Letter to JR [Masson] from Norman Young at the Colonial Secretary's Office, Hong Kong

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'You must be enjoying a car again. I feel almost as if I had given you one.

They used to call the National Liberal Club in London the Giants' Urinal (& may still for all I know): I was reminded of this every time I looked out of the windows of the room in the Cathay where Hall Patch[?] & Rogers were working, so renewing my gratitude to you for so much more pleasant an outlook.

I regretted having to travel in the P Taft [SS PRESIDENT TAFT]: her decks were dirty; her ventilation like the inside of a torpedo; the [illegible] not as good as the EMPRESS; and the service bad. An Australian fellow-passenger, concerning the above, added "And if anything happened, they would want to save your life as much as any other line: but I personally very much doubt if they would be able to." But the defection of Phillips gave me a two-berth cabin to myself, & I had some fun explaining to the cabin steward on his rare appearances that Ping Sam was not a fellow-passenger, but my servant; & that what he ordered was for me not him. All this page is meant to be news, not a complaint (whatever internal evidence may suggest): don't repeat any to your friend, who looked me up on board before going back ashore, & whose feelings I do not want to hurt.

The parting of Ping Sam & your household on the steps was a good sight: I in the car felt like a bird-watcher in a hide.

The Southorns have just left the hospital & gone up to Mountain Lodge: meanwhile NL Smith, who remains OAG till Southorn takes over in a fortnight, renewed his previous invitation to me to come and stay at Govt House. This time I accepted, partly because the Cluib had had to move me to a smaller room, & am writing from there now.

I am told that eighty-five magnums of champagne were consumed at the opening ceremony of the new HK&S head office, & even if someone has converted bottles in magnums or otherwise embellished I do not much regret not having participated.

Thank you again very much. I shall be unhappy if you do not squeeze out of your next leave at least a few days to visit Berkshire - or perhaps if you really find London intolerable, St Enodoc - with me.

Yours ever

Norman Young

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