Cast of Characters

  • Lord Clayton Wyndham (The Dragonfly)
    The host of the party, a count of some repute now in his early fifties. He was deeply involved in the Commonwealth and hence politically marginal at present though officially pardoned. He has been a patron of the arts and sciences, specifically to those who are politically moderate enough for his taste. He is strictly neutral between royalist and dissenter, and privately despises both the past and present kings but also considers the Commonwealth to be a failure. He is not a publically religious man, but supports moderate Anglican clergy.
  • Lady Melissa Wyndham (The Bee)
    The wife of Sir Clayton, a respected society woman but also a sympathizer of the Quakers. She is an industrious woman in her mid-fifties, and her diplomacy on her husband’s behalf has often saved him in the turbulent times.
  • Julian Arkwright (The Fly)
    The youngest son of an upper-class Englishman, Julian is a traveller and amateur naturalist, now in his early thirties. He has visited M. Malpighi in Italy as well as J. Swammerdam in the Netherlands. He is officially Anglican, but has considerable sympathies with the Catholics.
  • The Honourable Richard Bagwell (The Grasshopper)
    The youngest son in the large family of an Irish nobleman, Bagwell is now a sophisticated scientist and member of the Royal Society. He is an extremely well-educated and erudite. He is loosely based on Robert Boyle.
  • Malcolm Sterk (The Ant)
    A middle-class professional naturalist employed by the Royal Society, now in his mid-forties. He is himself a skilled scientist, and often jealous of having lower status and being required to do menial tasks for the richer and higher-class members of the society. He is skillful but only moderately educated. He lives with his young orphaned niece in a London house. He is loosely based on Robert Hooke.
  • Katherine Sterk (The Silkworm)
    A beautiful and eloquent young woman of around twenty, the niece of Malcolm Sterk. Partly through her uncle and partly through herself, she is generally agreed to have qualities and connections beyond her current station, and has hopes of marrying a higher-class gentleman. Loosely based on Grace Hooke, the niece of Robert Hooke, and to some degree Catherine Barton (the niece of Isaac Newton).
  • Astrea Philips (The Butterfly)
    A female dramatist and satirist, scandalous of behavior. Loosely based on Aphra Behn. She has published poetry of political, scientific, and alchemical themes under the pseudonym of “Enitharmon”.
  • George Ringer (The Flea)
    A middle-class painter and writer. He was a radical Leveller, and possibly a heretical Ranter, during the Commonwealth. He anonymously published political tracts during the period, but the authorship cannot be proven. He has also had more respectable writings and illustrations. Following the restoration of the king, he left the country for a time and only recently returned. He painted a watercolor of the silkworm which was associated with the current treatise.

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