A guard came to the prison shoe shop where
Jimmy Valentine was working and took him to the prison office. There
the warden handed Jimmy his pardon, which had been signed that morning
by the governor. He took it quietly; he was too tired to show excitement.
He had been in prison nearly ten months and he had been sentenced
to four years. True, he had expected to stay only about three months,
at the longest. He had a lot of friends and he had been sure they
would help him.
“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.