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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 remonstrates, in a tone of gentle deprecation.
Jasper, with a forced smile, stretches out his right hand, as if at once to disarm apprehension and gain time to get better.
When Jasper is restored, he lays a tender hand upon his nephew's shoulder, and, in a tone of voice less troubled than the purport of his words--indeed with something of raillery or banter in it--thus addresses him:
Anyhow, my dear Ned,' Jasper resumes, as he shakes his head with a grave cheerfulness, 'I must subdue myself to my vocation: which is much the same thing outwardly.
Jasper, becoming a breathing man again without the smallest stage of transition between the two extreme states, lifts his shoulders, laughs, and waves his right arm.
Jasper, with his hand to his chin, and with an expression of musing benevolence on his face, has attentively watched every animated look and gesture attending the delivery of these words.
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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