270 ADVENTURES OF WILLIAM SHORT NOSE
Queen of France, and the words that you uttered must have been taught you by devils.'
' Yes, my daughter, you say truth,' answered the Queen, ' I have done ill, and if it rests with me I will make peace with my brother'; and she wept over her wicked speech, while Alix, red and white as the roses in May, went down into the hall, where the Franks were still whispering together, and calling curses on the head of William.
They all rose as the maiden entered; Aimeri, her grandfather, took her in his arms, and her four uncles kissed her cheek. Her presence seemed to calm the anger and trouble which before had reigned throughout the hall, and Ermengarde flung herself at William's feet and besought his pardon for the Queen. William raised his mother from her knees, but his anger was not soothed. ' I have no love for the King,' he said, ' and before night I will break his pride,' and he stood where he had been always standing, his face red with wrath, leaning on his naked sword. Not a sound was heard, and the eyes of all were fixed breathlessly upon William. Then in her turn Alix stepped forward and knelt at his feet. ' Punish me in my mother's place,' said she, ' and cut off my head if you will, or send me into exile, but let there be peace, I pray you, between you and my father and mother. Her ill words towards you did not come from her heart, but were put into her mouth by devils.'
At the voice of Alix William's wrath melted, but at first he would promise nothing. ' Fair son William,' said Ermengarde again, 'be content. The King will do what you desire, and will aid you to the uttermost.'
' Yes, I will aid you,' answered the King.
So peace was made, the Queen was fetched, and they all sat down to a great feast.
In this manner the pride of the King was broken.
But when one man is shifty and another is hasty wrath is not apt to slumber long, and treaties of peace