Title: The Model Millionaire by Oscar Wilde
Date Read: 19 May 2009
Available Online?: YES (as one of the stories posted by Harper Perennial on their website Fifty-Two Stories, which promises a new (or classic) short story from their collection, posted every week throughout 2009)
Briefly: Poor old Hughie Erskine is down in the dumps. Good looking and appealing he may be, but flush with cash he isn’t. The opening sentence declares – “unless one is wealthy there is no use in being a charming fellow”, and doesn’t Hughie know it. He wishes to marry the woman he loves but alas, her father says that Hughie cannot marry her until he has ten thousand pounds to call his own. Bemoaning his lot to his friend Alan Trevor, a solution begins to form in front of Hughie’s eyes.
Afterthoughts: I could complain that the storyline being utterly predictable but I’m not going to, because when prose is this well scribed it doesn’t really matter. Love this for its endearing qualities rather than any ingenuity in the story’s structure, and one will find that there’s no finer short story to be read. A great example of ‘Wilde magic’
Notable Quote: “To make matters worse, he was in love. The girl he loved was Laura Merton, the daughter of a retired Colonel who had lost his temper and his digestion in India, and had never found either of them again. Laura adored him, and he was ready to kiss her shoe-strings. They were the handsomest couple in London, and had not a penny-piece between them. The Colonel was very fond of Hughie, but would not hear of any engagement.”
*Story read as part of my 100 Shots of Short reading challenge.