"Now, Valentine," said the warden, "You'll go out in the morning. 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 open a safe in my life."
"Oh, no," laughed the warden. "Of course not. And what about that Springfield job? Do you mean to say you didn't take part in it?"
"Me?" said Jimmy still more surprised. "Why, warden, I've never been to Springfield in my life!"
"Take him back," the warden said to the guard smiling, "and give him some clothes. Unlock him at seven in the morning and let him come to me. Better think over my advice, Valentine."
At a quarter past seven the next morning Jimmy stood in the warden's office. He wore a badly-fitting ready-made suit and the cheap shoes that the state gives to prisoners, when they are set free. The clerk handed him a railroad ticket and the five-dollar bill with which he was supposed to start a new, honest life. The warden gave him a cigar, and they shook hands. Valentine, 9762, was registered on the books "Pardoned by Governor," and Mr. James Valentine walked out into the sunshine.
Disregarding the song of the birds, the green trees, and the smell of the flowers, Jimmy went straight to a restaurant. There he ordered a roast chicken and a bottle of white wine and a better cigar than the one the warden had given him. Then he walked slowly to the railroad station. He put a quarter into the hat of a blind man sitting by the door, and took a train. Three hours later he arrived at his native town, went directly to the cafe of his old friend Mike Dolan and shook hands with Mike, who was alone behind the counter. "Sorry we couldn't make it sooner, Jimmy, my boy," said Mike. "It wasn't so easy this time and we had a lot of trouble. Are you all right?"
"Fine," said Jimmy. "Have you got my key?"
He took his key and went upstairs, unlocking the door of his room. Everything was just as he had left it. There on the floor was still the collar-button that had been torn from the shirt of Ben Price—the well known detective—when Price had come to arrest him. 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 in the East. It was a complete set, made of special steel. The set consisted of various tools of the latest design. He had invented two or three of them himself, and was very proud of them. Over nine hundred dollars they had cost him! They had been made at X., a place where they make such things for the profession.
In half an hour Jimmy went downstairs and walked through the cafe. He was now dressed in an elegant new suit, and carried his cleaned suitcase in his hand. "What are you going to do next? To break another safe?" asked Mike Dolan smiling cheerfully.
"I don't understand. I'm representing the New York Amalgamated Biscuit Company."
This statement delighted Mike to such an extent that he gave Jimmy a seltzer-and-milk on the spot. Jimmy never touched “hard” drinks.
A week after the release of Valentine, 9762, there was a new safe-burglary in Richmond, Indiana. Only eight hundred dollars were stolen. Two weeks after that another safe was opened and fifteen hundred dollars disappeared; securities and silver were untouched. That began to interest the detectives. A few days later the Jefferson City Bank was robbed and banknotes amounting to five thousand dollars were taken. The losses were now so high that it was time for so well known a detective as Ben Price to begin investigation. When all the cases were compared, a striking similarity in the methods of burglaries was noticed. Ben Price investigated the scenes of the robberies and was heard to say.
"That's all Jimmy Valentine's work. He's resumed business. He's got the only tools that can open any safe without leaving the slightest trace. Yes, it is Mr. Valentine."
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