"You mustn't," said Billy solemnly, looking into his face with great dreamy eyes.
"You be----," said the other, and lent him a tap on the cheek with the yarn. Billy did not seem to mind this; his skin had little sensibility, owing to his disorder.
Jack recommenced on his flies, and the bystanders laughed. They always laughed now at everything Billy said, as Society used to laugh when the late Theodore Hook asked for the mustard at dinner; and would have laughed if he had said, "You see me sad, I have just lost my poor father."
David stood looking on at the slaughter with a helpless puzzled air.
At last he seemed to have an idea, he caught Jack up by the throat and knee, lifted him with gigantic strength above his head, and was just going to hurl him shrieking into the sea, when a dozen strong hands interfered, and saved the man. Then they were going to bind Billy hand and foot; but he was discovered to be perfectly calm; so they remonstrated instead, and presently Billy's commander-in-chief, a ship-boy called Georgie White, shoved in and asked him in a shrill haughty voice how he dared do that. "My dear," said Billy, with great humility and placidity, "he was killing God's creatures, no allowance: * so, ye see, to save their lives, I was _obliged._"
*Nautical phrase, meaning without stint or limit, or niggardly admeasurement as there is of grog.
At this piece of reasoning, and the simplicity and gentle conviction with which it was delivered, there was a roar. It subsided, and a doubt arose whether Billy was altogether in the wrong.
"Well," said one, "I daresay life is sweet to them little creatures, if they could speak their minds."