Sorry this is late.
I can't help feeling sorry for Brooksmith through this story. He had such a great thing going for him with Mr. Offord and after that he wasn't able to find the same satisfaction with any other 'employers'. Also Brooksmith was the one who kept the household and the salon together, the mere 8 pounds that Mr. Offord left wasn't enough.
I really liked this line "I often noticed that if an anecdote or a quotation, much more a lively discussion, was going forward, he would, if busy with the fire or the curtains, the lamp or the tea, find a pretext for remaining in the room till the point should be reached." It helped to define Brooksmith as educated and interested in the conversation that happened within the salon, and also perhaps to make sure there were no unneeded outbursts.
I didn't quite understand what the fascination with Brooksmith was; he was (after all) just a butler. The narrator seemed quite intrigued with him and was worried about him after Mr. Offord's death. I found this just plain weird. I would imagine that the only time you would become attached to a butler is if they lived with you, and even then wouldn't the butler just be someone you employed?
The Real Thing
"Perhaps they wished to be done together - in which case they ought to have brought a third person to break the news." What an odd statement!
Pg 84 "For a woman of her age her waist was surprisingly small; her elbow moreover had the orthodox crook." Weird.
It's interested at the beginning the woman and the man were so convinced that they were the real thing and that they were just want the painter needed they didn't have to change anything about themselves. When in fact the painter was looking for someone who wasn't so structured and ridged. At the end the woman and the man realized that being the real thing wasn't all it was cut out to be. The 'unreal' look was better suited in this case.
What I found really interesting is that the painter felt sorry for him so he started to paint them, then in the middle of the book he was actually defending their portraits because they were the 'real things', then at the end (after the visit of his friend) he wanted the unreal because it was better.
I'm so utterly confused by this story. I assumed, by the title, that there would be a teacher and a student however it's not really clearly defined who is the teacher and who is the pupil. In the traditional sense Pemberton is the teacher and Morgan is the student, however several times during this story I'm confused as to who is actually the teacher.
Also the story ends rather abruptly. Morgan is finally granted his wish to go and live with Pemberton and then dies? And throughout the story the parents and siblings have little do with do Morgan yet at the end his parents are clearly distraught that their son just died. This is confusing to me too.
And I don't understand where these people are getting the money to move from place to place all the time. My first thought was that maybe they have to move so much because they aren't paying at all and eventually they are getting kicked out...but I'm not sure. I don't like the parents by the end of the story, they are too weirdly detached from everything.
This story started off somewhat dismal, with the telling of the woman's death. Each chapter was a new meeting. I got the feeling that the guy cared for Ms. Spenser but didn't care quite enough to really do anything about it. Ms. Spenser was dreaming of Europe for so long and she got one day there and then ended up with "something of that dear old Europe," meaning the Countess. It's sad how excited Ms. Spenser had been to see Europe and then to have everything crash down due to her cousin and further to have the Countess (who is from Europe) come and live with her which further crushed her thoughts of Europe.