276 ADVENTURES OF WILLIAM SHORT NOSE
head of any Saracen who appeared on the walls. So the Unbelievers fell back and took the way to the Aliscans, there to build as quickly as they might an engine to bring up against the tower and overthrow it.
When William beheld the smoke, and whence it came, he cried, ' Orange is burning! Holy Saint Mary, Gibourc is carried captive ! To arms ! To arms!' And he spurred his horse to Orange, Rainouart running by his side. From her tower Gibourc saw through the smoke a thousand banners waving and the sparkle of armour, and heard the sound of the horses' hoofs, and it seemed to her that the Infidels were drawing near anew. ' Oh, William !' cried she, ' have you really forgotten me ? Noble Count, you linger overlong! Nevermore shall I look upon your face.' And so saying she fell fainting on the floor.
But something stirred the pulses of Gibourc, and she soon sat up again, and there at the gate was William the Count, with Rainouart behind him. ' Fear nothing, noble lady,' said he, ' it is the army of France that I have brought with me. Open, and welcome to us !' The news seemed so good to Gibourc that she could not believe it, and she bade the Count unlace his helmet, so that she might indeed be sure that it was he. William did her bidding, then like an arrow she ran to the gate and let down the drawbridge, and William stepped across it and embraced her tenderly. Then he ordered his army to take up its quarters in the city.
Gibourc's eyes had fallen upon Rainouart, who had passed her on his way to the kitchen, where he meant to leave his stout wooden staff. ' Tell me,' said she to the Count, ' who is that young man who bears lightly on his shoulder that huge piece of wood which would weigh down a horse ? He is handsome and well made. Where did you find him ? '
' Lady,' answered William, ' he was given me by the King.'