|Mr. C-1992 to 2012-|
By coincidence this story, like his wonderful easy to read short novel, The Aspern Papers, "The Pupil" is partially set in Venice, so I will include it as part of my participation in February in Venice hosted by Ally from Snow Feathers and Dolce Bellezza.
"The Pupil" is a rather strange story. Like several of the major works of James (1843 to 1916 USA), one of the central characters is a child, in this case a teenage boy who we first meet at age 11. "The Pupil" has four main characters the young Pupil, his dishonest parents, and his tutor, the young recent Oxford graduate, Mr. Pemberton. Pemberton is promised, of course, a salary but when he tries to ask what he will be paid, he is not given a straight answer. In fact over the course of nearly two years with the family as they move from one hotel to another in Europe, skipping out on the bills, he is never paid anything.
The mother in the family, a truly nasty woman, uses emotional blackmail on the tutor employing his growing fondness for the boy as leverage when he does demand wages. The boy knows the tutor is not being paid and he knows his parents are using the tutor for free lessons. The tutor knows it also but he is so fond of the boy he does not want to quit his job. He also has no money so he is kind of stuck as they do feed and house him. One day a good friend finds the tutor a very well paying job with a decent affluent family and he takes it. What happens next is really powerfully tragic.
As the story closes, the family moves to Venice and there are numerous references to places in Venice in the story.
"The Pupil" can easily be found online.