith's Speech
The New Laws
The Accident
Captain Smith's Departure
The "Starving Time"
Our Courage Gives Out
Abandoning Jamestown
Lord De la Warr's Arrival
The Young Planters