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The Model Millionaire - Part 1

By Oscar Wilde, simplified by A L Stringer

Poor Hughie Erskine! He was such a good-looking young man with his short brown hair, handsome face and grey eyes, but he never realized the great truths of modern life: Romance is for the rich, not the poor. If you're unemployed, there's no point being charmingadjective polite and friendly way of behaving that attracts other people, you should be practical instead. It's far better to have a regular income than to be an interesting person.
Hughie was popular with both men and women and he had many abilities, but he couldn't make money. When his father died, he left him an army swordnoun long, pointed weapon that is held in the hand and made of sharp metal. Common in the past but not used nowadays except for display. and a book on militaryadjective relating to the army or armed forces history and nothing else. Hughie hung the swordnoun long, pointed weapon that is held in the hand and made of sharp metal. Common in the past but not used nowadays except for display. over his mirror and put the book on his shelfnoun flat piece of wood or other material on which you keep books, etc. Usually fixed to the wall or part of a cupboard. between a fox hunting magazine and a guide to horse racing. He lived on two hundred pounds a year that an old aunt paid him.

He'd tried every way of making money. He'd gone on the Stock Market for six months, but where the other traders were bulls and bears, Hughie was only a butterfly. He'd tried the tea business for a little longer but he was soon bored. Then he tried selling dry sherrynoun kind of alcoholic drink from Spain made from wine but stronger than normal wine but it was no good: his sherrynoun kind of alcoholic drink from Spain made from wine but stronger than normal wine was too dry. In the end he became nothing, a charmingadjective polite and friendly way of behaving that attracts other people but useless young man with perfect looks and no profession.

He was also in love with a girl called Laura Merton. She was the daughter of a retired army officer who had lost his tempernoun emotional state. To be in a bad temper means to be angry. To lose your temper means to become angry. and his digestionnoun biological process of taking food into the body. in India and had never found either of them again. Laura loved Hughie and he was ready to kiss her shoes. They were the best-looking couple in London, but they didn't have a penny between them. Laura's father liked Hughie very much but he absolutely refused to allow them to get engaged.

'Come and ask me again when you've got ten thousand pounds of your own, and we'll see,' he used to say. When he said this, Hughie was very sad and Laura had to comfort him.

One morning, as he was on his way to Laura's house, he dropped in to see one of his friends, Alan Trevor. Trevor was a painter. Not just an ordinary painter but an artist, a person with real talentnoun natural ability for something, especially arts or sports, which is rare. He was a strange, scruffyadjective very untidy in appearance. Used to describe people or their clothes. young man with a freckled face and an untidy red beardnoun hair that men grow on the lower part of their faces (chin and lower jaw). However, when he started to paint, he was a real master. His paintings were very popular.

He'd been attracted to Hughie at first because of Hughie's charm. 'The only people a painter should know,' he used to say, 'are beautiful people. People who are pleasant for the eye to look at and easy for the brain in conversation. Handsome men and gorgeousadjective very beautiful - especially for a woman, clothes, furnishings and certain kinds of food e.g. cakes and deserts women rule the world. At least, they ought to.'

However, after he got to know Hughie better, he came to like him also for his constant high spirits, and his generous, carefree personality. He allowed Hughie to come to his studionoun room where an artist such as a painter paints pictures; a building for producing TV programmes or films; small flat with one room whenever he wanted.

When Hughie came in he found Trevor finishing a wonderful life-size picture of a beggar. The beggar himself was standing on a raised platform in a corner of the studionoun room where an artist such as a painter paints pictures; a building for producing TV programmes or films; small flat with one room. He was a little old man, with a face like a piece of wrinkledadjective (skin) having lots of lines, usually due to old age. paper and a sad expression. He was wearing a rough brown coat that was all torn and thick boots which had been mended in many places. He leant on a rough stick and held out his dirty old hat for money.

'What an amazing model!' whisperverb speak very quietly so only one or a few people can hear.ed Hughie, as he shook hands with his friend.

'An amazing model?' shouted Trevor. 'He certainly is! You don't find beggars like this every day. My god! Rembrandt would have been pleased to paint him! '

'Poor old man!' said Hughie, 'how sad he looks! But I suppose, to you painters, his face is what makes him useful.'

'Certainly,' replied Trevor, 'you don't want a beggar to look happy, do you?'

'How much does a model get paid?' asked Hughie, as he found himself a comfortable seat on a sofa.

'A shillingnoun British coin worth 5 pence (GBP). Not used since 1971. an hour.'

'And how much do you get for your picture, Alan?'

'Oh, for this I get two thousand!'

'Pounds?'

'Yes, of course.'

'Well, I think the model should get a percentage,' said Hughie, laughing; 'they work quite as hard as you do.'

'Nonsense! Why, look what hard work it is just putting the paint on the canvasnoun kind of cloth that painters use to paint pictures on, and standing all day long at my easel! It may look easy to you, Hughie, but I promise you that there are times when painting is almost as hard as physical work. But you mustn't talk; I'm very busy. Smoke a cigarette, and keep quiet.'

A few minutes later the servant came in and told Trevor there was someone who wanted 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 the opportunity to rest for a moment on a wooden seat behind him. He looked so unhappy and poor that Hughie couldn’t help feeling sorry for him and felt in his pockets to see if he had any money. All he could find was a pound and some small coins. 'Poor old man,' he thought to himself, 'he wants it more than I do, but it means taxis for a fortnight'; and he walked across the studionoun room where an artist such as a painter paints pictures; a building for producing TV programmes or films; small flat with one room and put the pound into the beggar's hand.

The old man looked surprised, and a faint smile crossed his lips. 'Thank you, sir,' he said, 'thank you.'

Then Trevor came back, and Hughie said goodbye, blushverb when your face turns red because you are embarrasseding a little for what he'd done. He spent the day with Laura, who was quite angry at his extravagancenoun spending too much money; spending money unnecessarily, and had to walk home.

Part 2 will be posted next week
 
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Vocabulary
Dictionary entries open in a new window
charming adjective polite and friendly way of behaving that attracts other people Mac   CamDict   Wikt Save
sword noun long, pointed weapon that is held in the hand and made of sharp metal. Common in the past but not used nowadays except for display. Mac   CamDict   Wikt Save
military adjective relating to the army or armed forces Mac   CamDict   Wikt Save
shelf noun flat piece of wood or other material on which you keep books, etc. Usually fixed to the wall or part of a cupboard. Mac   CamDict   Wikt Save
sherry noun kind of alcoholic drink from Spain made from wine but stronger than normal wine Mac   CamDict   Wikt Save
talent noun natural ability for something, especially arts or sports Mac   CamDict   Wikt Save
gorgeous adjective very beautiful - especially for a woman, clothes, furnishings and certain kinds of food e.g. cakes and deserts Mac   CamWikt Save
temper noun emotional state. To be in a bad temper means to be angry. To lose your temper means to become angry. Mac   CamDict   Wikt Save
shilling noun British coin worth 5 pence (GBP 0.05). Not used since 1971. Mac   CamDict   Wikt Save
digestion noun biological process of taking food into the body. Mac   CamDict   Wikt Save
scruffy adjective very untidy in appearance. Used to describe people or their clothes. Mac   CamDict   Wikt Save
whisper verb speak very quietly so only one or a few people can hear. Mac   CamDict   Wikt Save
studio noun room where an artist such as a painter paints pictures; a building for producing TV programmes or films; small flat with one room Mac   CamDict   Wikt Save
wrinkled adjective (skin) having lots of lines, usually due to old age. Mac   CamDict   Wikt Save
beard noun hair that men grow on the lower part of their faces (chin and lower jaw) Mac   CamDict   Wikt Save
blush verb when your face turns red because you are embarrassed Mac   CamDict   Wikt Save
canvas noun kind of cloth that painters use to paint pictures on Mac   CamDict   Wikt Save
extravagance noun spending too much money; spending money unnecessarily Mac   CamDict   Wikt Save

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