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

O. Henry. A Retrieved Reformation. Part 6 (read in English)

6. On the Monday night after Jimmy wrote this letter, Ben Price came into Elmore. 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 stayed, 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 a car and Dolph Gibson, who was going to drive him over to the railroad station.

All went 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. “My! Ralph, how heavy it is. Feels like it was full of gold bricks,”- said Annabel.

“Lot of nickel-plated shoe-horns in there,” said Jimmy, coolly, “that I’m going to return and save travel 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 everyone. 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 walked in and leaned on the railings at the entrance. He said that he didn’t want anything; he was just waiting for a man he knew.

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