THE GREAT CASINO BUBBLE
OR one year, eight
months and some indefinite number of days, I had nothing but inward
praise and more tangible gratitude for my room and table-boy, Tang Tai
Tai Ling had so far displayed scrupulous honesty, for he never so much
as nibbled at my sweetmeats, sampled my cigars or cigarettes, or
allowed his fingers to stray towards my small change.
one day I began to wonder whether a twisted nose in an ashen
pockmarked, though curiously ascetic, face, was not meant as a danger
signal for the unwary. I began to suspect from various trifling signs
that he was well on the way to become intimately acquainted with the
inside of the safe in my bedroom; and from then onward I systematically
changed the combination lock once a month in the stillness of night.
But for all that he bore me no grudge, I felt sure. On the contrary, I
suspected that I had greatly risen in his esteem.
the absence of definite proof of his intentions I censured myself,
however, for allowing the shadow of my suspicion to fall upon him; and
I was rather glad than otherwise when events proved that I had not in
thought been unjust to him, and extreme danger forced him to lift the
mask which hid— I hate to say it—a thief.
It happened like this.
rooms next to mine were occupied by an American newly arrived in the
colony, a self-styled doctor of medicine and, as it turned out, a
thoroughgoing quack. The fellow was a heavy drinker, and one night when
he had taken on a rather heavy mixed cargo of liquor he forgot to lock
his bedroom door before tumbling into bed, boots and all. In the