Sophie Deserves A Mention, Too

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I’ve got so much going on right now. My head’s spinning. To better explain what I mean, first here’s that excerpt again in case you missed it the other day:

Sneak Peek into  "Conventions." Click to expand.
Sneak Peek into “Conventions.” Click to expand.

I’ve got that French ship captain, who I’m finding is quite an interesting man as a write more of him. And of course there’s the “heroine” in that scene as well (but I don’t want to tell you yet who she is or what she’s doing where she is). That’s just for starters.

I’ve also got a prominent Portuguese couple aboard that ship also. In the background, chaotic revolutionary France is now at war with just about everybody. The British Royal Navy is also intercepting American ships and, claiming to be searching for navy deserters, is impressing American sailors, too – especially if the ships were deemed to be trading with the French enemy. (The British had stopped some 250 ships in total over several years and took hundreds of men.) And the French are taking American ships, too. France’s fighting in the Pyrenees with Spain and Portugal. The French royalist VendΓ©e rebellion, which broke out in 1793 just above Nantes, has now exploded into full-scale war. And we already know American diplomats in Paris are overwhelmed trying to cope with Americans (and others) trapped in the “reign of terror.”

Whew. All of that, and more, has to be taken into consideration in the full tale.

It’s not even 10 o’clock and I’d love a drink. πŸ˜‰

Another coffee will have to do.

1794: in many respects, what an awful year.

Jean-Baptiste Greuze, "Portrait of a Lady, called Sophie Arnould." (c. 1773.) [Wikipedia. Public Domain.]
Jean-Baptiste Greuze, “Portrait of a Lady, called Sophie Arnould.” (c. 1773.) [Wikipedia. Public Domain.]
On a more pleasant note (no pun intended): French opera star Sophie Arnould, 1740-1802. Her peak performing stardom was pre-revolution. (Terming her the Adele of the era is almost surely a mischaracterization, but I suppose it will do for “simplistic” comparative purposes here.) Although most people who knew of her had also never actually heard her sing (and naturally we have no idea what she actually sounded like), and by the 1790s was officially long-retired, she was still hugely famous and I’m trying to fit her in somewhere as well.

Have a good day, wherever you are in the world. πŸ™‚


  1. Did you know that the French tried to introduce the fill-in-the-blank form for recording vital statistics as part of the Revolution? But it didn’t catch on: Monsieur le Maire kept making marginal notes on the forms, because he was too used to writing detailed narrative accounts. The form disappeared after a few years, and the record books returned to the old style (like their bizarre attempt to revamp the calendar – we genealogists thank heaven for the end of that foolishness).

    From what I can tell by reading microfilmed French records, my peasant ancestors must have kept low profiles during that period of turmoil – very low: many of them were coal miners (later on, I have a blacksmith ancestor).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds spot on. The ancien regime had records galore, but there was lots of chaos and overlap. The revolutionaries just kept that going, but sought to “rationalize” matters. The modern French state has inherited all that: there’s a form and a record for seemingly everything!

      Liked by 1 person

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