“The Model Millionaire” is a short story written by Oscar Wilde, a prominent Irish playwright and writer. The story revolves around the theme of generosity and the true nature of wealth. Read More Class 11 English Summaries.
The Model Millionaire Summary
The Model Millionaire Introduction:
“The Model Millionaire’ is a humorous story which tells how a young man named Hughie was able to win the hand of his beloved, Laura, in marriage. Hughie loved Laura very intensely. But he was unemployed and had no money with him.
The girl’s father was a retired Colonel. He said that he would let Hughie marry his daughter only when he got ten thousand pounds of his own. Hughie could never hope to collect that much amount in his life. But luckily, a millionaire comes to know of Hughie’s predicament.
He sends him a cheque for ten thousand pounds as a wedding present. Thus the way is cleared for the union of the lover and the beloved. Who that millionaire was and how he came to know of Hughie’s problem, is the chief source of suspense and humour in this story.
The Model Millionaire Summary in English:
Hughie Erskine was a handsome young man. He was wonderfully good-looking. He was popular with men and women equally. He never said any unkind word. In fact, he had every quality except that of making money. His father had left him no money. He lived on merely two hundred pounds a year that an old aunt allowed him.
Hughie tried his hand at many professions but always failed. It does not mean that he was unwilling to work. In fact, he did not know the art of making money. Hughie was in love with a girl named Laura Merton who was the daughter of a retired Colonel.
Hughie wanted to marry Laura. The Colonel knew all this and he was fond of Hughie also. But he would not let him marry his daughter. He said that first Hughie must have ten thousand pounds of his own. Hughie could never hope to collect that much amount in his life.
So poor Hughie was very unhappy in those days. Hughie had a friend named Alan Trevor who was a great painter. His pictures were eagerly sought after. At first, Trevor had been attracted by Hughie entirely on account of his personal charm. He used to say that for a painter, only beautiful people mattered most. However, after he got to know Hughie better, he liked him for his habits also.
He liked his generous and reckless nature. So he had given Hughie the permanent ‘entry’ to his studio. One day, Hughie went to Trevor’s studio. He saw Trevor putting the finishing touches to a picture. It was a wonderful life-size picture of a beggar-man.
The beggar himself was standing in a corner of the studio. Trevor was using him as a model for his painting. His face was wrinkled. Over his shoulder was a brown cloak. It was all in rags. His thick boots had many patches. He had a rough stick in one hand. He was leaning over this stick. With the other hand, he was holding out his old hat for alms.
He looked the very picture of misery. “What an amazing model,” said Hughie in a whisper. At this, Trevor shouted at the top of his voice, “Such beggars as he are not to be met with every day.” Then Trevor told Hughie that he would get 2000 guineas (2100 pounds) for that picture. But he was paying the model only a shilling an hour.
Hughie thought it too low a payment for the model. He said, “I think the model should have a percentage. They work quite as hard as you.” At this Trevor said, “It is no easy job to stand and work with the brush all day.” Then Trevor went out to speak to the frame-maker who had come to see him.
The old beggar sat down on a bench to rest for a moment. He looked very unhappy. Hughie couldn’t help pitying him. He felt in his pockets. He could find only one pound in them. He went to the beggar and slipped it into his hand. A faint smile appeared on the beggar’s withered face. Then Hughie went away.
The Model Millionaire short Summary
That night, Hughie met Trevor in a club. He told Hughie the beggar-model was quite devoted to him (Hughie) and wanted to know all about his life. So he had to tell the beggar all about Hughie, Laura, the Colonel and the 10,000.
Hughie was wonder-struck when Trevor told him that the old beggar was, in fact, Baron Hausberg, the richest man of Europe. He had asked Trevor to paint him as a beggar. Now Hughie felt very small at what he had done. Trevor burst into laughter when Hughie said that he had given the old model a pound as charity.
Next morning, an old gentleman came to Hughie and gave him a letter. It was from Baron Hausberg. On it was written : “A wedding present to Hughie Erskine and Laura Merton, from an old beggar.” Hughie found inside it a cheque for 10,000.
When they were married, Trevor was the best man (principal groomsman at a wedding). The Baron made a speech at the party. Trevor remarked, “Millionaire models are rare enough; but by Jove, model millionaires are rarer still !”