James Whitehead said:I am sure the story of the monkey at the Hellfire Club is one
I have read. Whether it is true would be more difficult to decide.
Given the debaucheries and drunkenness of those flakey old
aristos, I think the monkey may have been grateful that his arse
was just kissed.
I'm getting a little worried about this. First of all James plucks a monkey's arse out of nowhere and then, totally unprovoked, harlequin shoves a radish up it. What's going on?harlequin said:Indeed, the little blighter could have been 'raddished' - thats where they get a raddish and stick it up... you can guess the rest
James Whitehead said:The line about principles and pox is usually attributed to John
Wilkes, 1727 - 1797, in conversation with Lord Sandwich.
[I was going to say "I hate quotations" but I see Emerson said
it first - in May 1849. ]
The mundane truth seems to be that Sir Francis’ mob at Medmenham were more interested in women and booze than serious blasphemy and who can blame them. The baboon story is based on a story that one was sent from India presented to the club and maybe employed in a bit of anti-religious japery. The story stuck and grew. The baboon dressed as the devil story was invented by an Irishman called Charles Johnstone who included it in a work of fiction called Chrysal written in the 1760’s. Ashe states in his book that “Johnstone’s version of the baboon yarn has been solemnly repeated as if it really happened.”James Whitehead said:The Reader's Digest volume of Folklore, Myths & Legends of
Great Britain, 1973 has it that Dashwood produced a baboon
at one of the services and the members stampeded in terror,
believing it to be the Devil.
Actually I think in a way there is a connection here. Both stories use the image of a primate to illustrate the alleged ignorance of people in the past. In one it is interpreted as the devil, in the other as a French sailor or some variant of that theme. Monkeys appeared in art and literature as well as menageries well before the 1700’s so certainly the rich, educated and in some cases well-travelled members of Dashwood's club would have known what one was even if they hadn’t seen one in the flesh. I find it difficult to believe that the people of Hartlepool, which may have been a port since Roman times, would have been so unfamiliar with foreigners that they could mistake a monkey for one. These stories may say more about later attitudes to people in the past than they actually do about those people.lucydru said:As someone who knows the monkey hanging myth well I see no real similarities