also published as Dr. Nikola.
umped into it and departed. When I got back to the billiard-room Nikola was still there, practising losing hazards of extraordinary difficulty.
"'I've an opinion I've seen your friend before,' he said, as I sat down to watch him. 'He is Benwell of the Y-chang, and if I mistake not Benwell of the Y-chang remembers me.'
"'He seems to know you,' I said with a laugh.
"'Yes, Nikola continued after a little pause; 'I have had the pleasure of being in Mr. Benwell's company once before. It was in Haiphong.' Then with peculiar emphasis :' I don't know what he thinks of the place, of course, but somehow I have an idea your friend will not willingly go near Haiphong again.' After he had said this he remained silent for a little while, then he took a letter from his pocket, read it carefully, examined the envelope, and having made up his mind on a certain point turned to me again.
"'I want to ask you a question,' he said, putting the cue he had been using back into the rack. 'You know a person
Probably the most evocative, for me, of the Nikola tales, this story is set almost entirely in China and details his quest for forbidden knowledge amongst the secret temples there.