Victorian amusements were - wild. Pleasure Gardens with 'dark walks' for courting couples and daredevil feats performed by fearless performers like tightrope walkers and hot air balloon ascents. The latter often featured unfortunate creatures thrown from the basket as they glided high above the spectators - from cats to dogs to - monkeys. They had makeshift parachutes which failed regularly. When one monkey (parachute intact) wafted into the garden of the ancestor of our expert in Victorian Culture it laid the foundation for an illuminating and whimsical story.