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

O. Henry. A Retrieved Reformation. Part 5 (read in English)

5. So, Mr. Ralph Spencer, the phoenix that arose from Jimmy Valentine’s ashes -—ashes left by the flame of a sudden attack of love— remained in Elmore, and prospered. He opened a shoe-store and started business.

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 shop was flourishing, and he and Annabel were engaged to be married in two weeks. Mr. Adams, the typical country banker, approved of Spencer. Annabel’s pride in him almost equaled her affection. He was as much at home in the family of Mr. Adams as if he were already a member.

One day Jimmy sat down in his room and wrote this letter, which he addressed to 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 help me. And, also, I want to make you a present of my kit of tools. I know you’ll be glad to get them. Say, Billy, I’ve quit the old business—a year ago. I’ve got a nice shop. 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.

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