en-de  O. Henry - A Retrieved Reformation Medium
Eine gerettete Resozialisierung. ...

Aus: "Roads of Destiny" (1909, dt. Titel "Straßen des Schicksals", 1947).

Von O. Henry - William Sydney Porter (11. September 1862 - 5. Juni 1910).

Eine Wache kam in die Schuhwerkstatt des Gefängnisses, wo Jimmy Valentine gerade gewissenhaft Schuhoberleder annähte und führte ihn in das Verwaltungsbüro. ... Dort händigte der Gefängnisdirektor Jimmy sein Begnadigungspapier aus, das an diesem Morgen vom Gouverneur unterzeichnet worden war. Jimmy nahm sie irgendwie müde entgegen. ... Er hatte fast 10 Monate einer vierjährigen Haftstrafe verbüßt. Er hatte erwartet, nur ungefähr drei Monate zu bleiben, höchstens. Wenn ein Mann wie Jimmy Valentine, mit so vielen Freunden draußen, ins Gefängnis kommt, lohnt es sich kaum, seine Haare zu schneiden.
"Valentine", sagte der Gefängnisdirektor, "Sie werden nun hinausgehen in den Morgen. Nehmen Sie sich zusammen und werden Sie ein Mann. Sie sind im Grunde kein schlechter Kerl. Hören Sie auf, Safes zu knacken und leben Sie ehrlich."
"Ich?" sagte Jimmy, überrascht. "Warum, ich habe nie in meinem Leben einen Safe geknackt."
"Ach, nein," lachte der Gefängnisdirektor. "Natürlich nicht. Nun, mal sehen. Wie kommt es, dass du wegen jener Springfield Sache eingesperrt wurdest? War es, weil Sie keinen Nachweis für ein Alibi liefern würden, aus Angst jemanden in der äußerst hochtrabenden Gesellschaft zu kompromittieren? Oder war es einfach nur, weil eine Gruppe bösartiger, alter Geschworenen es auf Sie abgesehen hatte? ... Es ist immer das Eine oder das Andere mit euch unschuldigen Opfern."
"Ich?" sagte Jimmy, noch immer völlig ahnungslos. "Aber, Herr Direktor, in meinem ganzen Leben war ich nie in Springfield!"
"Bringen Sie ihn zurück, Cronin!"... sagte der Aufseher, "und besorge für ihn Strassenkleidung. Schließen Sie ihm morgens um sieben auf und lassen ihn zur Arrestzelle kommen. Denken Sie besser über meinen Rat nach, Valentine."
Um viertel nach sieben am nächsten Morgen stand Jimmy im Vorzimmer des Gefängnisdirektors. Er hatte einen miserabel sitzenden Anzug von der Stange an und ein Paar von den steifen, quietschenden Schuhen, die der Staat für seine entlassenen Zwangsgäste zur Verfügung stellt. ...
Der Beamte händigte ihm ein Bahnticket aus und einen Fünf-Dollar-Schein, womit das Gesetz von ihm erwartete, sich in gute Staatsbürgerschaft und Wohlstand zu resozialisieren. ... Der Direktor gab ihm eine Zigarre und schüttelte ihm die Hand. Valentine, 9762, "begnadigt vom Gouverneur" wurde in den Büchern vermerkt, und Mr. James Valentine trat hinaus in die Sonne.
Den Gesang der Vögel, die sich hin und her bewegenden Bäume und den Geruch der Blumen missachtend, ging Jimmy geradewegs in ein Restaurant. Dort kostete er die ersten Freuden der Freiheit in Gestalt eines gegrillten Hähnchens und einer Flasche Weißwein- gefolgt von einer Zigarre, die eine Klasse besser war als diejenige, die ihm der Gefängnisdirektor gegeben hatte. Von dort ging er gemütlich weiter zum Bahnhof. Er warf einen Vierteldollar in den Hut eines blinden Mannes, der an der Tür saß, und bestieg seinen Zug. Nach einer dreistündigen Fahrt erreichte er eine kleine Stadt in der Nähe der Staatsgrenze. Er ging zum Cafe eines Mike Dolan und gab Mike, der allein hinter der Bar war, die Hand. ...
"Tut mir leid, dass wir nicht früher kommen konnten, Jimmy, alter Junge," sagte Mike. "Aber wir mussten uns gegen diesen Protest aus Springfield wehren, und der Gouverneur hätte sich fast gesträubt. Geht's dir gut?"
"Fein," sagte Jimmy. "Hast du meinen Schlüssel?"
Er nahm seinen Schlüssel und ging die Treppe hinauf und schloss die Tür eines Raumes an der Rückseite auf. Alles war genau so, wie er es verlassen hatte. Dort auf dem Boden lag immer noch Ben Prices Kragenknopf, der von dem Stehkragenhemd des berühmten Kriminalbeamten abgerissen worden war, als sie Jimmy überwältigt hatten, um ihn zu verhaften.
Nachdem er ein Klappbett von der Wand gezogen hatte, verschob Jimmy eine Holzverkleidung in der Wand und zog einen verstaubten Koffer heraus. Er öffnete ihn und starrte liebevoll auf das beste Einbrecherwerkzeug im Osten. Es war ein vollständiger Satz speziell gehärtenden Stahls, die neuesten Entwicklungen von Bohrfutter, Punzen, Bohreinsätzen, Brecheisen, Schraubzwingen und Stangenbohrern, mit zwei, drei Neuheiten, die Jimmy selbst entwickelt hatte, worauf er stolz war. Über neunhundert Dollar hatte es ihn gekostet, sie herstellen zu lassen an ... einem Ort, wo sie solche Dinge für den Berufsstand herstellen.
Nach einer halben Stunde, ging Jimmy nach unten und durch das Cafe. Er hatte jetzt geschmackvolle und gut sitzende Kleidung an und trug seinen abgestaubten und gereinigten Koffer in der Hand.
"Hast du was vor?" fragte Mike Dolan freundlich.
"Ich?" fragte Jimmy in einem verwirrten Tonfall. "Ich verstehe nicht. Ich repräsentiere die New York Amalgamated Short Snap Biscuit Cracker and Frazzled Wheat Company."
Diese Erklärung gefiel Mike solchermaßen, dass Jimmy auf der Stelle Seltzer in Milch zu sich nehmen musste. Er rührte niemals "harte" Drinks an. ...
Eine Woche nach der Freilassung von Valentine, 9762, gab es in Richmond, Indiana, einen sauberen Fall von Tresor-Aufbruch ohne Hinweis auf den Urheber. Knapp achthundert Dollar waren alles, was sichergestellt wurde. Zwei Wochen danach wurde ein patentierter, geprüfter, diebstahlsicherer Safe in Logansport mit Bargeld in Höhe von fünfzehnhundert Dollar wie eine Käse geöffnet; Wertpapiere und Silber blieben unangetastet. Das begann die Schurkenfänger zu interessieren. Dann wurde ein altmodischer Banksafe in Jefferson City aktiv und spuckte aus seinem Krater eine Eruption von Banknoten in Höhe von fünftausend Dollar. Die Verluste waren jetzt hoch genug, um die Angelegenheit in der Arbeitsgruppe von Ben Price vorzubringen. Durch den Vergleich von Notizen wurde eine bemerkenswerte Ähnlichkeit der Einbruchsmethoden festgestellt. Ben Price untersuchte die Tatorte der Raubüberfälle und man hörte ihn sagen: "Das ist Dandy Jim Valentines Handschrift. Er ist wieder im Geschäft. Schaut das Zahlenschloss an -- so leicht herausgerissen wie ein Radieschen bei nassem Wetter. Er hat die einzigen Werkzeuge, die dafür geeignet sind. Und seht, wie sauber diese Zuhalterungen herausgeschlagen wurden! Jimmy muss immer nur ein Loch bohren. Ja, ich denke, ich fahnde nach Mr. Valentine. Das nächste Mal wird er seine Zeit ohne so einen Quatsch wie Haftverkürzung oder Vollstreckungserleichterungen absitzen.
Ben Price kannte Jimmys Gewohnheiten. Er hatte sie kennengelernt während er am Springfield-Fall gearbeitet hatte. Lange Abstände zwischen seinen Taten, schnelle Fluchtwege, keine Komplizen und ein Geschmack daran, gesellschaftsfähig zu sein - - diese Eigenarten hatten geholfen, Mr. Valentine als jemand bekannt zu machen, der Strafverfolgung erfolgreich vermied. Es wurde in Umlauf gebracht, dass Ben Price die Verfolgung des schwer fassbaren Einbrechers aufgenommen hatte, und manch einer mit einbruchsicherem Tresor fühlte sich entspannter.
Eines Nachmittags stieg Jimmy Valentine mit seinem Koffer aus dem Posttaxi in Elmore, einem kleinen Ort, fünf Meilen von der Bahnlinie entfernt, im "Blackjack County" von Arkansas. Jimmy, der aussah wie ein athletischer junger Zwölftklässler, der gerade vom College nach hause gekommen war, ging den Bürgersteig hinunter in Richtung Hotel. ...
Eine junge Frau überquerte die Straße, überholte ihn an der Ecke und ging durch eine Tür, über der das Schild "The Elmore Bank" hing. Jimmy Valentine schaute in ihre Augen, vergaß, was er war und wurde ein anderer Mann. Sie senkte ihren Blick und errötete leicht. Junge Männer von Jimmys Art und Aussehen waren rar in Elmore. ...
Jimmy schnappte sich einen Jungen, der auf den Stufen zur Bank herumtrödelte, als sei er einer der Aktionäre, und begann ihm Fragen über die Stadt zu stellen und fütterte ihn in Abständen mit Zehncentstücken. Mit der Zeit kam die junge Frau heraus, blickte königlich sich des jungen Mannes mit dem Koffer nicht bewusst, und ging ihres Weges. ...
"Ist die junge Dame nicht Polly Simpson?" fragte Jimmy mit fadenscheiniger List.
"Nein," sagte der Junge. "Sie ist Annabel Adams. Ihr Vater besitzt diese Bank. Warum bist du nach Elmore gekommen? Ist das eine goldene Uhrkette? Ich bekomme eine Bulldogge. Hast du noch mehr Groschen? ...
Jimmy ging zum Hotel Planters, trug sich als Ralph D. Spencer ein und mietete ein Zimmer. Er lehnte sich an die Rezeption und erklärte dem Angestellten sein Vorhaben..... Er sagte, er wäre nach Elmore gekommen, um nach einem Standort für eine unternehmerische Tätigkeit zu suchen. Wie steht es momentan um das Schuhgeschäft in der Stadt? ... Er hätte an ein Schuhgeschäft gedacht. Gab es da eine Eröffnung?
Der Angestellte war von Jimmys Kleidung und Umgangsformen beeindruckt. Er selbst war so etwas wie ein Modebeispiel für die mager vergoldete Jugend von Elmore, doch jetzt erkannte er seine Defizite. Während er versuchte herauszufinden, wie Jimmy den Four-in-Hand-Krawattenknoten band, gab er höflich Auskunft.
Ja, es sollte dort im Schuhsektor eine gute Eröffnung geben. Es gab am Ort kein exklusives Schuhgeschäft. Die Kurzwaren- und Kolonialläden betrieben den Schuhverkauf.... Das Geschäft wäre in allen Branchen ziemlich gut. ... Er hoffe, Mr. Spencer würde sich entscheiden, sich in Elmore niederzulassen. Er würde eine zum Wohnen angenehme Stadt vorfinden, und sehr kontaktfreudige Leute. ...
Mr. Spencer dachte daran, ein paar Tage in der Stadt einen Zwischenstopp einzulegen und sich die Lage anzusehen. Nein, der Empfangschef müsste keinen Pagen rufen. Er würde seinen Koffer selbst hinauftragen, er wäre ziemlich schwer.
Mr. Ralph Spencer, der Phönix, der aus Jimmy Valentines Asche aufstieg - - aus der Asche der Flamme einer plötzlichen, ihn umstimmenden Anfall von Liebe - - blieb in Elmore und wurde wohlhabend. Er eröffnete ein Schuhgeschäft und stellte einen guten Handelsverlauf sicher.
Gesellschaftlich war er ebenfalls ein Erfolg und gewann viele Freunde. Und er erfüllte sich seinen Herzenswunsch. Er traf Miss Annabel Adams und wurde immer mehr von ihrem Charme gefesselt.
Am Ende des Jahres war dies Mr. Ralph Spencers Situation : er hatte die Achtung der Gemeinde gewonnen, sein Schuhgeschäft florierte und er und Annabel wollten in zwei Wochen heiraten. Mr. Adams, der typische, arbeitsame Landbanker billigte Spencer. Annabels Stolz auf ihn entsprach nahezu ihrer Zuneigung. Er war so sehr in der Familie von Mr. Adams und im Haus von Annabels verheirateter Schwester zuhause, als wäre er bereits ein Mitglied der Familie.
Eines Tages saß Jimmy in seinem Zimmer und schrieb diesen Brief, den er an die sichere Adresse eines alten Freundes in St. Louis schickte: Lieber Old Pal: Ich möchte, dass du nächsten Mittwoch um neun Uhr am Sullivan's Place in Little Rock bist. Ich möchte, dass du ein paar Kleinigkeiten für mich zu Ende bringst. Und außerdem möchte ich dir meine Sammlung von Werkzeugen schenken. Ich weiß, du wirst froh sein sie zu bekommen -- du könntest das Zeug nicht für 1000 Dollar noch einmal herstellen. ... Sag Billy, dass ich das alte Geschäft aufgegeben habe -- vor einem Jahr. -- ... Ich habe ein hübsches Geschäft. Ich führe nun ein ehrenwertes Leben und heute in zwei Wochen werde ich das feinste Mädchen auf der Erde heiraten. Das ist das einzige Leben, Billy -- das aufrechte. Nicht für eine Million Dollar würde ich auch nur einen Dollar vom Geld eines anderen mehr anrühren. ... Wenn ich verheiratet bin, werde ich alles verkaufen und in den Westen gehen, wo ich weniger Gefahr laufe, dass alte Anschuldigungen wieder gegen mich vorgebracht werden. Ich sag' dir, Billy, sie ist ein Engel. Sie glaubt an mich; und ich würde für nichts in der Welt ein weiteres krummes Ding drehen. ... Sei in jedem Fall im Sully's, denn ich muss dich sehen. ... Ich bringe das Werkzeug mit.
Dein alter Freund, Jimmy.
Am Montagabend, nachdem Jimmy diesen Brief geschrieben hatte, zuckelte Ben Price in einem Einspänner unauffällig nach Elmore hinein. Er lungerte in seiner ruhigen Art in der Stadt herum, bis er herausfand, was er wissen wollte. Vom Drugstore gegenüber Spencer's Schuhladen schaute er sich Ralph D. Spencer genau an.
"Du wirst also die Bankierstochter heiraten, Jimmy", sagte Ben leise vor sich hin. "Na, ich weiß nicht!"
Am nächsten Morgen frühstückte Jimmy bei Familie Adams. An diesem Tag wollte er nach Little Rock fahren, um seinen Hochzeitsanzug zu bestellen und etwas Hübsches für Annabel zu kaufen. Das würde das erste mal sein, dass er die Stadt verlassen hatte seit er nach Elmore kam. Es war nun mehr als ein Jahr her, seit seinen letzten "Brüchen", und er dachte er könnte sich frei bewegen. ...
Nach dem Frühstück fuhr eine ganz schöne Familienhorde zusammen in das Stadtzentrum -- Herr Adams, Annabel, Jimmy, und Annabels verheiratete Schwester mit ihren zwei kleinen Töchtern, im Alter von fünf und neun. Sie kamen am Hotel vorbei, wo Jimmy noch seine Wohnung hatte, und er rannte hoch zu seinem Zimmer und brachte seinen Koffer mit. ... Dann gingen sie weiter zur Bank. Dort standen Jimmys Pferd und Wagen und Dolph Gibson, der ihn hinüber zum Bahnhof fahren würde. ...
Alle gingen zwischen den vornehmen, aus Eichenholz hergestellten Handläufen hinein in den Bankraum - - einschließlich Jimmy, denn Mr. Adams' zukünftiger Schwiegersohn war überall willkommen. ... Die Angestellten waren erfreut von dem gut aussehenden, angenehmen, jungen Mann gegrüßt zu werden, der Miss Annabel heiraten würde. ... Jimmy stellte seinen Koffer hin. Annabel, deren Herz vor Glück und lebendiger Jugend sprudelte, setzte Jimmys Hut auf und nahm den Koffer. ... "Wäre ich nicht ein netter Schlagzeuger?" sagte Annabel. "Oh je! Ralph, warum ist er so schwer? ... Es fühlt sich an, als wäre es voller Goldsteine."
"Viele vernickelte Schuhlöffel darin", sagte Jimmy cool, "die ich zurück geben werde. ... Ich dachte, ich spare Express-Gebühren, indem ich sie hinbringe. ... Ich bin schrecklich sparsam geworden."
Die Elmore Bank hatte gerade einen neuen Safe und Tresorraum eingebaut. ... Mr. Adams war sehr stolz darauf und bestand auf einer Inspektion durch jeden Einzelnen. Der Tresorraum war klein, aber er hatte eine neue, patentierte Tür. Er wurde mit einem einzigen Handgriff durch drei solide Stahlbolzen gleichzeitig verschlossen und hatte ein Zeitschloss. Mr. Adams erklärte Mr. Spencer, der ein höfliches, aber nicht allzu verständiges Interesse zeigte, freudestrahlend seine Funktionsweise. ... Die beiden Kinder, May und Agatha, waren vom glänzenden Metall, der lustigen Uhr und den Knöpfen entzückt.
Während sie derart beschäftigt waren, schlenderte Ben Price herein und schaute, auf seinen Ellbogen gelehnt, beiläufig zwischen den Absperrungen hindurch. Er sagte dem Kassierer, dass er gar nichts wolle, er warte nur auf einen Mann, den er kenne.
Plötzlich gab es einen oder zwei Schreie von den Frauen und eine Unruhe. Unbemerkt von den Älteren hatte May, das neunjährige Mädchen, Agatha nur so zum Spaß in den Tresorraum eingesperrt ... Sie hatte dann die Bolzen verriegelt und den Knopf des Kombinationsschlosses gedreht, wie sie es bei Herrn Adam gesehen hatte.
Der alte Bankier sprang zum Griff und zerrte kurz daran. "Die Tür lässt sich nicht öffnen", stöhnte er. "Weder wurde die Uhr aufgezogen noch die Kombination eingestellt."
Agathas Mutter schrie wieder hysterisch.
"Still! Still!" sagte Mr. Adams und hob seine zitternde Hand. "Seid alle einen Moment ruhig. Agatha!" rief er so laut wie er konnte. "Hör mir zu." Während der darauffolgenden Stille konnten sie nur das schwache Geräusch des, in panischer Angst, im dunklen Tresorraum wild schreienden Kindes hören. ...
"Mein heißgeliebter Schatz!" jammerte die Mutter. "Sie wird vor Schreck sterben! Öffne die Tür! Oh, brich sie auf! ... Könnt ihr Männer denn nichts tun?"
"Es gibt erst in Little Rock einen Mann, der diese Tür öffnen kann", sagte Mr. Adams mit zitternder Stimme. ... "Mein Gott! Spencer, was sollen wir tun? Dieses Kind... sie kann es da drin nicht lange aushalten. Es gibt nicht genug Luft, und außerdem wird sie vor Schreck in Krämpfe geraten."
Agathas Mutter schlug verweifelt mit ihren Händen gegen die Tür des Tresorraumes. ... Jemand schlug verrückterweise Dynamit vor. ... Annabel wandte sich an Jimmy, ihre großen Augen voller Angst, aber noch nicht verzweifelt. Für eine Frau scheint den Kräften des Mannes, den sie verehrt, nichts unmöglich zu sein. ...
"Kannst du nichts tun, Ralph--/versuchst du/, ja?"
Mit einem seltsamen, sanften Lächeln auf den Lippen sah er sie mit seinen kühnen Augen an. ... "Annabel",sagte er, "gib mir diese Rose, die du trägst, ja?"
Kaum glaubend, dass sie ihn richtig verstanden hatte, löste sie die Knospe vom Brustteil ihres Kleides und legte sie in seine Hand. Jimmy stopfte sie in seine Westentasche, warf seinen Mantel ab und zog seine Hemdsärmel hoch. Mit dieser Handlung verschwand Ralph D. Spencer und Jimmy Valentine nahm seinen Platz ein.
"Geht alle von der Tür weg," , befahl er kurz. ...
Er stellte seinen Koffer auf den Tisch und klappte ihn flach auf. Von dieser Zeit an schien er sich der Anwesenheit von irgendeinem anderen nicht bewusst zu sein. Er breitete die blanken, seltsamen Gerätschaften rasch und ordentlich aus, leise vor sich hin pfeifend, was er immer tat, wenn er an der Arbeit war. In tiefer Stille und bewegungslos beobachteten ihn die anderen wie verzaubert.
In einer Minute bohrte sich Jimmys Lieblingsbohrer reibungslos in die Stahltür. In zehn Minuten -- seinen eigenen Einbruchsrekord brechend -- entriegelte er die Bolzen und öffnete die Tür. ...
Agatha wurde, fast ohnmächtig, aber unversehrt, von ihrer Mutter in die Arme geschlossen.
Jimmy Valentine zog seinen Mantel an und ging außerhalb der Gitter auf die Vordertür zu. Als er ging, dachte er, er höre eine weit entfernte Stimme, die er einmal kannte, "Ralph!" rufen. Aber er zögerte keinen Moment. ...
An der Tür stand ein großer Mann irgendwie in seinem Weg.
"Hallo, Ben!" sagte Jimmy, noch mit seinem eigenartigen Lächeln. "Doch schließlich gekommen, was? Nun, lass uns gehen. Ich weiß nicht, ob es jetzt einen großen Unterschied macht."
Und dann verhielt sich Ben Price ziemlich seltsam. ...
"Vermute, Sie irren sich, Mr. Spencer", sagte er. "Glaube nicht, dass ich Sie kenne. Ihr Wagen wartet auf Sie, nicht wahr?"
Und Ben Price drehte sich um und schlenderte die Straße hinunter.

- DAS ENDE-
unit 1
A Retrieved Reformation.
3 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 2
From: Roads of Destiny (1909).
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 3
By O. Henry - William Sydney Porter (September 11, 1862 – June 5, 1910).
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 5
There the warden handed Jimmy his pardon, which had been signed that morning by the governor.
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Jimmy took it in a tired kind of way.
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unit 7
He had served nearly ten months of a four year sentence.
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unit 8
He had expected to stay only about three months, at the longest.
4 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 10
"Now, Valentine," said the warden, "you'll go out in the morning.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 11
Brace up, and make a man of yourself.
2 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 12
You're not a bad fellow at heart.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 13
Stop cracking safes, and live straight."
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 14
"Me?"
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 15
said Jimmy, in surprise.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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"Why, I never cracked a safe in my life."
3 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 17
"Oh, no," laughed the warden.
2 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 18
"Of course not.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 19
Let's see, now.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 20
How was it you happened to get sent up on that Springfield job?
3 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 22
Or was it simply a case of a mean old jury that had it in for you?
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unit 23
It's always one or the other with you innocent victims."
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"Me?"
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 25
said Jimmy, still blankly virtuous.
3 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 26
"Why, warden, I never was in Springfield in my life!"
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 27
"Take him back, Cronin!"
4 Translations, 7 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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said the warden, "and fix him up with outgoing clothes.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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Unlock him at seven in the morning, and let him come to the bull-pen.
5 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 30
Better think over my advice, Valentine."
4 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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At a quarter past seven on the next morning Jimmy stood in the warden's outer office.
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The warden gave him a cigar, and shook hands.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 38
From there he proceeded leisurely to the depot.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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He tossed a quarter into the hat of a blind man sitting by the door, and boarded his train.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 40
Three hours set him down in a little town near the state line.
3 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 41
He went to the cafe of one Mike Dolan and shook hands with Mike, who was alone behind the bar.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 42
"Sorry we couldn't make it sooner, Jimmy, me boy," said Mike.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 43
"But we had that protest from Springfield to buck against, and the governor nearly balked.
3 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 44
Feeling all right?"
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 45
"Fine," said Jimmy.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 46
"Got my key?"
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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He got his key and went upstairs, unlocking the door of a room at the rear.
2 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 48
Everything was just as he had left it.
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He opened this and gazed fondly at the finest set of burglar's tools in the East.
2 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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In half an hour Jimmy went down stairs and through the cafe.
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unit 56
"Got anything on?"
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 57
asked Mike Dolan, genially.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 58
"Me?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 59
said Jimmy, in a puzzled tone.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 60
"I don't understand.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 61
I'm representing the New York Amalgamated Short Snap Biscuit Cracker and Frazzled Wheat Company."
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unit 63
He never touched "hard" drinks.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 65
A scant eight hundred dollars was all that was secured.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 67
That began to interest the rogue- catchers.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 69
The losses were now high enough to bring the matter up into Ben Price's class of work.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 70
By comparing notes, a remarkable similarity in the methods of the burglaries was noticed.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 72
He's resumed business.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 73
Look at that combination knob-- jerked out as easy as pulling up a radish in wet weather.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 74
He's got the only clamps that can do it.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 75
And look how clean those tumblers were punched out!
3 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 76
Jimmy never has to drill but one hole.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 77
Yes, I guess I want Mr. Valentine.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 78
He'll do his bit next time without any short-time or clemency foolishness."
4 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 79
Ben Price knew Jimmy's habits.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 80
He had learned them while working on the Springfield case.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 86
Jimmy Valentine looked into her eyes, forgot what he was, and became another man.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 87
She lowered her eyes and coloured slightly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 88
Young men of Jimmy's style and looks were scarce in Elmore.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 91
"Isn' that young lady Polly Simpson?"
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 92
asked Jimmy, with specious guile.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 93
"Naw," said the boy.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 94
"She's Annabel Adams.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 95
Her pa owns this bank.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 96
Why'd you come to Elmore for?
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 97
Is that a gold watch-chain?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 98
I'm going to get a bulldog.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 99
Got any more dimes?"
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 100
Jimmy went to the Planters' Hotel, registered as Ralph D. Spencer, and engaged a room.
3 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 101
He leaned on the desk and declared his platform to the clerk.
3 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 102
He said he had come to Elmore to look for a location to go into business.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 103
How was the shoe business, now, in the town?
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 104
He had thought of the shoe business.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 105
Was there an opening?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 106
The clerk was impressed by the clothes and manner of Jimmy.
3 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 108
While trying to figure out Jimmy's manner of tying his four-in-hand he cordially gave information.
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 109
Yes, there ought to be a good opening in the shoe line.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 110
There wasn't an exclusive shoe-store in the place.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 111
The dry-goods and general stores handled them.
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 112
Business in all lines was fairly good.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 113
Hoped Mr. Spencer would decide to locate in Elmore.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 114
He would find it a pleasant town to live in, and the people very sociable.
6 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 115
Mr. Spencer thought he would stop over in the town a few days and look over the situation.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 116
No, the clerk needn't call the boy.
5 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 117
He would carry up his suit-case, himself; it was rather heavy.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 119
He opened a shoe-store and secured a good run of trade.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 120
Socially he was also a success, and made many friends.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 121
And he accomplished the wish of his heart.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 122
He met Miss Annabel Adams, and became more and more captivated by her charms.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 124
Mr. Adams, the typical, plodding, country banker, approved of Spencer.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 125
Annabel's pride in him almost equalled her affection.
4 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 128
I want you to wind up some little matters for me.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 129
And, also, I want to make you a present of my kit of tools.
3 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 130
I know you'll be glad to get them--you couldn't duplicate the lot for a thousand dollars.
3 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 131
Say, Billy, I've quit the old business--a year ago.
3 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 132
I've got a nice store.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 133
I'm making an honest living, and I'm going to marry the finest girl on earth two weeks from now.
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 134
It's the only life, Billy--the straight one.
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 135
I wouldn't touch a dollar of another man's money now for a million.
4 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 137
I tell you, Billy, she's an angel.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 138
She believes in me; and I wouldn't do another crooked thing for the whole world.
4 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 139
Be sure to be at Sully's, for I must see you.
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 140
I'll bring along the tools with me.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 141
Your old friend, Jimmy.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 143
He lounged about town in his quiet way until he found out what he wanted to know.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 144
unit 145
"Going to marry the banker's daughter are you, Jimmy?"
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 146
said Ben to himself, softly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 147
"Well, I don't know!"
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 148
The next morning Jimmy took breakfast at the Adamses.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 149
He was going to Little Rock that day to order his wedding-suit and buy something nice for Annabel.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 150
That would be the first time he had left town since he came to Elmore.
3 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 154
Then they went on to the bank.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 158
Jimmy set his suit-case down.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 160
"Wouldn't I make a nice drummer?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 161
said Annabel.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 162
"My!
3 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 163
Ralph, how heavy it is?
4 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 164
Feels like it was full of gold bricks."
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 165
"Lot of nickel-plated shoe-horns in there," said Jimmy, coolly, "that I'm going to return.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 166
Thought I'd save express charges by taking them up.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 167
I'm getting awfully economical."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 168
The Elmore Bank had just put in a new safe and vault.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 169
Mr. Adams was very proud of it, and insisted on an inspection by every one.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 170
The vault was a small one, but it had a new, patented door.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 171
unit 173
The two children, May and Agatha, were delighted by the shining metal and funny clock and knobs.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 175
He told the teller that he didn't want anything; he was just waiting for a man he knew.
3 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 176
Suddenly there was a scream or two from the women, and a commotion.
4 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 178
She had then shot the bolts and turned the knob of the combination as she had seen Mr. Adams do.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 179
The old banker sprang to the handle and tugged at it for a moment.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 180
"The door can't be opened," he groaned.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 181
"The clock hasn't been wound nor the combination set."
3 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 182
Agatha's mother screamed again, hysterically.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 183
"Hush!"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 184
said Mr. Adams, raising his trembling hand.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 185
"All be quite for a moment.
3 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 186
Agatha!"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 187
he called as loudly as he could.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 188
"Listen to me."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 190
"My precious darling!"
3 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 191
wailed the mother.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 192
"She will die of fright!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 193
Open the door!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 194
Oh, break it open!
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 195
Can't you men do something?"
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 196
unit 197
"My God!
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 198
Spencer, what shall we do?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 199
That child--she can't stand it long in there.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 200
There isn't enough air, and, besides, she'll go into convulsions from fright."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 201
Agatha's mother, frantic now, beat the door of the vault with her hands.
3 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 202
Somebody wildly suggested dynamite.
5 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 203
Annabel turned to Jimmy, her large eyes full of anguish, but not yet despairing.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 204
To a woman nothing seems quite impossible to the powers of the man she worships.
4 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 205
"Can't you do something, Ralph--/try/, won't you?"
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 206
He looked at her with a queer, soft smile on his lips and in his keen eyes.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 207
"Annabel," he said, "give me that rose you are wearing, will you?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 209
Jimmy stuffed it into his vest-pocket, threw off his coat and pulled up his shirt- sleeves.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 210
With that act Ralph D. Spencer passed away and Jimmy Valentine took his place.
2 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 211
"Get away from the door, all of you," he commanded, shortly.
3 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 212
He set his suit-case on the table, and opened it out flat.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 213
From that time on he seemed to be unconscious of the presence of any one else.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 215
In a deep silence and immovable, the others watched him as if under a spell.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 216
In a minute Jimmy's pet drill was biting smoothly into the steel door.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 217
In ten minutes--breaking his own burglarious record--he threw back the bolts and opened the door.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 218
Agatha, almost collapsed, but safe, was gathered into her mother's arms.
6 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 219
Jimmy Valentine put on his coat, and walked outside the railings towards the front door.
3 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 220
As he went he thought he heard a far-away voice that he once knew call "Ralph!"
4 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 221
But he never hesitated.
3 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 222
At the door a big man stood somewhat in his way.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 223
"Hello, Ben!"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 224
said Jimmy, still with his strange smile.
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 225
"Got around at last, have you?
7 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 226
Well, let's go.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 227
I don't know that it makes much difference, now."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 228
And then Ben Price acted rather strangely.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 229
"Guess you're mistaken, Mr. Spencer," he said.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 230
"Don't believe I recognize you.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 231
Your buggy's waiting for you, ain't it?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 232
And Ben Price turned and strolled down the street.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 233
-THE END-
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
Scharing7 • 7725  commented on  unit 218  1 year, 2 months ago
bf2010 • 10880  commented on  unit 164  1 year, 2 months ago
Scharing7 • 7725  translated  unit 162  1 year, 2 months ago
Siri • 7198  commented on  unit 164  1 year, 2 months ago
lollo1a • 9516  translated  unit 186  1 year, 2 months ago
anitafunny • 1298  translated  unit 162  1 year, 2 months ago
anitafunny • 1298  translated  unit 162  1 year, 2 months ago
lollo1a • 9516  commented on  unit 28  1 year, 2 months ago
Merlin57 • 6241  translated  unit 58  1 year, 2 months ago
Merlin57 • 6241  translated  unit 24  1 year, 2 months ago
Merlin57 • 6241  translated  unit 14  1 year, 2 months ago

A Retrieved Reformation.

From: Roads of Destiny (1909).

By O. Henry - William Sydney Porter (September 11, 1862 – June 5, 1910).

A guard came to the prison shoe-shop, where Jimmy Valentine was assiduously stitching uppers, and escorted him to the front office. There the warden handed Jimmy his pardon, which had been signed that morning by the governor. Jimmy took it in a tired kind of way. He had served nearly ten months of a four year sentence. He had expected to stay only about three months, at the longest. When a man with as many friends on the outside as Jimmy Valentine had is received in the "stir" it is hardly worth while to cut his hair.
"Now, Valentine," said the warden, "you'll go out in the morning. Brace up, and make a man of yourself. You're not a bad fellow at heart. Stop cracking safes, and live straight."
"Me?" said Jimmy, in surprise. "Why, I never cracked a safe in my life."
"Oh, no," laughed the warden. "Of course not. Let's see, now. How was it you happened to get sent up on that Springfield job? Was it because you wouldn't prove an alibi for fear of compromising somebody in extremely high-toned society? Or was it simply a case of a mean old jury that had it in for you? It's always one or the other with you innocent victims."
"Me?" said Jimmy, still blankly virtuous. "Why, warden, I never was in Springfield in my life!"
"Take him back, Cronin!" said the warden, "and fix him up with outgoing clothes. Unlock him at seven in the morning, and let him come to the bull-pen. Better think over my advice, Valentine."
At a quarter past seven on the next morning Jimmy stood in the warden's outer office. He had on a suit of the villainously fitting, ready-made clothes and a pair of the stiff, squeaky shoes that the state furnishes to its discharged compulsory guests.
The clerk handed him a railroad ticket and the five-dollar bill with which the law expected him to rehabilitate himself into good citizenship and prosperity. The warden gave him a cigar, and shook hands. Valentine, 9762, was chronicled on the books, "Pardoned by Governor," and Mr. James Valentine walked out into the sunshine.
Disregarding the song of the birds, the waving green trees, and the smell of the flowers, Jimmy headed straight for a restaurant. There he tasted the first sweet joys of liberty in the shape of a broiled chicken and a bottle of white wine--followed by a cigar a grade better than the one the warden had given him. From there he proceeded leisurely to the depot. He tossed a quarter into the hat of a blind man sitting by the door, and boarded his train. Three hours set him down in a little town near the state line. He went to the cafe of one Mike Dolan and shook hands with Mike, who was alone behind the bar.
"Sorry we couldn't make it sooner, Jimmy, me boy," said Mike. "But we had that protest from Springfield to buck against, and the governor nearly balked. Feeling all right?"
"Fine," said Jimmy. "Got my key?"
He got his key and went upstairs, unlocking the door of a room at the rear. Everything was just as he had left it. There on the floor was still Ben Price's collar-button that had been torn from that eminent detective's shirt-band when they had overpowered Jimmy to arrest him.
Pulling out from the wall a folding-bed, Jimmy slid back a panel in the wall and dragged out a dust- covered suit-case. He opened this and gazed fondly at the finest set of burglar's tools in the East. It was a complete set, made of specially tempered steel, the latest designs in drills, punches, braces and bits, jimmies, clamps, and augers, with two or three novelties, invented by Jimmy himself, in which he took pride. Over nine hundred dollars they had cost him to have made at ----, a place where they make such things for the profession.
In half an hour Jimmy went down stairs and through the cafe. He was now dressed in tasteful and well-fitting clothes, and carried his dusted and cleaned suit-case in his hand.
"Got anything on?" asked Mike Dolan, genially.
"Me?" said Jimmy, in a puzzled tone. "I don't understand. I'm representing the New York Amalgamated Short Snap Biscuit Cracker and Frazzled Wheat Company."
This statement delighted Mike to such an extent that Jimmy had to take a seltzer-and-milk on the spot. He never touched "hard" drinks.
A week after the release of Valentine, 9762, there was a neat job of safe-burglary done in Richmond, Indiana, with no clue to the author. A scant eight hundred dollars was all that was secured. Two weeks after that a patented, improved, burglar-proof safe in Logansport was opened like a cheese to the tune of fifteen hundred dollars, currency; securities and silver untouched. That began to interest the rogue- catchers. Then an old-fashioned bank-safe in Jefferson City became active and threw out of its crater an eruption of bank-notes amounting to five thousand dollars. The losses were now high enough to bring the matter up into Ben Price's class of work. By comparing notes, a remarkable similarity in the methods of the burglaries was noticed. Ben Price investigated the scenes of the robberies, and was heard to remark:
"That's Dandy Jim Valentine's autograph. He's resumed business. Look at that combination knob-- jerked out as easy as pulling up a radish in wet weather. He's got the only clamps that can do it. And look how clean those tumblers were punched out! Jimmy never has to drill but one hole. Yes, I guess I want Mr. Valentine. He'll do his bit next time without any short-time or clemency foolishness."
Ben Price knew Jimmy's habits. He had learned them while working on the Springfield case. Long jumps, quick get-aways, no confederates, and a taste for good society--these ways had helped Mr. Valentine to become noted as a successful dodger of retribution. It was given out that Ben Price had taken up the trail of the elusive cracksman, and other people with burglar-proof safes felt more at ease.
One afternoon Jimmy Valentine and his suit-case climbed out of the mail-hack in Elmore, a little town five miles off the railroad down in the black-jack country of Arkansas. Jimmy, looking like an athletic young senior just home from college, went down the board side-walk toward the hotel.
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 coloured slightly. Young men of Jimmy's style and looks were scarce in Elmore.
Jimmy collared a boy that was loafing on the steps of the bank as if he were one of the stockholders, and began to ask him questions about the town, feeding him dimes at intervals. By and by the young lady came out, looking royally unconscious of the young man with the suit- case, and went her way.
"Isn' that young lady Polly Simpson?" asked Jimmy, with specious guile.
"Naw," said the boy. "She's Annabel Adams. Her pa owns this bank. Why'd you come to Elmore for? Is that a gold watch-chain? I'm going to get a bulldog. Got any more dimes?"
Jimmy went to the Planters' Hotel, registered as Ralph D. Spencer, and engaged a room. He leaned on the desk and declared his platform to the clerk. He said he had come to Elmore to look for a location to go into business. How was the shoe business, now, in the town? He had thought of the shoe business. Was there an opening?
The clerk was impressed by the clothes and manner of Jimmy. He, himself, was something of a pattern of fashion to the thinly gilded youth of Elmore, but he now perceived his shortcomings. While trying to figure out Jimmy's manner of tying his four-in-hand he cordially gave information.
Yes, there ought to be a good opening in the shoe line. There wasn't an exclusive shoe-store in the place. The dry-goods and general stores handled them. Business in all lines was fairly good. Hoped Mr. Spencer would decide to locate in Elmore. He would find it a pleasant town to live in, and the people very sociable.
Mr. Spencer thought he would stop over in the town a few days and look over the situation. No, the clerk needn't call the boy. He would carry up his suit-case, himself; it was rather heavy.
Mr. Ralph Spencer, the phoenix that arose from Jimmy Valentine's ashes --ashes left by the flame of a sudden and alterative attack of love-- remained in Elmore, and prospered. He opened a shoe-store and secured a good run of trade.
Socially he was also a success, and made many friends. And he accomplished the wish of his heart. He met Miss Annabel Adams, and became more and more captivated by her charms.
At the end of a year the situation of Mr. Ralph Spencer was this: he had won the respect of the community, his shoe-store was flourishing, and he and Annabel were engaged to be married in two weeks. Mr. Adams, the typical, plodding, country banker, approved of Spencer. Annabel's pride in him almost equalled her affection. He was as much at home in the family of Mr. Adams and that of Annabel's married sister as if he were already a member.
One day Jimmy sat down in his room and wrote this letter, which he mailed to the safe address of one of his old friends in St. Louis:
Dear Old Pal:
I want you to be at Sullivan's place, in Little Rock, next
Wednesday night, at nine o'clock. I want you to wind up some
little matters for me. And, also, I want to make you a present of
my kit of tools. I know you'll be glad to get them--you couldn't duplicate the lot for a thousand dollars. Say, Billy, I've quit
the old business--a year ago. I've got a nice store. I'm making an honest living, and I'm going to marry the finest girl on earth two weeks from now. It's the only life, Billy--the straight one. I
wouldn't touch a dollar of another man's money now for a million. After I get married I'm going to sell out and go West, where there won't be so much danger of having old scores brought up against me. I tell you, Billy, she's an angel. She believes in me; and I wouldn't do another crooked thing for the whole world. Be sure to be at Sully's, for I must see you. I'll bring along the tools with me.
Your old friend, Jimmy.
On the Monday night after Jimmy wrote this letter, Ben Price jogged unobtrusively into Elmore in a livery buggy. He lounged about town in his quiet way until he found out what he wanted to know. From the drug-store across the street from Spencer's shoe-store he got a good look at Ralph D. Spencer.
"Going to marry the banker's daughter are you, Jimmy?" said Ben to himself, softly. "Well, I don't know!"
The next morning Jimmy took breakfast at the Adamses. He was going to Little Rock that day to order his wedding-suit and buy something nice for Annabel. That would be the first time he had left town since he came to Elmore. It had been more than a year now since those last professional "jobs," and he thought he could safely venture out.
After breakfast quite a family party went downtown together--Mr. Adams, Annabel, Jimmy, and Annabel's married sister with her two little girls, aged five and nine. They came by the hotel where Jimmy still boarded, and he ran up to his room and brought along his suit- case. Then they went on to the bank. There stood Jimmy's horse and buggy and Dolph Gibson, who was going to drive him over to the railroad station.
All went inside the high, carved oak railings into the banking-room-- Jimmy included, for Mr. Adams's future son-in-law was welcome anywhere. The clerks were pleased to be greeted by the good-looking, agreeable young man who was going to marry Miss Annabel. Jimmy set his suit-case down. Annabel, whose heart was bubbling with happiness and lively youth, put on Jimmy's hat, and picked up the suit-case. "Wouldn't I make a nice drummer?" said Annabel. "My! Ralph, how heavy it is? Feels like it was full of gold bricks."
"Lot of nickel-plated shoe-horns in there," said Jimmy, coolly, "that I'm going to return. Thought I'd save express charges by taking them up. I'm getting awfully economical."
The Elmore Bank had just put in a new safe and vault. Mr. Adams was very proud of it, and insisted on an inspection by every one. The vault was a small one, but it had a new, patented door. It fastened with three solid steel bolts thrown simultaneously with a single handle, and had a time-lock. Mr. Adams beamingly explained its workings to Mr. Spencer, who showed a courteous but not too intelligent interest. The two children, May and Agatha, were delighted by the shining metal and funny clock and knobs.
While they were thus engaged Ben Price sauntered in and leaned on his elbow, looking casually inside between the railings. He told the teller that he didn't want anything; he was just waiting for a man he knew.
Suddenly there was a scream or two from the women, and a commotion. Unperceived by the elders, May, the nine-year-old girl, in a spirit of play, had shut Agatha in the vault. She had then shot the bolts and turned the knob of the combination as she had seen Mr. Adams do.
The old banker sprang to the handle and tugged at it for a moment. "The door can't be opened," he groaned. "The clock hasn't been wound nor the combination set."
Agatha's mother screamed again, hysterically.
"Hush!" said Mr. Adams, raising his trembling hand. "All be quite for a moment. Agatha!" he called as loudly as he could. "Listen to me." During the following silence they could just hear the faint sound of the child wildly shrieking in the dark vault in a panic of terror.
"My precious darling!" wailed the mother. "She will die of fright! Open the door! Oh, break it open! Can't you men do something?"
"There isn't a man nearer than Little Rock who can open that door," said Mr. Adams, in a shaky voice. "My God! Spencer, what shall we do? That child--she can't stand it long in there. There isn't enough air, and, besides, she'll go into convulsions from fright."
Agatha's mother, frantic now, beat the door of the vault with her hands. Somebody wildly suggested dynamite. 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.
"Can't you do something, Ralph--/try/, won't you?"
He looked at her with a queer, soft smile on his lips and in his keen eyes. "Annabel," he said, "give me that rose you are wearing, will you?"
Hardly believing that she heard him aright, she unpinned the bud from the bosom of her dress, and placed it in his hand. Jimmy stuffed it into his vest-pocket, threw off his coat and pulled up his shirt- sleeves. With that act Ralph D. Spencer passed away and Jimmy Valentine took his place.
"Get away from the door, all of you," he commanded, shortly.
He set his suit-case on the table, and opened it out flat. From that time on he seemed to be unconscious of the presence of any one else. He laid out the shining, queer implements swiftly and orderly, whistling softly to himself as he always did when at work. In a deep silence and immovable, the others watched him as if under a spell.
In a minute Jimmy's pet drill was biting smoothly into the steel door. In ten minutes--breaking his own burglarious record--he threw back the bolts and opened the door.
Agatha, almost collapsed, but safe, was gathered into her mother's arms.
Jimmy Valentine put on his coat, and walked outside the railings towards the front door. As he went he thought he heard a far-away voice that he once knew call "Ralph!" But he never hesitated.
At the door a big man stood somewhat in his way.
"Hello, Ben!" said Jimmy, still with his strange smile. "Got around at last, have you? Well, let's go. I don't know that it makes much difference, now."
And then Ben Price acted rather strangely.
"Guess you're mistaken, Mr. Spencer," he said. "Don't believe I recognize you. Your buggy's waiting for you, ain't it?"
And Ben Price turned and strolled down the street.

-THE END-