The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg

by

Mark Twain

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg can help.
Mary Richards is Edward Richards’s wife. She belongs to one of Hadleyburg’s nineteen well-respected families. Like the others Nineteeners, though, Mary is dishonest and fails to uphold her ethical integrity when the stranger comes along to destroy Hadleyburg’s reputation as a morally upstanding town. With Edward, she tries to guess how they might win the sack of gold that the stranger leaves behind. She also fantasizes at length about what she would do with the large amount of money. When she and Edward actually receive this reward, though, she feels guilty for not having been publicly humiliated along with the other Nineteeners, since the lie she and Edward told in order to win the sack was the same lie all the other families told. Nonetheless, she and Edward are spared by Reverend Burgess, who intentionally doesn’t include their names in the list of disgraced Nineteeners. As a result, she and Richard are flooded with shame. Like her husband, she eventually dies because of her guilty conscience.

Mary Richards Quotes in The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg

The The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg quotes below are all either spoken by Mary Richards or refer to Mary Richards. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bantam edition of The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg published in 2005.
Section 1 Quotes

Very well, what shall we do—make the inquiry private? No, not that; it would spoil the romance. The public method is better. Think what a noise it will make! And it will make all the other towns jealous; for no stranger would trust such a thing to any town but Hadleyburg, and they know it. It’s a great card for us.

Related Symbols: The Sack of Gold
Page Number: 424
Explanation and Analysis:

Oh, I know it, I know it—it’s been one everlasting training and training and training in honesty—honesty shielded, from the very cradle, against every possible temptation, and so it’s artificial honesty, and weak as water when temptation comes, as we have seen this night. God knows I never had shade nor shadow of a doubt of my petrified and indestructible honesty until now—and now, under the very first big and real temptation, I—Edward, it is my belief that this town’s honesty is as rotten as mine is; as rotten as yours is. It is a mean town, a hard, stingy town, and hasn’t a virtue in the world but this honesty it is so celebrated for and so conceited about; and so help me, I do believe that if ever the day comes that its honesty falls under great temptation, its grand reputation will go to ruin like a house of cards. There, now, I’ve made confessions, and I feel better.

Related Characters: Mary Richards (speaker), Edward Richards
Related Symbols: The Sack of Gold
Page Number: 430
Explanation and Analysis:
Section 4 Quotes

If those beautiful words were deserved, Mary—and God knows I believed I deserved them once—I think I could give the forty thousand dollars for them. And I would put that paper away, as representing more than gold and jewels, and keep it always. But now—We could not live in the shadow of its accusing presence, Mary.

Page Number: 465
Explanation and Analysis:

Within twenty-four hours after the Richardses had received their checks their consciences were quieting down, discouraged; the old couple were learning to reconcile themselves to the sin which they had committed. But they were to learn, now, that a sin takes on new and real terrors when there seems a chance that it is going to be found out. This gives it a fresh and most substantial and important aspect. At church the morning sermon was the usual pattern; it was the same old things said in the same old way; they had heard them a thousand times and found them innocuous, next to meaningless, and easy to sleep under; but now it was different: the sermon seemed to bristle with accusations; it seemed aimed straight and specially at people who were concealing deadly sins.

Page Number: 466
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg PDF

Mary Richards Character Timeline in The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg

The timeline below shows where the character Mary Richards appears in The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Section 1
Revenge and Redemption Theme Icon
Outsiders and Insularity Theme Icon
...group known as the “Nineteeners.” When the stranger arrives, Edward isn’t home, but his wife Mary opens the door. The stranger tells Mary that he wants to leave a sack for... (full context)
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
Revenge and Redemption Theme Icon
Outsiders and Insularity Theme Icon
Despite her trepidation, Mary can’t contain her curiosity. Closing the door, she opens the sack and the letter attached... (full context)
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
Revenge and Redemption Theme Icon
Mary Richards finishes reading the stranger’s note and has to sit down because she’s so flustered.... (full context)
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Mary says that Reverend Burgess deserves the townspeople’s scorn. “He will never get another congregation here,”... (full context)
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
At first, Mary can’t formulate a response because she’s shocked to hear that her husband didn’t come forward... (full context)
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
Revenge and Redemption Theme Icon
Mary and Edward both start thinking again about the sack of gold, growing increasingly irritated as... (full context)
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
...dead, meaning that taking the gold wouldn’t have been robbing him of his reward. “But, Mary,” Edward says, “you know how we have been trained all our lives long, like the... (full context)
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Mary cuts off her husband, telling him she knows they’ve been “trained” to act honestly. “It’s... (full context)
Section 2
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
...find themselves replying with: “Oh, if we could only guess!” Within three weeks, Edward and Mary Richards have stopped reading or chatting before bed. Instead, they both try to guess the... (full context)
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
Revenge and Redemption Theme Icon
Outsiders and Insularity Theme Icon
Edward and Mary continue studying Stephenson’s letter, which reads: “I remember [Goodson] saying he did not actually LIKE... (full context)
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
Revenge and Redemption Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Edward and Mary rejoice at the good news, but Edward suddenly realizes that he can’t remember having ever... (full context)
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
That night, Mary happily fantasizes about what she will do with the $40,000. Edward, for his part, lies... (full context)
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
Revenge and Redemption Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
What Edward and Mary don’t know is that the postman delivered the same letter to all of the Nineteeners.... (full context)
Section 3
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
As the Nineteeners endure public humiliation one by one, Edward and Mary Richards sit in terrible anticipation, waiting for Edward’s name to be called. Unable to bear... (full context)
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
Revenge and Redemption Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Outsiders and Insularity Theme Icon
“Be ready,” Mary says to Edward after a while. “Your name comes now; he has read eighteen.” As... (full context)
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
...“gilt” becomes something of a commodity, the proceeds of which will go to Edward and Mary Richards. The crowd loves this idea, and immediately starts bidding for the sack. Meanwhile, Edward... (full context)
Section 4
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
After the town hall meeting, Edward and Mary Richards have to “endure congratulations and compliments until midnight.” When they’re finally alone, they contemplate... (full context)
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
Revenge and Redemption Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
...Harkness meets the stranger and gives him $40,000. The stranger then goes to Edward and Mary’s house to deliver the money (they already have the $1,500 he gave them yesterday, so... (full context)
Revenge and Redemption Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Edward and Mary open the envelope, expecting to find $8,500 worth of checks signed by Stephenson. Feeling uneasy... (full context)
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Edward tells Mary that he feels as if Stephenson’s final letter is “written with fire,” its very presence... (full context)
Revenge and Redemption Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
...perfectly plain, now, God help me! He knows that I know!” he exclaims. He and Mary then wonder if Burgess kept Edward’s “test-remark” (his submission to win the sack) in order... (full context)
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
...Satan.” The nurses then spread news of the Richardses’ strange ramblings, for both Edward and Mary speak from their sick-beds about their terrible fortune. As it becomes clear that the couple... (full context)
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
...dies “without knowing that once more he ha[s] done poor Burgess a wrong.” That night, Mary follows Edward to the grave. (full context)
Revenge and Redemption Theme Icon
In the aftermath of Mary and Edward’s deaths, the town of Hadleyburg petitions to change its name. It also decides... (full context)