In a year the situation of Mr. Ralph Spencer
was this: he had won the respect of most of the inhabitants of the
place, his shoe-store was prospering, and he and Annabel were to
be married in two weeks. Mr. Adams, Annabel’s father, who was a
typical country banker, approved of Spencer. Annabel herself was
very proud of her fiancé. In fact her pride almost equaled her affection.
Jimmy was as much at home in the family of Mr. Adams and that of
Annabel’s married sister as if he were already a member.
One day Jimmy sat down in his room and wrote
this letter which he sent to the address of one his old friends:
一天，基米坐在他的房里，给一个好友写了这样一封信： “Dear Old Chap,
I want you to be at Brown’s Cafe, in Little
Rock, next Wednesday night at nine o’clock. I want you to do something
for me. And, also, I want to make you a present of my tools. I know
you’ll be glad to get them—you couldn’t get such a set for a thousand
dollars. Say, Billy, I gave up the old business—a year ago. I’ve
got a nice store. I’m making an honest living, and in two weeks
I’m going to marry the finest girl on earth. 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 my
store and go west, where there won’t be so much danger of meeting
people who knew me before. I tell you, Billy, she’s an angel. She
believes in me and I would never do another crooked thing for the
whole world. Do come to Brown’s, for I must see you. I’ll bring
the tools with me.
Your old friend, Jimmy.”
On the Monday night after Jimmy wrote this
letter, Ben Price, the detective, arrived in Elmore. He walked about
the town quietly until he found out what he wanted to know. From
the drugstore across the street from Spencer’s shoe-store he got
a good look at Ralph D. Spencer.