Here's a little more evidence about the Brewsters being the couple in "Things". Seems it was about 1921 or so when he first meet the couple. One of my biographies, by Brenda Maddox, states:
"On the way to join Frieda in Baden-Baden, he stopped in Capri, where Compton Mackenzie introduced him to some very un-Jewish American expatriates about his own age, Earl Brewster and Achshah Brewster. Earl, born in Ohio, and Ashsah, born in Conneticut, looked like New England Puritans --neat, austere, quiet-- but were painters, who used there modest private incomes to live abroad with their small daughter, pursuing their passions, painting and Buddhism. Tenants of the Fontana Vecchia a decade earlier, they were instantly drawn to Lawrence, as he was to them, even though they personified the earnest seriousness he mocked in Americans."
I think that last statement is particularly interesting and appropriate to the short story. Also, the part where they went abroad to pursue their ---passions, painting and Buddhism. They had private income to be able to do so.
I know that it was Earl Brewter that accompanied Lawrence on his trip to the Etruscan tombs. This was later in life. Do you know the date "Things" was written? I don't know how to research the exact date.
I found this part a few pages later in my book:
"A month in bed hardly stemmed a flow of work that would have put a healthy writer to shame. By early December he was sending off to his New York and London agents a load of finished manuscripts, including six unpublished short stories, among them 'The Captain's Doll', 'The Ladybird', and the 'Horse-Dealer's Daughter', as well as a new version of 'The Fox', to which he had 'put a long tail.' He did not know if he would ever finish Mr. Noon.
So he was quite ill in bed when he wrote "Horse-Dealer's Daughter" ---amazing! All three of the stories are his well known ones. I wonder if the six manuscripts included "Things", as well. Interesting to note the last statement about Mr. Noon. I don't think he did finish that before he died, do you know? Seems illness actually enhanced his creativity...strange. He must have been grasping desperately at life during these dire periods of illness.
Hope all this interests you, Virgil, this is the second post I wrote so hope you found the preceeding one, too. I value you opinion.
Looks like Ethan Frome will be the book of month. As it was I found a copy of each in my bookcase, so I am set. Janine