Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Oh Victorians, you so funny!

At the moment I am deep in editing hell. 

And I've also turned to some source materials for this book -- a historical -- just to make sure I don't completely flub the details. Like giving my cowboy an iPod or something. Would have made life in the saddle a lot more bearable, that's for sure. 

Anyway, I swear I was only going to read the chapter on gunshots, but god. God, I just couldn't stop. Here, for your edification, are some things I learned from the Student's Hand-Book of Forensic Medicine and Medical Police. 1883

1. Chimney sweeps are prone to cancer of the testicles. 

My thoughts: WHY? Also, I will never be able to watch the dancing chimney sweeps in Mary Poppins without thinking, "Oh, those poor, sad men." 

Tragic. Just tragic. 
2. Hysteria is almost unheard of in men. 

My thoughts: I'll kill you all as soon as I can get out of this straightjacket.  

3. In Scotland, carnal knowledge of a girl under twelve is considered rape whether or not the girl consents. In England, the carnal knowledge of a child under ten is a felony, between ten and twelve a misdemeanour, and over twelve the girl may give her consent. 

My thoughts: There appears to be no law against the rape of men or boys, or at least none mentioned in this book. In a medical/legal book I was quite surprised to find no mention of it. I mean, consenting or not, sodomy was a crime. And surely doctors must have been called in on occasion to examine defendants or victims. 

4. There is a legal and medical distinction between idiocy, cretinism, and imbecility. 

My thoughts: Can we make these legal terms again, and can I offer some nominations? 

5. Mental disorders may be defined as either intellectual mania or moral mania. 

My thoughts: I appear to be guilty of many of the moral ones.

6. Men of literature die younger because they are intemperate and keep strange hours. 

My thoughts: There appear to be no women of literature. 

7. People dying of strychnine poisoning can feel their seizures coming, and often cry out to be saved. 

My thoughts: Well, of course you would. 

8. It is illegal to offer to rent a cellar for occupancy unless the ceilings are at least 7 feet high. 

My thoughts: The tall Victorian gentleman must have felt very claustrophobic. And that's before you factor in the height of his top hat. 

I love old books so much. 

Also, I think that if time travel is ever invented, I'd better not go to Victorian England. What with all my moral manias and hysteria, I'd be thrown in an asylum within a week.


  1. If you should ever go to Victorian England, the world as we know it would warp into something entirely different. The mind boggles at the thought. :-)

    1. I can only imagine that my crazy ideas on women's suffrage, marriage equality, and atheism would at first confuse them, then drive them into madness.



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