Now there was no more doubt that Cold Harbor might be made into a well-appointed tavern. With a little masonry to reenforce them the walls would form a base for a half-timbered house roofed with tiles from Wilfrid’s pottery. The largest room would be the general guest-room in which the tables would be set for all comers, and those who could not afford better accommodation might sleep there on benches or on the floor. For guests of higher station, especially those who had ladies in their party, private chambers and dining-rooms would be provided. Master Gay intended to furnish a suite for himself and any of his friends who came that way.
“And by the way,” said Guy suddenly, “Cold Harbor will never do for a name. What shall you call the inn, Martin?”
Bouvin snapped his fingers. “I have thought and thought until my head goes to split. I would call it Boulogne Harbor, but there is no picture you could make of that.”
“‘Mouth’ is the English for harbor,” suggested Wilfrid. “But all the country people would call it ’Bull-and-Mouth.”
Padraig began sketching with a bit of charcoal on the broken wall. “Make it that and I’ll paint the sign for ye. ’Bull-and-Mouth’—every hungry man will see the meaning o’ that.”
With a dozen strokes he sketched a huge mouth about to swallow a bull. This, done with a fine show of color, became the sign of the tavern. Martin never tired of explaining the pun to those who asked. Even before the guest-rooms were finished, travelers began arriving, drawn by the fame of Martin’s savory and succulent dishes. Pilgrims, merchants, knights, squires, showmen, soldiers, minstrels, scholars, sea-captains—they came and came again. Almost every subject in church or state, from Peter’s pence to the Third Crusade, from the Constitutions of Clarendon to clipped money, was discussed at Martin’s tables, with point and freedom. Cold Harbor entered upon a new life and became part of the foundation of a new empire.
Amber, copper, jet and tin,
Anklet, bracelet, necklace, pin,—
That is the way the trades begin
Over the pony’s back.
Mother-o’-pearl or malachite,
Ebony black or ivory white
Lade the dromond’s rushing flight
Over Astarte’s track.
Crucifix or mangonel,
Steel for sword or bronze for bell,—
That is the way we trafficking sell,
Out of the tempest’s wrack.
Marble, porcelain, tile or brick,
Hemlock, vitriol, arsenic—
Souls or bodies barter quick—
Masters, what d’ye lack?