Category Archives: adultery

Relation sexuelle fatale considérée comme un accident de travail

Adulterer’s death in the saddle during work trip classed as industrial accident

A French court has ruled that a man on a business trip died of an accident du travail when he died of a heart attack during sexual intercourse with a woman not his wife: his firm must continue to pay his wife 80% of his pay until his retirement age, whereafter it should continue to contribute to his pension.

Dalrymple comments:

I suppose the reasoning was as follows. If he had not been sent on the trip in the first place, he would not have had the sexual encounter and therefore not the heart attack from which he died. No doubt some expert could be found to claim that cardiac arrest was more common in such circumstances than in others (Félix Faure died in 1899 in the Elysée Palace during sexual activity). Therefore, the company was responsible.

Félix Faure: the excitement of being fellated by his mistress in the Élysée in 1899 led to cardiac arrest and death

Coarseness and vulgarity of thought and of language

‘It sets upon a pedestal promiscuous and adulterous intercourse’: Mervyn Griffith-Jones

Dalrymple writes that in R v Penguin Books Ltd, the prosecutor, Mervyn Griffith-Jones,

seemed not to have noticed that society had changed since his upper-class youth.

Griffith-Jones

opened the case with such pomposity that he became a figure of fun ever afterwards,

and is remembered only for what he said in his opening remarks to the jury:

It does tend…to induce lustful thoughts. It sets upon a pedestal promiscuous and adulterous intercourse. It commends…sensuality almost as a virtue. It encourages…coarseness and vulgarity of thought and of language…It must tend to deprave…One of the ways in which you can test this book, and test it from the most liberal outlook, is to ask yourselves the question, when you have read it through, would you approve of your young sons, young daughters—because girls can read as well as boys—reading this book? Is it a book you would have lying around in your own house? Is it a book you would even wish your wife and servants to read?

The court erupted in laughter, Dalrymple reminds us, and

later, after the not guilty verdict, in a debate in the House of Lords on an unsuccessful motion to strengthen the law of obscenity, one of the noble Lords was reported to have replied to the question of whether he would mind if his daughter read Lady Chatterley’s Lover that he wouldn’t mind in the least, but he would mind very much if his gamekeeper read it.

Sleeping with the boss’s wife

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 07.39.09Dalrymple enjoys Patrick McGrath’s Dr Haggard’s Disease (1993), set in the 1930s, which, he says, is

a depiction of loss and failure, so much more interesting than that of unbroken success, and more frequently encountered.

In the novel, a professionally incompetent registrar at a London teaching hospital has an affair with the chief pathologist’s wife. When the cuckold finds out,

he strikes him across the face at the head of the hospital stairs, down which he falls and breaks his hip.

He remains in traction for three months. A nail is inserted into his femur, after which he is sacked. The adulteress abandons him.

He has lost everything, and knows that he will never recover. Nothing remains to him but general practice in a dispiriting seaside town on the south coast, where the old go to die.

He becomes a morphine addict.