In "A Retrieved Reformation," why does Jimmy Valentine decide to become Ralph D. Spencer?

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Jimmy wants to settle down and give up his life of crime. But ever since he was released from prison, he's been up to his old tricks, cracking open numerous safes across the Midwest. So if Jimmy's going to settle down and become a respectable citizen, he's going to need a whole new identity.

Walking around Elmore, Arkansas, Jimmy realizes that the town doesn't have a specialist shoe store. He's determined to exploit this niche and establish himself as the newest businessman in town. But his new venture won't be under the name of Jimmy Valentine—because the forces of law enforcement are out looking for him—but Ralph D. Spencer. Also, Jimmy's fallen for a young lady whose father is the owner of the town's bank, and he wouldn't want his prospective father-in-law to find out that his daughter's going steady with a notorious safe-cracker.

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When Jimmy Valentine arrives in a small town in Elmore, Arkansas, for a potential safe-cracking job, he looks into the eyes of Miss Annabel Adams, daughter of the town's bank owner. Jimmy falls instantly in love, so he assumes a new identity, and abandons his life of crime in his attempt to earn Annabel's love.

After he encounters the pretty, innocent Annabel, Jimmy walks to the Planters' Hotel and registers as Ralph D. Spencer. He asks the clerk how the shoe business is in town.

Mr. Ralph Spencer, the phoenix that arose from Jimmy Valentine's ashes--ashes left by the flame of a sudden and alternative attack of love--remained in Elmore, and prospered. He opened a shoe-store and secured a good run of trade.

Mr. Spencer becomes a social success. Also, he wins the heart of Annabel Adams, who continues to charm him. He has truly become rehabilitated; he has finally taken the warden's advice to "Brace up, and make a man" of himself.

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