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As they fret over whether they should burn the checks, they find a note from the stranger explaining that he thought all 19 model couples would fall to temptation; since Edward and Mary have remained honest, he is giving them all the money. A second message arrives from Burgess, explaining that he intentionally kept the Richardses' claim from being read as a way to return an old favor Edward had done for him.

The buyer has the fake gold coins stamped with a message mocking his political rival and distributes them throughout the town, allowing him to win an election for a seat in the state legislature. Edward and Mary become distraught over their situation, growing paranoid and starting to think Burgess has revealed their dishonesty to other people in the town.

Their anxiety causes them both to fall ill, and Edward confesses their guilt shortly before he and Mary die. The checks are never cashed. With its reputation irreparably damaged, Hadleyburg decides to rename itself and remove one word from its official motto originally "Lead Us Not Into Temptation". The story ends with the comment, "It is an honest town once more, and the man will have to rise early that catches it napping again. It first aired on March 17, The ending is both altered and shortened for the film.

After a two-year tour of China, the company is set to perform the piece around Europe in Twain had given a lecture in a church at Oberlin College in , and it was unpopular with the academic audience. The Hadleyburg story may allude to this event. Scholar Russel B. Nye wrote that the story "was Twain's way of taking revenge on the small town" after being jeered at and rejected by the academic audience.

There are some interesting and provocative parallels between Twain's Oberlin experiences and the Hadleyburg of fiction". The town of Oberlin had been founded as a religious and educational settlement in , and is and was known as an educational and religious center.

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Nye says that Twain read three stories that were received coolly by most of his Oberlin audience: "King Solomon" an excerpt from Huckleberry Finn , ch. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved February 23, Ohio History Journal. Ohio Archaeological and Historical Archive.

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Retrieved 8 January The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg. Mark Twain. Is He Dead? Colonel Sellers Colonel Sellers as a Scientist. Clemens father Orion Clemens brother. It says the sack contains gold coins weighing more than one hundred sixty pounds. Such a treasure makes Mary think of burglars, and she immediately locks the door. Then she reads the rest of the note.

Its author identifies himself as an outsider and a gambler. After losing all his money in gaming, he says, he begged for a handout while passing through Hadleyburg. He did not begin begging until after sunset, for he was ashamed to beg in daylight. A sympathetic Hadleyburg man kindly gave him twenty dollars. When the stranger later returned to the gaming table, he made a fortune.

Then, thanks to advice his Hadleyburg benefactor gave him, he quit gambling. Now the stranger wants to reward his benefactor with the sack of gold, the note says. The town can learn the identity of the benefactor in either of two ways, the first a private option and the second a public one. Here is the first option. If a man comes forward claiming to be the one who made the remark to the stranger, he should announce the words. Richards can then open the sack and check the words against those written on a paper inside a sealed envelope in the sack.

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If the words match those on the paper, he receives the gold. Here is the second option. In thirty days, on a Friday, anyone who claims to have spoken the remark should report to the town hall at 8 p. Burgess, a sealed envelope containing a paper on which the remark is written. Burgess will then open the claimant's envelope and read the words.


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Next, he will unseal the sack and open the envelope inside to see whether the words of the claimant match those inside the sack. He then suggests that they select the public option to demonstrate how trustworthy Hadleyburg is. Other towns will be jealous.

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According to instructions in the note, Richards must publish the wishes of the stranger for all to see. Richards rushes out to have the note printed for public distribution. After walking a short distance, he runs into Archibald Cox, the editor of the local newspaper, The Missionary Herald. Richards gives him the note to print, then returns home. After talking things over, he and his wife agree that Barclay Goodson could have been the person who gave the advice to the outsider, but Goodson is dead now.

Because of his criticism of the town, the people hated him almost as much as they hated Burgess. Mary then wonders why the stranger selected the minister as monitor of the public proceedings for determining who should receive the gold. But Edward knows for a fact that Burgess was not guilty of the offense, and he admits to Mary that he could have saved Burgess from ridicule but did not speak up for fear that the whole town would turn against him.

Mary and Edward talk more about the gold, then just sit there thinking about it. Suddenly, Edward bolts out of the house. Mary, unable to help herself, runs her hands over the sack. Meanwhile, when Cox tells his wife about the strange happenings, she says, "Nobody knows this secret but the Richardses.

The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg by Mark Twain

A short while later, Cox and Richards arrive at the newspaper at the same time and, confirming for each other that no one else knows about the sack, rush up the stairs to the printing office to stop the outgoing mail, including copies of the stranger's note. But a boy named Johnny tells them the mail has already been sent to Brixton and other towns. After the men return home, they and their wives wonder what remark was made to the stranger. At Cox's newspaper, a foreman who knows a good story when he sees it sends a dispatch on the sack of gold to the Associated Press.

By morning, the story is all over America. Hadleyburg residents congratulate one another for having been singled out as a town that could be trusted to determine on its own the citizen who is to receive the fortune in gold. They believe that Hadleyburg will become a synonym for incorruptible. The sack is now at the bank, operated by the wealthy Mr.

Townspeople go there to see it. In the meantime, outsiders from everywhere descend on Hadleyburg to see the town and witness the unfolding events. Reporters arrive to tell the story and draw pictures of Hadleyburg residents, the bank, churches, the town square, and so on. Even no-account loafer Jack Halliday is the subject of a portrait. After three weeks, Richards receives a letter on a Saturday evening from a man named Howard L. Stephenson, who says he recently returned home from Mexico and heard about the fuss in Hadleyburg.

On the very night that the stranger was begging money in Hadleyburg, Stephenson says, he was nearby and overheard the remark in question. It was Goodson who made it, he says. Stephenson goes on to say that he was a friend of Goodson and spent time with him before leaving town by train.


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  • Stephenson further says that Goodson, if he were wealthy, would leave his fortune to Richards when he died. Mary rejoices. She then asks her husband about the good deed he did for Goodson. Her husband hems and haws and finally says Goodson made him promise not to tell anyone about it. That night in bed, Mary lies awake thinking how she will spend the money. Edward is uneasy until he persuades himself that he must have done a good deed for Goodson, but he cannot recall what it was.

    After more ruminating, he remembers a possible good deed from years ago. Not long afterward, the girl died and a story circulated that she had had Negro blood in her veins.