Jimmy Valentine was released that day
Jimmy Valentine’s Reformation
(A Retrieved Reformation
Author: O Henry)
Jimmy Valentine was released that day.
"Now, Valentine," said the warden, "you'll go out today. Make a man of yourself. You're not a bad fellow really. Stop breaking open safes and be honest."
"Me?" said Jimmy, in surprise. "Why, I’ve never broken a safe in my life." The warden laughed. “Better think over my advice, Valentine."
In the evening Valentine arrived in his native town, went directly to the café of his old friend Mike and shook hands with Mike. Then he took the key of his room and went upstairs. Everything was just as he had left it. Jimmy removed a panel in the wall and dragged out a dust-covered suitcase. He opened it and looked fondly at the finest set of burglar’s tools. It was a complete set made of special steel. The set consisted of various tools of the latest design. Over nine hundred dollars they had cost him.
A week after the release of Valentine there was a new safe burglary in Richmond. Two weeks after that another safe was opened. That began to interest the detectives. Ben Price, a famous detective, got interested in these cases.
“That’s all Jimmy Valentine’s work. He has resumed business. He has got the only tools that can open any safe without leaving the slightest trace.
One afternoon Jimmy Valentine came to Elmore, a little town in Arkansas. A young lady crossed the street, passed him at the corner and entered a door over which was the sign “The Elmore bank”. Jimmy Valentine looked into her eyes, forgot what he was and became another man. She lowered her eyes and blushed slightly. Young men of Jimmy’s style and looks were not often met in Elmore. Jimmy called a boy who was standing on the steps of the bank and began to ask him questions about the town and the people of the town. From this boy he learnt that this girl was Annabel Adams and that her father was the owner of the bank.
Jimmy went to a hotel and registered as Ralf Spencer. To the clerk he said that he had come to Elmore to start business. The clerk was impressed by the clothes and manner of Jimmy and he was ready to give Jimmy any information. Soon Jimmy opened a shoe-store and made large profits. In all other respects he was also a success. He was popular with many important people and had many friends. And he accomplished the wish of his heart. He met Miss Anabel Adams and she fell in love with him too. Annabel’s father, who was a typical country banker approved of Spencer. The young people were to be married in two weeks. Jimmy gave up safe-burglary for ever. He was an honest man now. He decided to get rid of his tools.
At that time a new safe was put in Mr Adam’s bank. The old man was very proud of it and insisted that everyone should inspect it. So one day the whole family with the children went to the bank. Mr Adams enthusiastically explained the workings of the safe to Spencer. The two children were delighted to see the shining metal and the funny clock. While they were thus engaged Ben Price, the detective, walked into the bank and stood at the counter watching the scene. He told the cashier that he was just waiting for the man he knew. Suddenly there was a loud scream from the women. Unseen by the elders, May, the smallest girl had shut herself in the vault.
"It’s impossible to open the door now,” said Mister Adams in a trembling voice, “because the clock of the safe hasn't been wound. Oh, what shall we do? That child – she can’t stand it for long because there isn’t enough air there!”
["My precious darling!" wailed Agatha's mother. "She will die of fright! Open the door! Oh, break it open! Can't you men do something?"
Annabel turned to Jimmy, her large eyes full of anguish, but not yet despairing. To a woman nothing seems quite impossible to the powers of the man she worships.]
"Get away from the door, all of you," suddenly commanded Spencer. And it must be mentioned that Jimmy happened to have his suitcase with him because he was going to get rid of it that day. Very calmly he took out the tools and in ten minutes the vault was opened. The others watched him in amazement. The little girl, crying, rushed to her mother.
Jimmy took his suitcase and came up to Ben Price whom he had noticed long before. “Hello, Ben”, he said, “I don't know that it matters much now." And then suddenly Ben Price acted rather strangely.
"I guess you're mistaken, Mr. Spencer," he said. "I don't seem to recognize you. I think your fiancée is waiting for you, isn’t she?” Your buggy's waiting for you, ain't it?"
And Ben Price turned and walked out of the bank.
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