What is Jimmy Valentine's dilemma? 

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teachsuccess | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In 'A Retrieved Reformation,' Jimmy Valentine, a former thief, finds himself in a dilemma. When little Agatha is accidentally locked in the Elmore bank safe, Jimmy must decide whether he will save his future niece (and risk exposing his true identity) or leave her to die.

In the story, Jimmy decides that he has had enough of his old life when he meets a wonderful woman, Annabel. He even calls himself by a new name, Ralph D. Spencer. Engaged to be married, Jimmy soon writes to an old friend that he is ready to offer him the tools of his former, dishonest trade. On the day he is to meet his friend to hand over the tools, Jimmy finds himself at the Elmore bank.

Annabel's father, Mr. Adams, is the owner of the bank. He is so proud of his new bank vault that he can't help showing it off. The new safe has a special clock which times exactly when the doors of the vault can be opened. Once the clock is set, no one can open the vault according to his own pleasure. Unfortunately, when the adults are preoccupied, five year old Agatha finds herself locked in the safe by her sister, May, who is nine years old.

At this point, Jimmy must decide whether he will use the tools of his former trade to save the little girl from certain death, or leave her to die and keep his identity secret. His decision is made when Annabel turns to him with trust in her eyes. Although Jimmy knows that a police officer, Ben Price, is waiting to arrest him, he decides that he will save the little girl.

After the little girl is freed, Jimmy turns to Ben Price and tells him that he is ready to go with him. However, the police officer mysteriously claims that he doesn't know who Jimmy is. The story ends with the police officer leaving the bank and walking down the street.

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