The Victorian era was a dandy old time; society lived in fear of their dead relatives and also in fear of the mysterious scientific advances great minds were discovering. But some of the best literature was crafted during these years and the most infamous crimes ripped through Victorian London, still to the obsession of many vigilante investigators today.
Chances are if you were a Victorian, you weren’t one of the brilliant minds that conducted scientific experiments in the dead of night or one of the greatest disturbed writers to live, or even one of the world’s most prolific serial killers, but you were one of the ordinary people just working to put bread on the table. That’s OK – but you really want to know what you were don’t you? Take this very specific test to find out what occupation you would have as a Victorian.
You are walking down the cobbles of the busy high street and see an old man begging for coins. What do you think of him?
A – Is that a lump of the cranium? Perhaps scarlet fever… His pasty complexion? Perhaps cholera…
B – Spit as you skulk by. You can’t stand men like him – he should be in work, whatever that work is. Sure, you hate your job but at least you’re not a burden on society
C – You throw in a coin, even though you have very little in your pocket. In fact you have very little money at all, but we all have to work together during this Industrial Revolution
D – You don’t even see the beggar as you stroll by and twist your elegant moustache, your head is always high because you are a member of high society
E – Grip your petticoat about you tightly, Heaven knows that man is a thief as well and a woman of your stature must always be alert
You see that there is a new exhibition in the waxwork museum showcasing the infamous Ripper who has London in a terror grip. What do you do?
A – Of course professional curiosity gets the better of you and you must see the victims, after all it’s just research
B – You will probably go to it, there’s very little entertainment you can actually afford, and you’ve finally got some time off work
C – You shake your head in sorrow for those poor souls he murdered. For them now to be used for public viewing makes your stomach turn. Why does London insist on glamourizing this monster?
D – You will go with your lady friend so that you can catch her when she falls faint, as the high society gentleman you are
E – You bring your silk handkerchief to your lips in utter shock, for you are also a young(ish) beautiful woman who may, at any time, be grabbed in the night by a man’s calloused hands. You march away with the stature and expression of a woman with a solid pole up her rectum
The travelling menagerie has rolled into the market square. Lions yawn out behind bars and the mountainous body of a dead elephant is on display, the only one to ever be seen in public. How do you react?
A – You run your hand over its leathery skin and wonder how similar its organs would be to yours. Perhaps you can take a piece before it starts to rot?
B – Taking a swig from the bottle hidden in your jacket, you feel indifferent to the once mighty animal laying before you. You imagine where it lived before, or whether it had always lived in the menagerie. You move on, the thought of a trapped animal makes you feel itchy
C – You take off your hat. It reminds you of the morning you found Old Bessy in the barn, still beautiful as she always had been but now stiff and cool. You love animals, you feel that people don’t think about them as much as you do, your animals are part of the family
D – It reminds you of the voyage on the Orient when you saw men ride camels under the blistering sun. The irony that a creature meant to be free is still gawped at after death isn’t lost on you, but then again, it’s just an elephant
E – The breath catches in your withered birdcage of a chest. This is an omen. You think about your neighbour Beatrice, a monumental mass of a woman, and you bow your head in respect. Her end is near
A child is caught beneath the wheels of a carriage. People in the street cry out in horror at the tangled cloths and hair. You are standing near this incident. Do you help?
A – Of course! You have your medical kit with you at all times and you rush over to see her. You pull her from the wheels and start to stem the bleeding from her head. You secretly hope she won’t survive, you’re in need of specimens to study on
B – You stand frozen. Last week a little girl got caught in a machine and the bundle of cloths and hair makes you shaky. You leave the scene and go to the nearby public house for a strong drink. At least it was quick for her
C – You cry and rush over desperate to help. You don’t know what to do but you pray for her as another man pulls from under the wheels. She is only a little girl, around the same age as your twins. God can be the cruellest
D – This is an incident for a physician not a gentleman of high society. You comfort an attractive woman with a homely bosom and give her your tailored handkerchief
E – Death is all around you, it seems that it is closing in. You hold your breath and rush away from the scene, you must go to your manor and pray that death doesn’t follow you
It’s a gloomy Sunday night and the streets are quiet. What are you doing?
A – You are at the cemetery with your two henchmen. A new week, new specimens are needed for study. You removed a man’s leg yesterday to save him from an agonising gangrenous death, but when the man awoke he was more aghast than before. You removed the wrong leg. You’ve been instructed to study on gangrene but corpses for study are limited. Unless you come here that is
B – You are shivering under a course blanket trying to sleep for work early in the morning. Some nights you hope you won’t ever wake up to avoid going to the factory, but maybe something good will happen this week. Maybe you’ll meet a nice girl who won’t die of cholera by the year’s end
C – You kiss your children’s heads and settle down beside your wife in bed. All the animals are warm and fed and, although the weather is getting colder and it will be another rough winter, you feel loved
D – You are at the train platform finishing your duties. You check your moustache in a mirror and shudder in the night air. A married woman with a fur coat is eying you from the other end of the platform. Duty calls
E – Sitting in front of your great hearth in the padded armchair that belonged to your last husband, you are reading a ghastly tale of a black feathered demon. The clock ticks ominously and the manor seems to loom over you. Tonight, your dreams will be choking and full of omens
The Freaks have come to town! The Bearded Lady, the World’s Strongest Man and the Amazing Mermaid grin from brightly coloured posters in the high street. Do you go to it?
A – This is one of those rare opportunities to witness the marvel of God’s miracles. Yes, they are freaks, but they are also amazing specimens that men only get to infrequently in their lives
B – You are relieved by the new distraction. Your friend Roger is a freak since his hand got trapped in one of the machines at work, but you need events like these to get you through your boring life. You’d wonder whether you could run away with the circus if somehow you could disfigure yourself
C – You would never marvel at those poor souls. God created everybody in his image, so you believe, and everyone deserves to live in peace. You shake your head and get back to buying food from the market
D – You have a new lady friend to impress, she would adore this. You buy tickets for it immediately after seeing the posters, hoping the ghastly spectacle will awaken the deranged animal in her
E – A woman like you should not be near people like this. After a fretful night dreaming of floating coffins, you are shaken and weary, and the grinning face of a half-boy half-fish is probably bringing on a nervous rash
What Type of Victorian Are You?
A Terrible, Terrible Surgeon
Your mother said you could be anything you wanted, so you aspired to be a surgeon. Unfortunately, you are the worst and you’ve probably put your patients in greater distress than they were to begin with. Nurses nickname you ‘The Blunderer’ because you can’t tell gangrene from acne, or an infected spot to a plagued boil. At least you mean well.
Bitter Textile Mill Worker
You’ve had a hard life, son, and the future doesn’t look much easier. You hate your job, maybe it’s the monotony of the machines or the constant threat of limb mangling, but one day you might find yourself free… on The Blunderer’s slab.
A family man who puts everyone else first, your farm has come close to ruin but it’s been passed down your heritage and you are determined to keep it living. Your love of animals may be strange to some, even questionable, particularly that night your wife found you half-naked in the barn with Old Bessy panting in hot steams… You just keep being you and your farm may stand the test of time. Probably not your marriage though.
High Society Railway Worker
A man of dignity, you have very high standards of society that are rarely met. You have always had a vivacious interest in women ever since glimpsing Aunt Edna’s elbow at your Great Grandfather’s funeral. Your occupation means you travel to exotic places and see extraordinary things, but savour it – the typhoid is coming.
It’s a wonder how you have outlived all seven of your husbands, the source of your strength must be your wealth and your smothering superstitions. You may continue to decay in your sprawling manor, but chances are you will find yourself indulging in the shock therapies at the local asylum. Either way, it’s best that you stay away from the surgeon on Barber Street, there’s always something off about the way his eye twitches when he sees you.
Share with your friends so you can be miserable together!