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BOOK CORNER: THE PIECE OF STRING by Guy De Maupassant

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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 PIECE OF STRING

By Guy De Maupassant

    The story is set in the little village of Norman. It is about several months into the life of Maitre Hauchecorne, an old peasant. On an autumn market-day in Goderville, Hauchecorne is about to enter the square when he sees a piece of string on the ground. And he being of the saving kind, picks the string and keeps it with him. As he does so, he becomes aware that an enemy of his, M. Malandain, the local harness maker, is watching him. Ashamed to be seen picking up a remnant of string, the protagonist furtively hides it in his clothing and then pretends to be looking for something of value on the ground. With his head bent over in his intent search, he moves on towards the market.

    A few hours later, Hauchecorne is having his noon meal at the local tavern, Jordain’s, which is filled with local peasants, their gossipy chatter, and the powerful odour of food cooking. Twice the meal and the chatter are interrupted. First, by the voice of the town crier, who gravely announces the loss by M. Houlbreque of a pocketbook containing five hundred franc. Second, by the appearance of the chief of gendarmes, who summons Hauchecorne to see the mayor on business.

    Leaving his meal, the protagonist hurries to the mayor’s office. Where, he is unofficially confronted with the charge of having found Houlbreque’s pocketbook and of keeping it. The sole witness to the incident is Malandain, says the mayor. Hauchecorne sputters in rage at the accusation coming from his enemy. His defense—one that he shouts over and over—is that no one could seriously mistake a pocketbook for a piece of string. Those present do not believe him, and they say so, which enrages Hauchecorne even more. Malandain appears, and his reiterating of the charge against the protagonist leads to a lengthy and bitter exchange between them. To prove his innocence, Hauchecorne insists on being searched. But no pocketbook or large sum of money is found on him. The mayor dismisses him with a warning that as mayor he will consult a higher authority in the matter.

    Out in the village again, old Hauchecorne finds that many of the peasants have already heard of the event. But to set the record straight Hauchecorne begins to restate what he told the mayor and the others. That he found a piece of string and came across no pocketbook. To dramatize his points he turns his pockets inside out. Both his friends and strangers boldly tell him that they place no faith in his story, and that he is indeed an old rascal and a rogue.

    On his way home that night, and after his evening meal, he again stops his neighbours and strangers and again goes over his litany of facts in relation to the string and the pocketbook and the mayor’s false accusation. But sadly no single peasant steps forward to support his claim of innocence.

    The day’s events have made him ill. The next day, however, the pocketbook and its contents are found on the road and returned to their rightful owner. In his hour of triumph, Hauchecorne goes into the village and endlessly recounts the charge made against him the previous day and then the good news that fully exonerates him. Indeed, he spends the rest of the day on the road, returning often to the square to spread the news. At first he is convinced that his big adventure has ended most favourably for him, but as the day wears on, he senses that something is still wrong. He was easy now, yet something was worrying him without his knowing exactly what it is. People had a joking manner while they listened to him. They did not seem convinced. He seemed to feel their remarks behind his back.

    A week later, having brooded over the collective reaction to his supposed vindication, the protagonist returns once more to the Goderville market and once more confronts his peers with the details of the found string and the lost and returned pocketbook. On the streets and in Jordain’s, the response to Hauchecorne is the same: That he is guilty and both he and they know it. From time to time that day, he is even told that he had an accomplice who gave back the pocketbook, once Hauchecorne’s name had become implicated in the theft.

    Angry, dejected, and confused, he is unable to finish his meal at Jordain’s and is forced to return home amid the sound of mocking laughter. Going over and over in his mind the events that began one week before, Hauchecorne tries to come to terms with what has happened to him. He is positive of one thing. He is unable to prove his innocence because his reputation in Goderville for being crafty is well-known. He is, perhaps, capable of having done what they accused him of and even of boasting of it as a good trick. In other words, his reputation has preceded him—and that did not stand him in good stead now.

    Once he had prided himself on these tricky business practices. But now he had understood that those practices had predisposed his peasant neighbours and friends to doubt his innocence. The Norman peasant, suspicious by nature, was ready to think the worst of old Hauchecorne, and what all he could do.

    The gross injustice weighs heavily on the protagonist’s mind. He sees himself as being alone in the community (in fact, Guy de Maupassant does not mention Hauchecorne’s family, if he does have one). He knows, he has no defenders and many accusers. His brooding continues. His mind begins to get affected by his need to convince them that he is no dissembler. Hauchecorne goes forth every day in the village, redoubling his efforts to persuade any and all that he spied a piece of string in the road and put it in his pocket, but about the pocketbook, he knows nothing. The cruelty of the peasants is such that Hauchecorne becomes in short order, a butt of public jokes. The more they ask him to recite his tale of woe, the more elaborate and the more subtle his argument for his innocence becomes; as always, he is never believed.

    The protagonist falls ill in late December and is bedridden for some time. Early in January, he dies. In his deathbed delirium, his denials of wrongdoing are focused in a single phrase uttered repeatedly: “A little bit of string—a little bit of string.”

***

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

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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. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. 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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SHORT STORY: RECIPE OF THE WISE-MAN

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    There was once a wise man who lived in a village. Villagers used to come to him for advice and consultation. But to the amazement of the wise man, most of the people came to him with the same problem.

    One day while he was sitting with all his disciples they started of as usual with their small and petty problems. The wise man kept listening to them. At one point he said hold on after which he cracked a joke. When everyone burst into an uncontrollable laughter.

     After this people resumed with their problems. But after a while he again requested them to stop for a moment when he cracked the same joke for the second time. But this time, only a few laughed and that too in a half hearted manner, and only a few smiled. After which disciples again started of with their problems. But after sometime the wise man again asked them to stop when he cracked the same joke for the third time. But this time neither did anyone laugh nor did anyone smile.

    Then he said, ‘You can’t laugh at the same joke over and over again. So why are you crying about the same problem again and again.

    MORAL OF THE STORY: Don’t just go about discussing the same problem again and again as it will lose its weightage and will only be a waste of time and energy.

***

Posted by Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. 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)

*****

 

 

 

POEM: MOTHER

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

 

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. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. 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)

*****

 

 

 

SHORT STORY: HAZIR JAWAB (QUICK WITTED)

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SHORT STORY: HAZIR JAWAB

(QUICK WITTED)

    There was once a king who was extremely intelligent and at the same time he was extremely passionate about serving his own people. Often he used to hold welfare programmes for them. Today was a similar day. When, he had returned after a long and hectic tour. After tackling various issues in order to help the citizens of his kingdom. The king had an intelligent minister too, who used to escort him almost everywhere. The king trusted the minister not only because he was intelligent but also because he was a ‘hazir jawab.’

    As the king entered his court and sat on his throne he felt extremely tired. He thought of calling it a day almost immediately as he was not feeling fit. But just then his personal assistant entered the court. And after some ostentatious genuflections he said.

    ‘Huzoor, there is a learned scholar who has just now arrived at the main gate of the castle. He is requesting for your immediate audience. He says he has a very important question for you. Unfortunately he has not been able to get the answer of which till now, even when he has visited many kingdoms and has met many kings.’

    The king enquired if he could wait till morning but the scholar was in a hurry. Finally, the king had no choice so he asked the minister if he could handle the scholar and answer his question. The minister agreed and told the king that he was ready. As it was a question of the kingdom’s reputation. Else, he will go out and gossip. That the kingdom doesn’t have people with wit and wisdom and therefore they can’t answer difficult questions. The king was happy at this logic of the minister.

    Finally, the scholar entered the king’s court. After paying his respect to the king he stood there. The king said, since he is not feeling well he has asked his learned minister sitting in the court, to answer his question in his presence. The scholar was happy at this. And the very next moment the scholar was introduced to the minister.

    The scholar said, ‘Mister Minister what would you like to have. Hundred easy questions or one difficult question?’ The minister looked at the king and said.

    ‘Since his majesty is not feeling well and he would like to wind up, the court early today. I would prefer one difficult question so that we all can be done with it fast.’

    The scholar thought for a moment and then he smiled and said. ‘Learned Minister, so get ready for that one difficult question.’

    ‘Tell me … what came first. The chicken or the egg.’

    The minister thought for a while. He made eye contact with the king and then he looked at some the courtiers and said, ‘the chicken came first.’

    The scholar was happy to hear that. He thought for a moment and then said,

    ‘Mister Minister … are your sure the chicken came first?’

    The Minister got up from his seat. He then looked at the scholar and said.

    ‘Dear scholar you were allowed to ask only one question which you’ve already asked. This is the second question which you’re not allowed to ask.

    MORAL: By being hazir jawab or quick witted you can safely come out of tricky situations.

Posted 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. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. 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)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK TALK: KALIGRAM–1891 by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore

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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

KALIGRAM 1891

By Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore

    When Gurudev was young he had written many letters that later on got published as a book, after they were translated into English. In these letters Gurudev has mostly described a village scene in Bengal. He calls letter writing a form of literary extravagance. These letters have now become part of his published works. Kaligram 1891 happens to be once such letter and below is the synopsis of this letter.

    I am feeling listlessly comfortable and delightfully irresponsible. (Perhaps that gives him time to indulge in letter writing). This is the prevailing mood all around here. There is a river here. But it has no current to speak of. And is merely lying, snugly tucked up in its coverlet of floating weeds. Perhaps, it seems to think—‘since it is possible to get on without getting along. Why should I bestir myself to stir?’ The sentence has a deep meaning. The edge that lines the bank knows hardly of any disturbance until the fishermen come with their nets.

    There are four or five large size boats moored nearby. They are floating alongside. On the upper deck of one, the boatman is fast asleep. He is rolled up in a sheet from head to foot. On another, the boatman—while basking in the sun—is leisurely twirling some yarn into rope. And on the lower deck of another boat there is an oldish looking bare bodied fellow leaning over an oar, staring vacantly at our boat. God knows why.

    All along the bank there are various other people. But why they come and why they go, with the slowest of idle steps, or remain seated in their haunches embracing their knees, or keep on gazing at nothing in particular, no one can guess.

    The only signs of activity that one gets to see are the ducks. Who quacking clamorously, thrust their heads under and then bob up again to shake off water with equal energy. It appears as if they repeatedly tried to explore the mysteries below the surface, and every time, shaking their heads, had to report. ‘Nothing there! Nothing there!’

      The days drowse all their twelve hours in the sun. and then silently sleep away the other twelve, wrapped in the mantle of darkness. The only thing you want to do in a place like this is, to gaze and gaze on the landscape, swinging your fancies to and fro, alternately humming a tune and nodding dreamily, as the mother on a winter’s noonday, with her back to the sun, rocks and croons her baby to sleep.

***

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)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK TALK: MERCHANT OF VENICE by William Shakespeare

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.’

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Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

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