The Model Millionaire
- Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde (16/10/1854-30/11/1900) was an Irish playwright, novelist, poet and, short-story writer. Known for is barbed and clever wit, he was one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day.
Written in an era when the gap between the privileged and the deprived was vast, this short-story tells us how a poor yet kind young man gets the recognition he deserved. Unless one is wealthy there is no use in being a charming fellow Romance is the privileged of the rich, not the profession of the unemployed. The poor should be practical and prosaic. It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating. These are the great truths of modern life which Hughie Erskine never realised. He was wonderfully goodlooking, with his crisp brown hair, his clear cut profile, and his grey eyes. He was as popular with men as he was with women, and he had every accomplishment except that of making money. His father bequeathed him his cavalry sword, and a 'History of the Peninsular War' in fifteenn volumes. He lived on two hundred a year that an old aunt allowed him. He had tried everything. He had gone to the Stock Exchange for six months. He had been a tea-merchant for a little longer. Then he had tried selling dry sherry. Ultimately he became nothing, a delightful, ineffectual young man with a perfect profile and no profession. To make matters worse, he was in love. The girl he loved was Laura Merton, the daughter of a retired colonel-the two of them could easily make the handsomest couple in London. Laura adored him. The colonel was very fond of Hughie, but would not hear of any engagement. “Come to me, my boy, when you have got ten thousand pounds of your own, and we will see about it,” 'he used to say; and Hughie looked very glum on those days, and had to go to Laura for consolation. One morning, as he was on his way to Holland Park, where the Mertons lived, he dropped...