jumped at any argument, however ridiculous, that he thought would help his case, "I had forgotten that. Messmates, don't you approve my determination?"
There was a general murmur of "Aye, aye," "we do," and "right you are."
"I don't—no, I do not!"
Of course it was Dick Deadeye who said this.
Bill Bobstay was in despair.
"What is to be done with this here hopeless chap?" said he. "Suppose we sing him the official Admiralty song that Sir Joseph wrote and caused to be distributed through the Fleet? It may bring this here miserable creetur to a proper state of mind!"
Ralph gave the key-note on his jews' harp, and they all struck up in chorus. Notwithstanding Ralph's thoughtful precaution, they began on seven different notes, but by the time they had finished the third line they had wobbled into something like an agreement as to the key in which it was to be sung:
A British Tar is a soaring soul
As free as a mountain bird;
His energetic fist should be ready to resist