Asian Saga 02 - Tai-Pan by James Clavell

By James Clavell

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Morley Skinner was standing at the foot of the bank. “Not glum, young man. Sad. ” He put the unfinished painting aside and set a clean piece of paper on his easel. ” Skinner lumbered up the bank, his pale brown eyes looking like the dregs of ancient beer. “Just wanted to ask you your opinion of this momentous day. Going to put out a special edition. ” “Quite correct, Mr. Skinner. You may say, ‘Mr. ’ ” He took a pinch of snuff and sneezed hugely. Then with his kerchief he dusted the excess snuff off his frock coat and the flecks of sneeze off the paper.

By custom, on every item he would add a percentage. This became his personal profit. But his earnings depended on the success of his house, and he had to cover bad debts. So he had to be very cautious and clever to become rich. Ah, Gordon Chen thought, to be as rich as Chen Sheng! Or better still as rich as Jin-qua, Chen Sheng’s uncle. He smiled to himself, finding it amusing that the British had such difficulty with Chinese names. Jin-qua’s real name was Chen-tse Jin Arn, but even the Tai-Pan, who had known Chen-tse Jin Arn for almost thirty years, still could not pronounce the name.

He wondered if Morgan had been successful in undermining Struan’s influence in Parliament and in banking circles. We be going to wreck thee, Dirk, he thought, and Hong Kong along with thee. ” he said, hastening toward the naval officer who was striding up and down near the marines. “What’s the matter with you, Jeff? You know he’s right about Hong Kong,” Tillman said. ” Cooper smiled his thin smile. “Brock’s so goddam sure of himself. ” “Yes. But Struan will lose ten times that if there’s no payment.

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