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'Sorry to hear from Tope that you have not been well, Jasper.'
Jasper is a dark man of some six-and-twenty, with thick, lustrous, well-arranged black hair and whiskers.
'We shall miss you, Jasper, at the "Alternate Musical Wednesdays" to-night; but no doubt you are best at home.
Jasper listens, starts from his chair, and catches a young fellow in his arms, exclaiming:
Jasper stands still, and looks on intently at the young fellow, divesting himself of his outward coat, hat, gloves, and so forth.
Jasper opens a door at the upper end of the room, and discloses a small inner room pleasantly lighted and prepared, wherein a comely dame is in the act of setting dishes on table.
As the boy (for he is little more) lays a hand on Jasper's shoulder, Jasper cordially and gaily lays a hand on HIS shoulder, and so Marseillaise-wise they go in to dinner.
Jasper interposes, taking his place at the table with a genial smile, 'and so do you, Ned, that Uncle and Nephew are words prohibited here by common consent and express agreement.
Jasper's concentrated face again includes the portrait as he returns: 'Very like your sketch indeed.'
Over in the vacant lots was Jasper, young, coal black, and of magnificent build, sitting on a wheelbarrow in the pelting sun--at work, supposably, whereas he was in fact only preparing for it by taking an hour's rest before beginning.
Jasper went to work energetically, at once, perceiving that his leisure was observed.
The table was of wood painted and varnished to imitate jasper, and the pedestal on which it stood was of the same material, with four eagles' claws projecting from it to support the weight more steadily.
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