The Model Millionaire Summary, Theme by Oscar Wilde

The Model Millionaire Summary by Oscar Wilde

The Model Millionaire Summary, Theme by Oscar Wilde

The Model Millionaire Summary

This is the story of a very good-looking young man, named Hughie Erskine. He was popular and kind. However, he was not very clever and had no money. He kept changing his job but always failed. Finally he stopped working and lived on money given to him by an old aunt.

He was in love with a girl named Laura Merton, the daughter of a retired Colonel. But the Colonel would only allow them to get married if Hughie had ten thousand pounds of his own, which was a sort of next to impossible target for Hughie to achieve.

One day, Hughie visited his friend, Alan Trevor, who was a painter. When Elughie reached his art gallery, he saw Alan, painting a model. The model was a beggar-man. Hughie felt sorry for the model because his appearance was very poor so he gave him a sovereign.

Later that night. Hughie met Alan at Palette Club. They had an enlightening conversation. Hughie found out from Alan that the model was actually not a beggar-man, but a millionaire, named Baron Hausberg. Hughie went home unhappily, somewhat ashamed for giving such a big man a sovereign whereas Alan laughed loudly.

The next morning, a messenger from Baron Hausberg came and brought him a letter. The letter contained a cheque for ten thousand pounds which was a wedding present to Hugh Erskine and Laura Merton from Baron Hausberg.

This was an expected event for Hughie and this is also the turning point of the story. On the day of the marriage, Alan Trevor was the best man and the Baron made a speech at the wedding breakfast. Alan said, “Millionaire models are rare enough, but model millionaires are rarer still!”

The Model Millionaire About the Author Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin on 16 October 1854 to Sir William Wilde and his wife Jane. Oscar’s mother, Lady Jane Francesca Wilde, was a successful poet and journalist. She wrote patriotic Irish verse under the pseudonym “Speranza”. Oscar’s father, Sir William Wilde, was a leading ear and eye surgeon, gifted writer, who wrote books on archaeology and folklore. Oscar had an elder brother, Willie, and a younger sister, Isola Francesca.

He was educated at Portora Royal School, Trinity College, Dublin, and Magdalen College, Oxford. After he was graduated, he moved to Chelsea in London to establish a literary career. In 1881, he published his first collection of poetry – Poems that received mixed reviews by critics. He worked as an art reviewer, lectured in the United States and Canada. He also lectured in Britain and Ireland.

On May 29, 1884, Oscar marred Constance Lloyd, daughter of a wealthy Queen’s Counsel Horace Lloyd. They had two sons, Cyril and Vyvyan. To support his family, Oscar accepted a job as the editor of Woman’s World magazine, where he worked from 1887-1889. Wilde’s greatest talent was for writing plays. His first successful play, Lady Windermere’s Fan, opened in February 1892.

He produced a string of extremely popular comedies including A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband, and The Importance of Being Earnest. These plays were all highly acclaimed and firmly established Oscar as a playwright.

He wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol, revealing his concern for inhumane prison conditions. He spent the rest of his life wandering Europe, staying with friends and living in cheap hotels. He died of cerebral meningitis on November 30, 1900, penniless, in a cheap Paris hotel.

The Model Millionaire Theme

The story ‘The Model Millionaire’ is a short story by the Irish author Oscar Wilde. It centres round Hughie Erskine, a young man and a model who posed for a beggar to Hughie’s friend’s art gallery. Hughie was a very handsome man who was in love with Laura Merton but was unable to marry her because he was poor.

He had no fixed income to ran a family that is why her father didn’t want her to get married to Hughie until he earn 10000 pounds. One day, Hughie went to his friend Alan Trevor’s art gallery where he saw an old beggar as his model. His appearance made Hughie felt sorry for his condition. So when Alan left, he gave him a sovereign which was the highest denomination left in his pocket.

After a few days, from Alan Trevor, he came to know that he told the beggar Hughie’s life story. Hughie felt a little bad because he did not want to disclose his personal matters to the beggar. Then Alan told him that he was not a beggar but a millionaire.

He was Baron Housberg, one of the richest man in Europe. Hughie felt ashamed for giving him a coin but later he was awarded by Baron Housberg for his generosity. MrHousberg gave a cheque for 10000 pounds as his wedding gift and even attended the wedding of Hughie and Laura.

The Model Millionaire Characters

Hughie Erskine:

An extremely handsome young yellow who was kind and good-natured but he had back luck in the field of making money. Though he tried very hard, he could not get success in framing a suitable career. He was in love with Laura Merton but as he was poor, her father was not willing to get his daughter married to Hughie.

R Laura Merton:

A young woman who was in love with Hughic irrespective of his status of being poor or rich. Though her father put a condition of earning 10000 pounds to Hughie, she was willing to marry him without it.

R Laura’s father:

Laura’s father was a colonel who was a strict and concerned father as a father should be. He wanted to secure his daughter’s future so did not want his daughter getting wasted with Hughie. He did not support to his daughter’s whims and put a condition to Hughie. He asked Hughie to earn 10000 pounds in order to get married to his daughter so that his daughter could spent her life comfortably.

R Alan Trevor:

Alan Trevor was an artist and also Hughie’s friend. He was a good and generous friend who told the life story and problems of Hughie to Mr Housberg. He played an important role in uplifting Hughie’s life-graph and also became the best man of Hughie at his wedding.

Baron Housberg :

Mr Housberg was one of the richest man in Europe. He became a model of Alan Trevor and posed as a beggar. He was so realistic that Hughie actually thought him to be a real beggar and gave him a sovereign out of sympathy. This act of kindness softened Mr Housberg and when he came to know the life story of Hughie, he presented him a cheque of 10000 pounds as his wedding gift. He also attended Hughie’s wedding.

The Model Millionaire Title of the Story

‘The Model Millionaire’ is a short story written by Oscar Wilde. It was first printed in the newspaper The World’ in June 1887. This story talks about a young man named Hughie Erskine and a millionaire named Baron Housberg. Hughie was a poor man who was in love with Laura Merton but due to the lack of money and a fixed income, he could not be able to do that.

His life went on as usual until one day he met an old beggar at his friend’s art gallery. That man was posing as his model. His tattered clothes and poor appearance made Hughie feel sorry for that man. Hughie, though himself was poor, gave him a sovereign and left. The next time, when Alan met with Hughie he told him that the old beggar was actually one of the richest man in Europe.

His name was Baron Housberg. Hughie, though felt ashamed of giving such a big man a coin, Mr Housberg thought otherwise. He was so much impressed by such a benevolent act that he awarded him 10000 pounds as his wedding gift and himself attended the wedding.

So the story shows how a millionaire who became a model changed a man’s life for good and thus became the model-millionaire not only because of his wealth but also for his big heart. Thus the title ‘The Model Millionaire’ is apt.

The Model Millionaire About the Story

In the story ‘The Model Millionaire’ by Oscar Wilde we see Hughie Erskine who was an extremely good-looking fellow, popular among men and women, had every accomplishment in his life except making money. He was in love with Laura Merton but as he had a poor financial prospect, her father did not want him to get married to his daughter.

He even told him to get engaged with Laura only when he would earn ten thousand pounds. Though his luck was not favourable in monetary matters, yet we see him moved to pity when he saw an elderly beggar, posing as a model for his friend who was an artist named Alan Trevor. He felt so sympathetic to that man that he gave the beggar the highest denomination that he had m his pocket and left.

Soon when he again met Trevor, he came to know that the beggar was actually one of the wealthiest man in Europe named Baron Housberg and he himself asked Trevor to paint a picture of him as a beggar. Hughie felt ashamed for giving such a big man a coin but Trevor told him not to worry. Soon he got rewarded ten thousand pounds by Baron Housberg for his benevolent conduct and got to marry Laura. Baron Housberg attended the wedding and gave blessings to this newly wed.

The Model Millionaire Setting of the Story

The story “The Model Millionaire” shows how a certain event can change a person’s whole life. In this story, we say Hughie’s certain meeting with Baron Hausberg who posed as a beggar for Alan Trevor as Alan was a painter and Baron went to him to become a model for him.

Baron Housberg was one of the richest men in Europe but his poor appearance made Hughie sorry for him. Though he himself had no money to marry the love of his life Laura Merton, yet he gave him a sovereign out of sympathy and concern.

He later came to know the real identity of the beggar which made him feel ashamed of himself but his benevolence impressed Mr Housberg. He rewarded him with 10000 pounds as his wedding gift and himself attended the wedding. So, the story which took motion at Alan Trevor’s art gallery, ended on a happy note at a wedding ceremony. Thus we can say that the setting of the story is well-built with a perfect plot containing a nice beginning, suitable climax and happy ending.

The Model Millionaire Main Points to Remember

  • Hughie Erskine was a young man who was extremely handsome but his financial career was at a toss. He had every accomplishment except making money.
  • He was in love with Laura Merton but he had no money, her father was not willing to get his daughter married to him.
  • His only source of income was two hundred pounds a year’s which was given to him by his elderly aunt but Laura’s father demanded his earning to be 1000 pounds to get engaged with his daughter.
  • Once Hughie went to meet artist friend named Alan Trevor. There he found him making a portrait of a beggar. The appearance of the beggar made him pity on him.
  • Hughie decided to give him some money. Though Alan used to pay his models, Hughie thought it was not at all enough. So, when Alan left, he gave the beggar a sovereign.
  • Later, from Alan, he came to know that the model was not a beggar but was one of the richest men in Europe named Baron Housberg.
  • Hughie felt ashamed about giving a sovereign to a millionaire but Alan assumed him not a worry.
  • Later, a representative of Baron Housberg came to Hughie’s house with an envelope that contained a cheque for 10000 pounds as his wedding present. Hughie and Laura got married and Mr. Housberg attended the wedding.

The Model Millionaire Annotations and Vocabulary

Prosaic — average or ordinary
Accomplishment — Achievement
Wretched — Miserable or unhappy
Bequeath — bestow through a will
Sovereign — old British gold coin
Cavalry — An army on horseback
Extravagance — Spending money recklessly
Stroll — A slow and relaxed walk
Sherry — A type of sweet wine
Conquest — Victory
Consolation –Solace
Frock-coat — A long coat worn by men in old times
Forlorn — Dejected
Buoyant — Cheerful
Wizened — Age signs

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