Alcuin wanted nothing more in the world than to reassure her that he hadn't meant to offend her in offering his help, but it was clear enough to anyone with eyes to see that she was distressed by the cacophonous sound of the children wailing and not necessarily what he had said. It would have been an empty and meaningless gesture in the midst of what appeared to be a minor catastrophe for the poor woman. His heart twisted with sympathy as she tried to figure out what to do and froze halfway with indecision at the sight of two yowling infants. He had seen many variations of this in his previous household.
He made a keen attempt to disguise a cringe at the door being shut firmly behind him with a sympathetic smile and hummed thoughtfully at the question. “I know they are not so different from us,” he offered with a firm nod. “and I should think that is a good enough start.”
Alcuin moved toward the angriest one on the bed and leaned down to kiss his brow before delicately lifting the boy up into his arms. “Come now, love,” the crying infant thrashed its tiny fists weakly at the indignity of it all. “There is no need, hmm? If all the world wept as you do now there would be no joy anywhere – and we would not want that, would we?”