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At first, Maya considers Daddy Clidell to be just another one of Vivianís lovers; but she begins to admire him as a simple, hard- working man, who has succeeded in spite of his lack of education. The owner of several apartment buildings and pool halls, Clidell is known as "a man of honor." His house is a "fourteen-room typical San Franciscan post-earthquake affair," where a succession of roomers come and go; they include shipyard workers, "much-powdered prostitutes," college graduates, and restaurant owners.
While Vivian is busy teaching Maya personal hygiene, proper posture, table manners, and other things, Daddy Clidell teaches Maya how to play poker, blackjack, tonk, and other card games. He also sometimes takes her with him when he is working; he introduces her to his underworld friends, who mistakenly believe she is Clidellís daughter since they resemble one another. One of men, called Red Leg, tells Maya a story of how he conned a white con man by selling him a piece of land that belongs to the state. Maya laughs at the incident and believes it to be a great achievement. She says of her race, "We are the victims of the worldís most comprehensive robbery. Life demands a balance. Itís all right if we do a little robbing now."
At first Maya tries to write off Daddy Clidell as another faceless name added to Vivianís roster of conquests. Clidell, however, refuses to be dismissed like that. Although he is strong and proud, he is also tender and intelligent. He spends time with Maya, teaching her card games. He also takes her with him from time to time when he is working.