"There isn't a man nearer than Little Rock who can open that door," said Mr. Adams, in a shaky voice. "My God! Spencer, what shall we do? That child - she can't stand it long in there. There isn't enough air, and, besides, she'll go into convulsions from fright."
Agatha's mother, frantic now, beat the door of the vault with her hands. Somebody wildly suggested dynamite. Annabel turned to Jimmy, her large eyes full of anguish, but not yet despairing. To a woman nothing seems quite impossible to the powers of the man she worships.
"Can't you do something, Ralph - try, won't you?"
He looked at her with a queer, soft smile on his lips and in his keen eyes.
"Annabel," he said, "give me that rose you are wearing, will you?"
Hardly believing that she heard him aright, she unpinned the bud from the bosom of her dress, and placed it in his hand. Jimmy stuffed it into his vest-pocket, threw off his coat and pulled up his shirt-sleeves. With that act Ralph D. Spencer passed away and Jimmy Valentine took his place.
Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from Lays of Ancient Rome by Macaulay.
My favorite short story writer. His word play and his subject matter are the two best parts of his writing. This is one of his most admired stories.
Photo: Author's home in Austin, TX. Now the O'Henry Museum. (CC) Larry D. Moore.
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