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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 488

The characters of "Lefty" are:

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Emperor Alexander I (Pavlovich):

In the story, Alexander visits England and finds himself fascinated by the talents of English artisans. He is accompanied by Don Cossack Platov, who amazes him with his seeming indifference to foreign accomplishments.

When Alexander is presented with the steel flea (or, the nymphosoria) by the English officials, he declares that no artisan in Russia can match their English counterparts in crafting such exquisite inventions. Alexander also orders Platov to pay the Englishmen lavishly for the nymphosoria. Neither Platov nor Alexander reconcile their differences in regards to foreign inventions.

Don Cossack Platov:

Platov serves two emperors in his lifetime: Nicholas I and Alexander I. He accompanies both to England to tour the nation's factories and museums. Each time, he tries to steer his sovereign's attention away from English inventions.

However, he is largely unsuccessful in his efforts. Undeterred, he engages in oneupmanship against his English counterparts. In the story, Platov drags Lefty (one of the Tula artisans) before Emperor Nicholas I to explain the intricacies of his invention.

The English officials:

Throughout the story, the English officials tout the accomplishments of their nation's artisans. They show Alexander inventions such as trench coats for the infantry, muskets, and pistols. In the story, the English officials present Alexander a gift of a steel flea (the nymphosoria) as proof of the superiority of English craftsmanship.

Later, they try to lure Lefty (one of the Tula artisans) to emigrate to England. The English officials promise him a wonderful education, a wife, and a new life. However, Lefty turns them down.

Emperor Nicholas I:

In the story, Nicholas commissions Platov to find Russian artisans who can best their English counterparts' steel flea invention.

The Tula masters:

These Tula artisans make shoes for the nymphosoria. Their invention impresses...

(The entire section contains 488 words.)

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