The dining-room at Leaside was also Colonel Ogden's study. It contained,
in addition to the mahogany sideboard with ornamental brackets at the
back, the three-tier dumb waiter and the dining-table with chairs _en
suite_, a large roll-top desk much battered and ink-stained, and bleached
by the suns of many Indian summers. There was also a leather arm-chair
with a depression in the seat, a pipe-rack and some tins of tobacco. All
of which gave one to understand that the presence of the master of the
house brooded continually over the family meals and over the room itself
in the intervals between. And lest this should be doubted, there was
Colonel Ogden's photograph in uniform that hung over the fireplace; an
enlargement showing the colonel seated in a tent at his writing-table,
his native servant at his elbow. The colonel's face looked sternly into
the camera, his pen was poised for the final word, authority personified.
The smell of the colonel's pipes, past and present, hung in the air, and
together with the general suggestion of food and newspapers, produced an
odour that became the very spirit of the room. In after years the
children had only to close their eyes and think of their father to
recapture the smell of the dining-room at Leaside.
Colonel Ogden looked at his watch; it was nine o'clock, He pushed back
his chair from the breakfast table, a signal for the family to have done
He sank into his arm-chair with a sigh; he was fifty-five and somewhat
stout. His small, twinkling eyes scanned the columns of _The Times_ as if
in search of something to pounce on. Presently he had it.
'Have you seen this advertisement of the Army and Navy?'
'Which one, dear?'
'The provision department. Surely we are paying more than this for
He extended the paper towards his wife; his hand shook a little, his face
became very slightly suffused. Mrs. Ogden glanced at the paper; then she
'Oh, no, my love, ours is twopence cheaper.'
'Oh!' said Colonel Ogden. 'Kindly ring the bell.'
Mrs. Ogden obeyed. She was a small woman, pale and pensive looking; her
neat hair, well netted, was touched with grey, her soft brown eyes were
large and appealing, but there were lines about her mouth that suggested
something different, irritable lines that drew the corners of the lips
down a little. The maid came in; Colonel Ogden smiled coldly. 'The
grocer's book, please', he said.
Mrs. Ogden quailed; it was unfortunately the one day of all the seven
when the grocer's book would be in the house.
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