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The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg by Mark Twain
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THE MAN THAT CORRUPTED HADLEYBURG


I.


It was many years ago. Hadleyburg was the most honest and upright town
in all the region round about. It had kept that reputation unsmirched
during three generations, and was prouder of it than of any other of its
possessions. It was so proud of it, and so anxious to insure its
perpetuation, that it began to teach the principles of honest dealing to
its babies in the cradle, and made the like teachings the staple of their
culture thenceforward through all the years devoted to their education.
Also, throughout the formative years temptations were kept out of the way
of the young people, so that their honesty could have every chance to
harden and solidify, and become a part of their very bone. The
neighbouring towns were jealous of this honourable supremacy, and
affected to sneer at Hadleyburg's pride in it and call it vanity; but all
the same they were obliged to acknowledge that Hadleyburg was in reality
an incorruptible town; and if pressed they would also acknowledge that
the mere fact that a young man hailed from Hadleyburg was all the
recommendation he needed when he went forth from his natal town to seek
for responsible employment.

But at last, in the drift of time, Hadleyburg had the ill luck to offend
a passing stranger--possibly without knowing it, certainly without
caring, for Hadleyburg was sufficient unto itself, and cared not a rap
for strangers or their opinions. Still, it would have been well to make
an exception in this one's case, for he was a bitter man, and revengeful.
All through his wanderings during a whole year he kept his injury in