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Chapter 3
Perhaps it was a result quite different from your expectations, that Mr. David
Faux should have returned from the West Indies only a few years after his arrival
there, and have set up in his old business, like any plain man who has never
travelled. But these cases do occur in life. Since, as we know, men change their
skies and see new constellations without changing their souls, it will follow
sometimes that they don't change their business under those novel
Certainly, this result was contrary to David's own expectations. He had looked
forward, you are aware, to a brilliant career among "the blacks"; but, either
because they had already seen too many white men, or for some other reason,
they did not at once recognize him as a superior order of human being; besides,
there were no princesses among them. Nobody in Jamaica was anxious to
maintain David for the mere pleasure of his society; and those hidden merits of a
man which are so well known to himself were as little recognized there as they
notoriously are in the effete society of the Old World. So that in the dark hints that
David threw out at the Oyster Club about that life of Sultanic self-indulgence
spent by him in the luxurious Indies, I really think he was doing himself a wrong; I
believe he worked for his bread, and, in fact, took to cooking as, after all, the only
department in which he could offer skilled labour. He had formed several
ingenious plans by which he meant to circumvent people of large fortune and
small faculty; but then he never met with exactly the right circumstances. David's
devices for getting rich without work had apparently no direct relation with the
world outside him, as his confectionery receipts had. It is possible to pass a great
many bad half pennies and bad half-crowns, but I believe there has no instance
been known of passing a halfpenny or a half-crown as a sovereign. A sharper
can drive a brisk trade in this world: it is undeniable that there may be a fine
career for him, if he will dare consequences; but David was too timid to be a
sharper, or venture in any way among the mantraps of the law. He dared rob
nobody but his mother. And so he had to fall back on the genuine value there
was in him--to be content to pass as a good halfpenny, or, to speak more
accurately, as a good confectioner. For in spite of some additional reading and
observation, there was nothing else he could make so much money by; nay, he
found in himself even a capability of extending his skill in this direction, and
embracing all forms of cookery; while, in other branches of human labour, he
began to see that it was not possible for him to shine. Fate was too strong for
him; he had thought to master her inclination and had fled over the seas to that
end; but she caught him, tied an apron round him, and snatching him from all
other devices, made him devise cakes and patties in a kitchen at Kingstown. He
was getting submissive to her, since she paid him with tolerable gains; but fevers
and prickly heat, and other evils incidental to cooks in ardent climates, made him
long for his native land; so he took ship once more, carrying his six years'