260 AD VENTURES OF WILLIAM SHOE T NOSE
At length, after fighting nearly every step of the way, he saw the towers of Orange before him, and his palace, Gloriette, where dwelt his wife, the Lady Gibourc. 'Ah, with what joy did I leave these walls,' he said to himself, 'and how many noble Knights have I lost since then ! Oh ! Gibourc, my wife, will you not go mad when you hear the tidings I have brought!' And, overcome with grief, the Count bowed his head on the neck of his horse.
When he recovered himself he rode straight to the City Gate, and commanded the porter to let him in. 'Let down the drawbridge,' called he, 'and be quick, for time presses.' But he forgot that he had changed his own arms, and had taken instead those of Aerofle the Saracen; therefore the porter, seeing a man with a shield and pennon and helmet that were strange to him, thought he was an enemy, and stood still where he was. ' Begone !' he said to William ; ' if you approach one step nearer, I will deal you a blow that will unhorse you ! Begone, I tell you, and as quick as you can, or when William Short Nose returns from the Aliscans it will be the worse for you.'
' Fear nothing, friend,' replied the Count, ' for I am William himself. I went to the Aliscans to fight the Saracens, and to help Vivian; but all my men are dead, and I only am left to bring these evil tidings. So open the gates, for the Saracens are close behind.'
' You must wait a moment,' answered the porter, and he quitted the turret where he had been standing and hastened to the chamber of the Lady Gibourc. 'Noble Countess,' cried he, 'there knocks at the drawbridge a Knight in pagan armour, who seems fresh from battle, for his arms are bloody. He is tall of stature and bears himself proudly, and he says he is William Short Nose. I pray you, my lady, come with me and see him for yourself.'
The face of Gibourc grew red when she heard the