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The Model Millionaire: Preface

By Oscar Wilde

The story took place in England in about 1900, in a real world. You can feel a sort of an atmosphere in the story. The main character, Hughie Erskine, lived in a poor place and his friend, Alan Trevor, lived in a middleclass-place. Not in a rich place but neither in a poor place. Hughie Erskine had a girlfriend, Laura Merton, who lived with her father in a “rich” place. You can feel the difference between the 3 persons and their 3 places. 

The Characters that take place in the Story: 

  • Hughie Erskine: Hughie is the main character in the story. Hughie didn’t have a job, but he was a lovely man with charm and a big heart. Example: Hughie gives the beggar (Hausberg) a sovereign because he thought that Hausberg was poor. 

  • Alan Trevor: Alan was Hughie’s best friend. Alan was one of the few painters at that time. 

  • Laura Merton: Laura was Hughie’s “girlfriend.” Every one accept that, they where together, except Laura’s father. He wanted Laura to find a rich man. 

  • Laura’s father: Laura’s father was a retired Colonel. 

  • Baron Hausberg: Hausberg was one of the richest men in Europe. He had a house in every city and got a lot of power among people. 

Oscar Wilde paints a gently ironic picture of the way money drives society. Oscar Wilde wrote in the beginning of the story: “It is better to have a permanent income than to be interesting”. Through his character, Hughie shows us that charm and generosity can also pay large dividends. At the same time, the irony is that money after all does buy happiness. Laura. Hughie “bought” Laura from the money he got from Baron Hausberg. Today it wouldn’t be acceptable if a girl’s father demands 10.000 pounds, to get his daughter married. 

I think, Oscar Wilde tried to teach us something. Money isn’t everything. If only you are who you are, then everything will be fine one day.
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