General

As The World Turns

I found an Instagram post the other day getting “liked” by people in the eastern US at what would have been about 5 AM Eastern time (on the USA east coast). Probably they awaken and almost immediately check their phone. That doesn’t make them different: how many of us do the same thing? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Our phones are always within reach.

[Photo by me, 2019. That’s British singer Patrina Morris on my iPhone there a little while ago.]

On Instagram you can – at least if you have a “professional” account – also get all manner of fun stats. I screen captured these yesterday of my Instagram followers. They each include a brief observation of my own from when I posted them to the Insta-Stories feature…

[Screen capture of Instagram.]

[Screen capture of Instagram.]

[Screen capture of Instagram.]

[Screen capture of Instagram.]

On that last one, it had long been around 53 percent women, 47 percent men, which always made some sense to me given I also know a large majority of my actual readers are women. I don’t have a huge number of followers – but I estimate around “95 percent” are real – so just a few follows/unfollows by women/men can make a large percentage difference.

That’s Instagram. It is tougher to get “broad follower” snapshot stats from here on WordPress. I don’t even know if a blogger can? What WordPress does tell us is from where visitors come.

I notice I get visits based, not unsurprisingly, on the earth’s rotation. Shortly after I post – which is usually between 8 and 9 AM UK time – I get a bunch of visitors from the east (thus later in their day). Other than west coasters, or I presume unfortunate insomniacs, visitors from the Americas don’t usually start appearing until about 11 am to 12 noon UK time.

I post here mostly in the mornings so everyone sees the same post on the same day at some point, and I think that works pretty well because I have learned over the years that predictability is pretty important in blogging. As the world turns. A blog post is often how I start my day, and by 9 or 10 am I am often immersed in what I am supposed to be writing for eventual novel publication.

Also perhaps speaking of As the World Turns – which is also the title of a formerly long-running US television daytime soap. It is worth recounting this here. Only a really brave novelist would try to invent this sort of thing and expect not to be laughed at by an editor.

After returning (he did in 1798) to the United States, in 1809 the New York born 57 year old Gouverneur (probably pronounced – because obviously we have no recording of him saying it – “gooveneer”) Morris married a 35 year old Virginian named Anne “Nancy” Randolph. Nancy was related by marriage to Thomas Jefferson; she was a sister of one of Jefferson’s sons-in-law. She had relocated from Virginia to (then faraway) Connecticut (where Morris by then lived) where she found work with Morris (whom she had evidently met at some time in the past) as his housekeeper.

The reason she was in Connecticut was because in 1805 the spinster never married Nancy had been asked (likely, uh, told) by her sister to leave the family’s plantation, which was named Bizarre. (Yes, really.) Twelve years earlier, in 1793, Nancy had been accused of involvement in the murder of an infant born to her at Bizarre; the infant was probably her brother-in-law’s child. Nancy was not tried, but the brother-in-law was, and he was acquitted – defended in court by lawyers including none other than one (future special envoy to France and afterwards Chief Justice of the Supreme Court) John Marshall. Three years later that same brother-in-law died in questionable circumstances, and both Nancy and her sister (his wife) were vaguely suspected of having some role in his death, but no charges were filed against them.

While all of that was going on in Virginia, having succeeded Thomas Jefferson as U.S. Minister (ambassador) to France, Morris witnessed the mid-1790s “Great Terror” of the French Revolution in Paris first-hand. He was possibly involved (diplomatically inappropriately) in offering some advice in an effort to help King Louis XVI escape from France; was later present for the guillotining of the former king; regularly pounded angrily on French “government” doors trying to get arrested Americans released; had seen a man murdered just feet away on a street; endured French authorities bursting in and searching his ministerial home (an egregious violation of diplomatic immunity; but he was also quietly providing refuge for French women friends); and he intervened (technically also diplomatically inappropriately) seeking to keep Adrienne, the wife of the Marquis de Lafayette, from being guillotined (and Morris knew Adrienne actually disliked him, she having once derided him to his face as “a monarchist”). Overall he came to annoy the French Jacobin revolutionaries so much they demanded he be replaced with someone else, and he was in mid-1794.

With all of that behind him, a decade or so later in this case obviously a whiff of suspicion (actually, a bit more than just a whiff) of infanticide and possibly also, uh, brother-in-law-i-cide evidently did not worry Morris all that much. He appeared also to have always had an affinity for (attractive) younger women (the real Lady Sutherland above is but one example), and a weakness (or maybe call it perhaps an “old-fashioned” chivalrous side) especially for those in distress. He and Nancy would have a son and they remained married until Morris’s death in 1816.

Oh, and there is no evidence whatsoever that Morris’s death had anything at all to do with Nancy.

And they say history is dull? ๐Ÿ˜‚

[As dawn approaches. At 7:10 AM UK time this morning. Photo by me.]

Have a good day, wherever you are. ๐Ÿ™‚