264 AD VENTURES OF WILLIAM SHOR T NOSE
' Henceforth my life will be spent in mourning, for my friends and comrades who went to war with me are lying dead at the Aliscans. Vivian is dead also, but Ber-trand and Guy, Guichard the bold, and Gerard the brave, are captives in the Saracen camp.'
Great was the sorrow in the city of Orange, great likewise was the sorrow in the palace of her lord, where the ladies of the Countess mourned for their husbands. But it was Gibourc herself who first dried her tears, and roused herself from her grief for Vivian and others whom she had loved well. 'Noble Count,' she said, 'do not lose your courage, and let the Infidels crush your spirit. Remember it is not near Orleans, in safety, that your lands lie, but in the very midst of the Saracens. Orange never will have peace till they are subdued. So send messengers to Paris, to your brother-in-law King Louis, and to your father Aimeri, asking for aid. Then march upon the Saracens, and rescue the captives that are in their hands before they are carried across the sea.'
' Heavens !' cried William, ' has the world ever seen so wise a lady ? '
' Let no one turn you from your road,' she went on. 'At the news of your distress Ermengarde of Pavia, whom may God bless, and Aimeri with the white beard, and all the Barons that are your kin, will fly to your help. Their numbers are as the sands of the sea.'
' But how shall I make them believe in what has befallen us ? ' answered William. ' Gibourc, sweetheart, in France they would hold any man mad who brought such a message. If I do not go myself I will send nobody, and go myself I will not, for I will not leave you alone again for all the gold in Pavia.'
' Sir, you must go,' said Gibourc, weeping. c I will stay here with my ladies, of whom there are plenty, and each will place a helmet on her head, and hang a shield round her neck, and buckle a sword to her side, and with the help of the Knights whom you have delivered we