262 AD VENTURES OF WILLIAM SHOE T NOSE
ears of Gibourc, and, changing her mind, she said quickly: ' There is the proof that you are not William my husband, the " Strong Arm," whose fame has spread far ! For he would never have suffered his brethren to be so shamefully entreated while he was by !'
' Heavens!' cried the Count, ' to what hard tests does she put me ! But if I lose my head I will do her bidding, for what is there that I would not do for the love of God and of her!' Without a word more he turned, and, relacing his helmet, spurred his horse at the Saracens with his lance in rest. So sudden and fierce was his attack that the foremost riders fell back on those behind, who were thrown into confusion, while William's sword swept him a path to the centre, where the prisoners stood bound. The Pagans expected the city gates to open and a body of Franks to come forth to destroy them, and without waiting another moment they turned and fled. Though the prisoners were free, William pursued the enemy hotly.
' Oh, fair Lord !' called Gibourc, who from the battlements had watched the fight, ' come back, come back, for now indeed you may enter.' And William heard her voice, and left the Saracens to go where they would while he struck the chains off the prisoners, and led them to the gates of Orange, while he himself rode back to the Saracens.
Not again would the Lady Gibourc have reason to call him coward.
And Gibourc saw, and her heart swelled within her, and she repented her of her words. ' It is my fault if he is slain,' she wept. ' Oh, come back, come back!'
And William came.
Now the drawbridge was let dowm before him, and he entered the city followed by the Christians whom he had delivered, and the Countess unlaced his helmet, and bathed his wounds, and then stopped, doubting.
' You cannot be William after all,' said she, ' for