'His conscience hath been heavy within him because he owes you a debt of fourteen deniers, having drunk wine for which he hath never paid. For the easing of his soul, he asked me to pay the money to you as I passed. Now this Gourval was very greedy for money, so he thrust forth his hand for the fourteen deniers, but Simon had his dagger ready and he pinned his hand to the door.
Forth we rode then, but when we came to the Mouton d'Or, Gourval had had word of our coming and its purpose, so that the door was barred, nor was there any way into the house. 'Let us in, good Master Gourval! cried Simon, and 'Let us in, good Master Gourval! cried I, but no word could we get through the hole in the door, save that he would draw an arrow upon us unless we went on our way.
'I have paid the Englishman's debt, Gourval! quoth he, and so rode away, laughing so that he could scarce sit his horse, leaving mine host still nailed to his door. Such is the story of the hole which you have marked, and of the smudge upon the wood. I have heard that from that time English archers have been better treated in the auberge of Cardillac. But what have we here by the wayside?"
This inn, the 'Mouton d'Or, was kept in the old days by one Francois Gourval, who had a hard fist and a harder heart. It was said that many and many an archer coming from the wars had been served with wine with simples in it, until he slept, and had then been stripped of all by this Gourval.
'Nay, my hand is wounded, quoth Simon, 'and of such a size that I cannot pass it in. 'That need not hinder, said Gourval, who was hot to be rid of us, 'pass in your left hand. 'But I have something for thee, Gourval, said Simon. 'What then? he asked. 'There was an English archer who slept here last week of the name of Hugh of Nutbourne. 'We have had many rogues here, said Gourval.
'Well, Master Gourval, quoth Simon at last, 'this is but a sorry welcome, seeing that we have ridden so far just to shake you by the hand. 'Canst shake me by the hand without coming in, said Gourval. 'And how that? asked Simon. 'By passing in your hand through the hole, said he.
Then on the morrow, if he made complaint, this wicked Gourval would throw him out upon the road or beat him, for he was a very lusty man, and had many stout varlets in his service. This chanced to come to Simon's ears when we were at Bordeaux together, and he would have it that we should ride to Cardillac with a good hempen cord, and give this Gourval such a scourging as he merited.