When we should have been striving to build up the town once more, we spent all our time loading the ship with this worthless cargo, and indeed I felt the better in my mind when finally Captain Newport set sail, the John and Francis loaded deeply with sand, because of believing that we were come to an end of hearing about treasure which lay at hand ready for whosoever would carry it away.
In this, however, I was disappointed. Although there was no longer any reason for our people to labor at what was called the gold mine, since there was no ship at hand in which to put the sand, they still talked, hour by hour, of the day when all the men in Virginia would go back to England richer than kings.
Because of such thoughts was it well nigh impossible to force them to labor once more. Yet Captain Smith and Master Hunt did all they could, even going so far as to threaten bodily harm if the people did not rebuild the storehouse, plant such seed as had been saved from the flames, and replace those portions of the palisade which had been burned.
It was while our people were thus working half-heartedly, that Captain Nelson arrived in the ship Phoenix, having been so long delayed on the voyage, because of tempests and contrary winds, that his passengers and crew had eaten nearly all the stores which the London Company sent over for our benefit, and bringing seventy more mouths to be fed.
Save that she brought to us skilled workmen, the coming of the Phoenix did not advantage us greatly, while there were added to our number, seventy men, and of oat-meal, pickled beef and pork, as much as would serve for, perhaps, three or four weeks.
Through her, however, as Master Hunt said in my hearing, came some little good, for on seeing the yellow sand, Captain Nelson declared without a question that it was worthless, and, being accustomed to working in metal, speedily proved to our people who were yet suffering with the gold fever, that there was nothing whatsoever of value in it.