The Model Millionaire
Note: Question and Answers are included.
Hughie was wonderfully good looking 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 accomplisliment except that of making money. He had tried everything. But he became nothing, a delightful, ineffectual young man with a perfect profile and no profession.
Hughie wanted to marry Laura Merton, the daughter of a retired Colonel. 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 said. Hughie looked very glum and he cursed himself for his inability to fulfil the condition.
One morning as he was on his way to Holland Park, he dropped in to see a great friend of his, Alan Trevor. Trevor was a painter. He was a strange rough fellow with a freckled face and a red ragged beard.
When he took up the brush, he was a real master and his pictures were eagerly sought after.
When Hughie came in, he found Trevor painting the finishing touches to a wonderful life size picture of a beggar man. The beggar himself was standing on a platform in a corner of the studio. He was a wizened old man with a face like wrinkled parchment and a most piteous expression. Over his shoulders was flung a coarse brown cloak, all tears and tatters; his thick boots were patched and cobbled and with one hand he leant on a rough stick while with the other he held out his battered hat for alms.
“What an amazing model!” whispered Hughie, as he shook hands with
“An amazing model?” shouted Trevor at the top of his voice. “I should think so!
Such beggars as he are not to be met with every day.”
“Poor old chap!” said Hughie, “how miserable he looks! But I suppose to you
painters, his face is his fortune?”
“Certainly you don’t want a beggar to look happy, do you?”
“How much does a model get for sitting?” asked Hughie.
“A shilling an hour.”
“And how much do you get for your picture, Alan?”
“Oh! Forthis I get two thousand pounds.”
After sometime, the servant came in and told Trevor that the frame makerwanted to speak to him. “Don’t run away Hughie” he said, as he went out, “I’ll be back in a moment”. The old beggar took advantage of Trevor’s absence to rest for a moment on a wooden bench. He looked so forlorn that Hughie could not help pitying him. All he could find was a sovereign and some coppers.
“Poor old fellow”, he to himself and slipped the sovereign into the beggar’s hand. The old man said, “Thank you sir”. Then Trevor arrived and Hughie took his leave.
The next day when Hughie visited Trevor, he was surprised to hear that the model kept asking Trevor for all details about him. Trevor informed Hughie that he had clearly explained Hughie’s condition to the old model. “What! You told that old beggar all my private affairs?” cried Hughie looking very red and angry. “My dear boy”, said Trevor smiling, “that old beggar as you call him is one of the richest men in Europe. He is Baron Hausberg. He is a great friend of mine”.
“Good Heavens! I gave him a sovereign!” and he sank into an armchair. “Gave him a sovereign!” shouted Trevor and he burst into a roar of laughter.
“What will he think of me?” said Hughie. “Oh, my God! I could not make out why he was so interested to know all about you; but I see it all now. He will invest your sovereign for you, Hughie, pay you the interest every six months and have a capital story to tell after dinner,” commented Trevor.
The next morning as he was at breakfast, the servant brought him a card on which was written Baron Hausberg and Hughie told the servant to show the visitor up. An old gentleman came into the room. “I have come from Baron Hausberg”, he continued. “I beg sir, that you will offer him my apologies,” stammered Hughie.
“The Baron”, said the old gentleman with a smile, “has commissioned me to bring you this letter”, and he extended a sealed envelope, on which was written “A wedding present to Hugh Erskine – Hughie and Laura – from an ‘old beggar'” and inside was a cheque for ten thousand pounds.
“Millionaire models” remarked Alan, “are rare enough, but by Joe! Model Millionaires are rarer still!”