The Aetolian disaster, which had been mainly
caused by the wood, had not a little to do with these reflections.
Meanwhile, one of the soldiers who were compelled by want of room to land
on the extremities of the island and take their dinners, with outposts fixed
to prevent a surprise, set fire to a little of the wood without meaning to
do so; and as it came on to blow soon afterwards, almost the whole was consumed
before they were aware of it.
Demosthenes was now able for the first time to see how numerous the
Lacedaemonians really were, having up to this moment been under the
impression that they took in provisions for a smaller number; he also saw that the Athenians thought success important and were anxious
about it, and that it was now easier to land on the island, and accordingly
got ready for the attempt, sent for troops from the allies in the
neighborhood, and pushed forward his other preparations.
At this moment Cleon arrived at Pylos with the troops which he had asked
for, having sent on word to say that he was coming.
The first step taken by the two generals after their meeting was to send a
herald to the camp on the mainland, to ask if they were disposed to avoid
all risk and to order the men on the island to surrender themselves and
their arms, to be kept in gentle custody until some general convention
should be concluded.