A Merry Banker In The Far East

A Merry Banker In The Far East

Author: Young, Walter Harry

Cost: $4.99

Format: PDF


These memoirs recall a life in finance that took the author from the dreary hinterland of Willesden Junction to the exotic worlds of the Far East and South America. In a light-hearted style, replete with colourful and now antiquated phrases, a series of amusing escapades is recounted. The book begins with the author aged nineteen joining "The Union" bank in London. After three years, and fearful of a life of drudgery "totting up", he takes the advice of a colleague to "shake the pagoda tree" and applies to the "eastern Bank". There he excels in the office and and on the cinder track, and, ahead of time, is sent out to Manila as a sub-accountant.

There an idyllic life is recalled, with "Jones" and his chums pass their time in "the Pearls of the Orient" inhabited by a "chivalrous and hospitable race to whom dollars were not the sole object of life". His stint in Asia sees him in Manila, Iloilo, and Hong Kong, with adventures also in Macau.

After a few years as a curbstone broker in Hong Kong, the author returns to England, but before long starts a new career in Chile. There he builds up the business of the Bank of Tarapaca, before again turning his hand to the stock market.

The downloadable PDF is not a facsimile, but a re-formatted and lightly edited text laid out in a clear legible style.

Sample pages can be viewed on-line here.

First published 1916

Book length: 58,000 words


Salad Days in the City

Working at "The Union" - Favourite haunts - The Walk, A Totter - Grimy old City - "Shake the Pagoda Tree" - Joining the Eastern Bank - Picked for Manila - Sailing out with the P&O

A Griffin

Definition of a Griffin - A rough ride at sea, - "Welcome" to Manila - The Spanish - From steamy office to the breezes of Luneta - A day at the bull-fight - Colour and Romance - Cholera - The "Musical Race" - Plum-puddings and "missteaks"

A Typhoon Ball

Spanish, a language fraught with danger - Anglo-Saxon humour - A widow in decline - Drinking through the "howler"

The Governor’s Dinner Party

Tiffin interrupted - Camaraderie in the East - Promoted at Iloilo - An office in Jaro - Competing for the depositor-bird - The grand occasion and a verbal man-trap

Pyjamas, Dutch Wives and a Bank Inspector

Light clothes and birthday suits - One of the boys - Pyjama parties - Arrival of the white brides - The Scotsman’s wedding night - Dealing with a bank inspector - Wanderings at night

Carabaos and a Poker Party, Farewell to the Philippines

Birthday treat - A slight and some water buffaloes - Hasty retreats - Banking superman - Shipping out rice - Enjoying lessons in spanish - Good times come to an end

The Forgery

Return to Hong Kong - The "King of the Sedangs" - The Spanish Canciller - Cash? a rash decision - "I suppose it is alright, old man?" - Dash to Macao, Through the "Night Houses" - Sea chase to Amoy - Conspiracy revealed - A Chino-Portuguese den on Queen’s Road - Fortune foretold

Snipe and a Buffalo

Penang paradise - The best curry in the world - Dynamite fishing off Hong Kong - Shooting in the Paddy fields - Pranks and a ruined tiffin

The Scene is Changed from China to Chile

eaving the bank - Share pushing - Return to London - Thatched House Club - Humble pie and hard work at York Bank - Job offers - Journey to Chile - Spanish fans and Portuguese titles - Arrival in Valparaiso


A swagger banquet - Argument about a bit of French fluff - Not a punishment for a frenchman - Tar and Feathering - Copper prospects - Attractions of Oruro

Patagonia Patter

Impressions of Patagonia - Amid icebergs and Indians - Cantering across the Pamapa - Becomes a sheep farmer - Shepherds, land-grabbers and the wealth of Punta Arenas - Misadventures in the wild

My Farewell Dinner

At Bunout’s - No pious gang - Althetic feats - Wilder and wilder - Tarapacá’s infamous name

Experiences financial and otherwise

"South Sea Bubble" in Valpariso - Easy dollars from commodities - A popular director - Rash hotel purchase, "una camisa de once varas" - More company flotations and land rights

Petty Cash

Back home - A traveller - Sport in India and the Himalayas