This sad gentleman was the charming bee-scientist Zoltan Abbassid.
Images: A hand holds bees, while other bees encounter each other on the edge of a hive... we see pictures of these individuals.
Ella Spiralum, Ghosts, and Zoltan Abbassid
Soon after sending that message to her brother, Ella loses her job in London as a telephone operator at the telegraph company. Ella isn't too discouraged, as in truth she is an electrical inventor, and found the telegraph job discouraging. Ella, now a free agent, makes an effort to return to inventing full-time. She hopes to create a device capable of transmitting moving pictures through the telephone.
To help Ella make ends meet during this period, Hive-Maker gets her part-time work as a photographic medium at the Supernormal Picture Society, sponsor of his distant expeditionary cinematographic work. Ella ends up running the Society's weekly photographic seances, at one of which she meets the dead wife of Zoltan Abbassid, and so soon Abbassid himself, a man destined to be her husband, and in addition the very man who sold her brother the Mesopotamian bees, brought all the way from Basra.