And so, for the next hour, John Smith told Thomas Smythe of what had transpired in Virginia, of the discord and factions, of the troubles with the Indians, of the plots against his life.
“I have read Archer’s and Ratcliﬀe’s letters,” Sir Thomas said, tapping his ﬁngers thoughtfully on the polished surface of the table in front of him. “Archer says you sided with the sailors and refused to surrender your commission as president; Ratcliffe says you were high-handed, and—how did he put it? You ‘were sent home to answer some misdemeanors.’ ” From the tone of voice, Smith could not tell what his host was thinking.
Suddenly, Sir Thomas looked up and smiled. “And I say Archer’s a rumormonger and Ratcliffe’s a bastard. Have some aqua vitae.”
Relief, like a warm, welcome bath, washed over John Smith. His frail, ravaged body straightened slightly; his awful wound felt as if someone had spread a healing balm over it. He was not, then, out of favor with the Virginia Company Council. He knew he was not at fault; he had followed his own best judgment and had written in his own defense, but he was, after all, only the son of a yeoman farmer in Willoughby, Lincolnshire, and the men he dealt with were the sons of old, distinguished families. Francis West and his brother Thomas, Virginia’s future governor, were ﬁrst cousins twice removed to the late Queen of England, and John Smith had made an implacable enemy of Francis West.
from Jamestown: The Novel