O. Henry. A Retrieved Reformation (in English, adapted for advanced)

O. Henry. A Retrieved Reformation. Part 2 (read in English)

2. At a quarter past seven on the next morning Jimmy stood in the warden’s outer office. He had on a suit of the terribly fitting, ready-made clothes and a pair of the stiff, squeaky shoes.

The clerk handed him a railroad ticket and the five-dollar bill with which the law expected him to rehabilitate himself into good citizenship. The warden even 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.

Paying no attention to 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. From there he went straight to the railway station. He tossed a quarter into the hat of a blind man sitting by the door, and got on his train. In three hours he got off 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, my boy,” said Mike. “The governor nearly refused. Feeling all right?”

“Fine,” said Jimmy. “Got my key?”

He got his key and went upstairs, unlocking the door of a room at the back of the house. 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 detective’s shirt when they had overpowered Jimmy to arrest him.

Pulling out from the wall a folding-bed (складную кровать), 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 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 downstairs 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.

“Me?” said Jimmy, in a puzzled tone. “I don’t understand. I’m representing the New York Short Snap Biscuit Cracker and 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.

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