Back to: Punjab Board Class 11th English Guide and Notes
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The story “The Model millionaire “is about a handsome young man, Hughie Erskine who was liked and admired by all people for his humble nature but not for his wealth. Despite his hard work he was not successful. In the story he was moved to sympathy by the sight of an elderly beggar, who was actually posing as a model for his artist friend. He gave the beggar the largest value coin that he had in his pocket. The climax of the story was Hughie finding out that the beggar was actually Baron Hausberg.
In the story, Hughie’s major conflict is about his love for Laura,the daughter of a retired Colonel. The Colonel asked Hughie to come to him with the proposal of marriage when he had ten thousand pounds of his own.
One morning, Hughie went to meet his friend Alan Trevor, a successful painter. When Hughie entered his studio, Alan was finishing the full-size painting of a beggar. The beggar was posing for Alan standing on a platform. He was an old man, bent and wrinkled with a piteous look on his face. He was wearing torn, dirty clothes and patched boots. He was holding a hat in one hand as if he was really begging.
Hughie felt sorry for the sympathetic condition of the beggar. He asked Alan how much he paid the model for a sitting. Alan said he paid ten pence an hour. Hughie wanted to know how much Alan would get after selling his picture. Alan replied that he would get two thousand pounds. Hughie said that the beggar model should get some part of the profit, as he was also working as hard as Alan. While Alan was still painting the picture, a servant came in and told him that the frame maker was waiting to meet him. Alan went out.
The beggar sat down with sadness on his face. Hughie searched his pocket and gave a sovereign to the beggar. Surprised old beggar thanked Hughie for his gesture. When Alan returned, Hughie took leave of him. The same night Hughie met Alan at the Palette club and asked if he had finished the picture of the beggar-man. Hughie told Alan that he had a lot of old clothes and wanted to give them to the old man because his clothes were in rags. He wanted to know if the old man would accept his offer.
Alan said that he would tell the old model about his offer. Alan also said that he had told the model about Laura, her father, and the ten thousand pounds. Hughie became very aggressive with Alan for telling the old beggar all his problems. Alan Trevor revealed to Hughie that the beggar model was not a real beggar but he was one of the richest men in Europe. He said that his name was Baron Hausberg, who could buy all London and never feel the pinch of it. He also said the Baron had a house in every capital city and ate off gold plates and had a lot of political power.
Alan told Hughie that Baron Hausberg had asked him to paint him as a beggar. And he himself was posing as the beggar. Hughie was greatly embarassed for he had given a sovereign to a millionaire and made a fool of himself. Hughie blamed Alan for not telling him about the real identity of the beggar earlier.
Alan thought it was very funny and laughed his heart out. He realised why Baron Hausberg had shown so much of interest in Hughie’s affairs. The next morning, Mr. Gustave Naudin, the messenger of Baron Hausberg, came to Hughie’s house.He gave him a sealed envelope and said that the Baron had asked him to deliver it to Hughie. The message on the envelope said it was a wedding present to Hughie Erskine and Laura Merton, from an old beggar. The envelope contained a cheque for ten thousand pounds.
Hughie thus earned ten thousand pounds of his own and married Laura Merton. Alan was the best man and the Baron made a speech at the wedding breakfast. Alan then remarked that millionaire models were rare enough, but model millionaires were rarer still.