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BOOK TALK: THE MODEL MILLIONAIRE by Oscar Wilde

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

 

THE MODEL MILLIONAIRE

By Oscar Wilde

 

    Oscar Wilde was an Irish poet and playwright. He lived during 1854-1900.

    Unless one is wealthy there is no point in being a charming fellow. Romance is the privilege of the rich and not the profession of the unemployed. The poor should be practical and unsentimental. It is better to have a routine permanent income than to be a captivating personality. These were some great truths of life which Hughie Erskine never realised. Intellectually Hughie was of fair consequence. He had never said an anything brilliant in his life nor had he said anything offending. But yes. He was a wonderful person and good looking. He had brown hair with clear cut profile and grey eyes. He was popular with men as he was with women and he had every competence except that of making money. His father had bequeathed him his cavalry sword along with a history of peninsular war in fifteen volumes. Hughie had hung the first over his looking glass. And he had put the second on a shelf between Ruff’s guide and Bailey’s magazine. He lived on two hundred a year that was allowed to him by his old aunt.

    He had tried everything. He had worked in a stock exchange for six months but was a butterfly to do among bulls and bears. He had even been a tea merchant for a longer period of time but soon tired out Pekoe and Souchung (variety of tea). Then he tried selling sherry. But there also he didn’t n do well. Finally he became nothing but a delightful, ineffectual young man with a perfect profile but no profession.

     To make matters worse he was in love. The girl he loved was Laura Merton, daughter of a retired colonel who had lost his temper and digestion in India and had never found either of them again. Laura adored Hughie and he was ready to anything for her. They were the handsomest couple of London. But they did not have a penny-piece between them. The colonel was very fond of Hughie but could not hear about their engagement.

    And he used to say. Come to me my boy when you have ten thousand pounds of your own in your pocket and then we will see about it. This used to sadden Hughie who then used to look glum and go to Laura for consolation.

    One morning when he was on his way to Holland Park, where Mertons lived. He dropped by to see a great friend of his, Alan Trevor. Trevor was a greater painter. And an artist too. That was a rare combination. He was a strange rough fellow with a freckled face and a red ragged beard. But when he took up the brush he was a real master. Moreover, his pictures were largely sought after. He was very attached to Hughie mainly because of his personal charm. ‘The only people a painter should know,’ he used to say, ‘are people who are bete and beautiful, people who are artistic pleasure to look at an intellectual repose. To talk to, men who are dandies and women who are darlings rule the world, at least they should do so.’ After he got to know Hughie better he liked him quite as much for his bright buoyant spirits. And his generous reckless nature. Because of which he had given him the permanent entrée to his studio.  

    When Hughie came in he found Trevor applying finishing touches to a wonderful life size painting of a beggar man. The beggar himself was standing on a raised platform in a corner of the studio. He looked a wizened old man with a face like wrinkled parchment and a 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 his friend.

    ‘An amazing model?’ Shouted Trevor at the top of his voice, ‘I should think so. Such beggars as he are not to be met everyday.’ And he goes on to praise the beggar.

    ‘Poor old chap.’ Said Hughie. ‘How miserable he looks! But I suppose, to you painters. His face is his fortune.’

    ‘Certainly,’ replied Trevor. ‘You don’t want a beggar to look happy, do you?’

    ‘How much does a model get for sitting?’ asked Hughie as he found himself a comfortable seat on a divan.

    ‘A shilling an hour!’

    ‘And how much do you get for your picture Alan?’

    ‘Oh! for this I get two thousand.’

    ‘Pounds?’

    ‘Guineas. Painters, poets and physicians always get guineas.’

    ‘Well I think the model should have a percentage.’ Cried Hughie, laughingly. ‘They work quite hard as you do.’

    ‘Nonsense … nonsense! Why look at the trouble of laying on the paint alone and standing all day long at one’s easel! Its all very well, Hughie, for you to talk, but I assure you that there are moments when art almost attains to the dignity of manual labour. But you mustn’t chatter; I’m very busy. Smoke a cigarette and keep quiet.’

    After some time, the servant came in and told Trevor that the frame maker wanted to speak to him.

    ‘Don’t run away, Hughie,’ he said as he went out. ‘I will be back in a moment.’

    The old beggar man took advantage of Trevor’s absence. He rested for a moment on a wooden bench that was behind him. He looked so forlorn and wretched that Hughie could not help pitying him, so he felt his pockets to see what money he had. All he could find was a sovereign and some coppers. ‘Poor old fellow,’ he thought to himself, ‘he wants it more than I do, but it means no hansoms for a fortnight,’ and he walked across the studio and slipped the sovereign into the beggar’s hand.

    The old man started, and a faint smile flitted across his withered lips. ‘Thankyou sir,’ he said, ‘thank you.’

    Soon Trevor arrived when Hughie took his leave blushing a little at what he had done. He spent the day with Laura, got an affectionate scolding for his extravagance, and had to walk home.

    That night he strolled into the Palette Club at about 11’o clock. He found Trevor sitting by himself in the smoking room drinking Hock and Seltzer.

    ‘Well Alan did you get the picture finished all right? He said as he lit his cigarette.’

    ‘Finished and framed, my boy!’ answered Trevor, and by-the-bye, you have made a conquest. That old model you saw is quite devoted to you. I had to tell him all about you—who you are, where you live, what your income is, what prospects you have.’

    ‘My dear Alan,’ cried Hughie. ‘I shall probably find him waiting for me when I go home. But of course, you are only joking. Poor old wretched! I wish I could do something for him. I think it is dreadful that anyone should be so miserable. I have got heaps of old clothes at home—do you think he should care for any of them? Why his rags were falling to bits.’

   ‘But he looks splendid in them,’ said Trevor. ‘I wouldn’t paint him in a frock-coat for anything. What you call rags I call romance. What seems poverty to you is picturesqueness to me. However, I’ll tell him of your offer.’

    ‘Alan,’ said Hughie seriously. ‘You painters are a heartless lot.’

    ‘An artist’s heart is his head.’ Replied Trevor, ‘and besides our business is to realise the world as we see it, not to reform it as we know it. A chacun son metier. And now tell me how Laura is. The old model was quite interested in her.’

    You don’t mean to say you talked to him about her? Said Hughie.

    ‘Certainly, I did. He knows all about the relentless colonel. The lovely Laura and the ten thousand pounds.’

    ‘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 could buy all London to-morrow without overdrawing his account. He has a house in every capital, dines off gold plate and can prevent Russia going to war when he chooses.’

    ‘What on earth do you mean?’ exclaimed Hughie.

    ‘What I say,’ said Trevor. ‘The old man you saw to-day in the studio was Barron-Hausberg. He is a great friend of mine, buys all my pictures and that sort of thing and gave me a commission a month ago to paint him as a beggar. Que voulez? La fantaisie d’un millionaire! And I must say he made a magnificent figure in his rags or perhaps I should say in my rags, they are an old suit I got in spain.

    ‘Baron Hausberg!’ cried Hughie. ‘Good heavens I gave him a sovereign!’ and he sank into an armchair the picture of dismay.’

    ‘Gave him a sovereign!’ shouted Trevor and he burst into a roar of laughter. My dear you’ll never see it again. ‘Son affaire c’est I argent des autres.’

    ‘I think you might have told me Alan,’ said Hughie sulkily, ‘and not have let me make such a fool of myself.’

    ‘Well to begin with, Hughie,’ said Trevor, ‘it never entered my mind that you went about distributing alms in that reckless way. I can understand your kissing a pretty model, but your giving a sovereign to an ugly one—by love, no! besides the fact is that I really was not at home today. To anyone; and when you came in I didn’t know whether Hausberg would like his name mentioned. You know he wasn’t in full dress what a duffer he must think me!’ said Hughie.

    ‘Not at all. He was in the highest spirits after you left, kept chuckling to himself and rubbing his old wrinkled hands together. I couldn’t make out why he was so interested to know all about you; but I see it all now. He’ll invest your sovereign for you. Hughie pay the interest every six months. And have a capital story to tell after dinner.’

    ‘I am an unlucky devil,’ Growled Hughie.

    ‘The best thing I can do is to go to bed; and my dear Alan, you mustn’t tell anyone. I should dare show my face in the row.’

    ‘Nonsense! It reflects the highest credit on your philanthropic spirit, Hughie. And don’t run away. Have another cigarette and you can talk about Laura as much as you like.’

    However, Hughie couldn’t stop feeling horrible. He walked home feeling very unhappy and leaving Alan Trevor in fits of laughter.

    The next morning, when he was at breakfast, the servant brought him a card on which was written, ‘Monsieur Gustave Naudin! Dela Part De M. Le Baron Hausberg.’

    ‘I suppose he has come for an apology,’ said Hughie to himself, and he told the servant to show the visitor up.

    An old gentleman with gold spectacles and grey hair came into the room and said in a slight French accent, ‘Have I the honour of addressing Monsieur Erskine.’ Hughie bowed.

    ‘I have come from Baron Hausberg.’ He continued. ‘The Baron … I beg sir that you will offer him my sincerest 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 the outside was written, ‘a wedding present to High Erskine and Laura Merton, from an old beggar!’ And inside was a cheque of ten thousand pounds.

    When they married Alan Trevor was the best man and the Baron made a speech at the wedding breakfast.

    ‘Millionaire Models,’ remarked Alan, ‘are rare enough: but by love, model millionaires are rarer still.’

***

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

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BOOK TALK: ACRES OF DIAMONDS by Russel H Conwell

Copyright@shravancharitymission

ACRES OF DIAMOND

By Russell H Conwell

Russell H Conwell is an American orator, philanthropist, lawyer and writer (1843-1925)

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about

    ‘Acres of Diamond’ is a distinguished book by Russell Conwell. Reason why he is referred as a penniless millionaire? His appropriate findings will change you adequately to seek new opportunities. To find true wealth right in your backyard. The same principles had even transformed Russel Conwell into one of the most charitable millionaires of his time. I’m sure the book will also revolutionise your life as you read the timeless homilies contained in those rich pages. It is divided in chapters.

    CHAPTER 1: There was once a wealthy man by the name Ali Hafed who lived not far from river Indus. ‘He was contented because he was wealthy and wealthy because he was contented.’ One day a priest visited Ali Hafed and told him all about diamonds. Ali Hafed patiently heard him. Including how much they were worth, and went to his bed at night as a poor man. He had not lost anything. Yet he was poor because he was discontented, and discontented because he feared he was poor. And as an aftermath, Ali Hafed sold his farm. Left his family and travelled to Palastine and then to Europe in search of diamonds. But he could not find them.

    In the meanwhile both his health and wealth failed him. Dejected, he cast himself into the sea and died. One day. The man who had purchased Ali Hafed’s farm found a curious sparkling stone in a stream that cut through his land. It was a diamond. He got excited and started digging and that produced more diamonds—acres of diamonds. This according to the parable was the discovery of the famed diamonds of Golconda.

    So, are you among those who look for diamonds in faraway places? Is the grass really green on the other side and not this side? And, is there an opportunity that has been in front of your eyes all this while? Have you taken stock of your life of late? Perhaps, there are diamonds sitting just outside your backdoor. Now I’m not suggesting. You physically go and start digging your backyard, as the story says. But yes you can find ‘acres of diamonds’ in your backyard too.

    Each of us, are in the middle of our own ‘acres of diamonds.’ If only we could visualise it, and focus on the ground we are standing on. Before, charging off, to greener pastures elsewhere. Opportunity does not just come along. It is there all the time. We just have to notice it. In life when we go searching for ‘something’ we should know what that ‘something’ looks like. How it smells and tastes like, so that we can recognize it, when we find it. Before we give up what we already have, make sure what we’re getting is better than what we already have.

CHAPTER2

    Holy Bible does not say, ‘Money is the root cause of all evil.’ Conwell rejects the common belief that in order to be pious or virtuous one must be poor. He insists that, ‘Ninety-percent out of hundred rich men of America are honest.’ To attain wealth is a noble thing because, ‘you can do more good with it than you could do without it.’

    A student challenges Conwell, when he is certain that the scriptures state, ‘Money is the root of all evils.’

    ‘Go out … into the chapel and get the bible and show me the page.’ Conwell tells him.’ The young man returns with the Bible. Turns the pages and reads: ‘The love of money is the root cause of all evil.’

    ‘Not money, but the love for money is evil. That man who hugs the dollar until the eagle squeals has in him the root of all evil.’ Conwell says.

CHAPTER 3

    In order to be successful in business, get to know your customers well. Conwell challenges business owners who insist that they cannot get rich in their own town. He asks them about their neighbours. Where are they from? What do they do in their spare time? What do they want and what do they need?

    To the man who does not care about the answers, he replies: ‘If you had cared about him, your neighbour. Taken interest in his affairs, to find out what he needed, you would have been rich.’

CHAPTER 4

    It is criminal not to make profit on what you sell. The overly pious insist that it is sinful to profit on a transaction. Conwell replies, ‘you cannot trust a man with your money. Who, cannot take care of his own.’ You have no right to injure your own business for charity. In order to serve your own community and customers you need to be a strong and stable institution yourself. You are no good to anyone if you cannot take care of yourself.

CHAPTER 5

    To inherit a great amount is a curse. To be born with plenty and therefore be without the drive to make something out of your own efforts is a handicap. He pities the children of the wealthy. They will never know the best of things in life. ‘One of the best things in our life is when a young man has earned his own living.’ Much better than money is to leave your children with education, a noble character, a wide circle of friends and an honourable name. Quite regularly he rebukes those who believe, capital is a must to become rich. He responds with a story about a man who began whittling toys from firewood, and by observing what his own children wanted, he became a millionaire.

CHAPTER 6

    ‘How fortunate that young man is who loses the first time he gambles.’ Failure is the best teacher. To make a risky move and lose, teaches one to act with more caution and wisdom. He tells the tale of a man. Who spends half of his tiny amount of money, on things no one wants. After that he searches, until he has found a demand then commits his capital to supplying that on this principle. The man turned 62.5 cents into 40 million dollars.

CHAPTER 7

    Success comes to the observant. Conwell details the story of John Jacob Astor who was renting out a store to bonnet (hat) makers who could not pay their rent bills. Astor started a partnership with the same people in the same store. He went across the street, sat on a park bench and watched the women walk by. When he saw one walking with a confident posture and a smile on her face, he took note of her bonnet, asked them to make more just like it and put them in the store’s window. They could not make a single bonnet until Astor told them what to make. The store blossomed to success thereafter.

CHAPTER 8

    Truly speaking great people never appear great. The greatest of people are plain, straightforward, earnest, sober and even practical. You’d never know how great they are until you see them doing something. Their neighbours never see greatness in them. They call them by their first names and treat them the same no matter what heights they reach.

    The author remembers the time he met Abraham Lincoln, just days before his death. Initially he was intimidated by the importance of him. But quickly he was put at ease by the ordinary, comfortable farmer like quality of the president.

CHAPTER 9

    Apply yourself wholeheartedly, to the task, till it is complete. Was the other lesson Conwell learnt from Lincoln: ‘Whatever he had to do at all, he put his whole mind in it and held it all there until that was all done.’ Once, when, Conwell was taken to the President’s office for a meeting. Lincoln was inundated with official papers. And he remained in that limbo for sometime while Conwell anxiously waited. Then he tied up his documents and focused fully on his guest: ‘I am a very busy man and have only a few minutes to spare. Now tell me in the fewest of words what is it you want?’

    When their business was concluded, Lincoln gave a crisp ‘good morning’ and went on to the next set of papers. Conwell excused himself.

CHAPTER 10

     An office will not make you great. ‘You think you are going to be made great by an office. But remember that if you are not great before you get the office, you won’t be great when you secure it.’ An elected official is the representative of great people and therefore can only be as great as his constituents. Conwell says, when too many great people get elected to an office, we will have the makings of an empire, rather than democracy. Title and position is no replacement for character.

    The truly great people go about their daily business with honour and integrity. Whereas, the proud and egotistical man, ‘is nothing but a puffed up balloon held down by his big feet.’

    So the challenge is. In a nutshell how can you find acres of diamonds in your own backyard? For that maintain a ready mind. Be open to possibilities around you. Don’t let preconceived notions cloud your judgment. We often overlook the value of something because we believe we already know it.

    Look at the familiar in new ways. Conwell lists some important inventions—the snap button, the cotton gin, the mowing machine—and notes that these were created by everyday people who found new approaches and new uses for common place objects.

    Explore what people want. Then give it to them. Discover a market, and then provide a product or a service. Too many people do this the other way round. They develop a product or a service and then try to market it. Try to manufacture desire. You’ll have more success if you have desire and then try and meet it.

    Knowledge is more important than capital. Lack of capital is a common excuse for not starting a business venture. How often have you heard, ‘you need money to make money.’ Nonsense, says Conwell. He gives anecdotes of wealthy people who started with nothing but an idea.

   He further says. Don’t put yourself down and don’t belittle your environment. Don’t compare yourself with others. ‘Believe in the great opportunities that are right here and not in New York or Boston, but here for business, for everything that is worth living for on earth. There was never an opportunity greater. Find the best in what’s around.’

    *****

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****