An Eminent Victorian Natural Philosopher
Eigenvector Plimsoll-Line was without doubt one of those influential Victorian natural philosophers who help create what we now know as science. Without Plimsoll-Line, and those others of his ilk, the modern world would look very different indeed.
Plimsoll-Line was obsessed with measurement. It amazed him - as only an extravagantly-bearded Victorian could be amazed - that there were so many things in God’s universe that were of different sizes. Of course, theologians had long theorized about the existence of what Bishop Weeble had called ‘The Almighty’s Measuring Tape’. Weeble had calculated that this Holy measuring tape must – of course, in Victorian England – be imperial and not metric, and was probably around six feet long. Of course, there were equally-distinguished theologians who argued that God, being omnipotent would not need a measuring tape at all – he would just ‘know’ that something was the right size.
Into this intense – and on a few occasions quite violent* - theological debate stepped Eigenvector Plimsoll-Line.
As the eldest son of a member of the landed gentry, Eigenvector Plimsoll-Line, was one of the fortunate few Victorian gentlemen who could afford his own ruler. Plimsoll-Line was the proud possessor of a splendid hand-carved 12-inch wooden ruler, given to him by his uncle the famous MP and whore-botherer, Quadratic Plimsoll-Line on the day of Eigenvector’s 21st birthday.
At first, the young Eigenvector Plimsoll-Line satisfied himself with measuring those things he discovered around him in his family’s country residence. However, when he was discovered by his father, one day, measuring the relative inner thigh measurements of the scullery maids, it was felt that it was time for the young man to be sent out into the world.
It was as Plimsoll-Line was working as a naturalist aboard the Royal Navy research ship, HMS Poodle, that he made his infamous discovery that was to change the world, especially in science and theology when he took his special navy measuring tape ashore in the Isles of Langerhans and began to measure the natives of that island and discovered that some of the native women had somewhat larger breasts than others.
This revelation – once Plimsoll-Line returned to England and published his results – came as a massive shock to the Victorians, who had – taking their cue from Aristotle, and not actually bothering to check – presumed that God had made all women with the same-sized wobbly bits. The church was – of course – outraged with Plimsoll-Line and his theory was roundly condemned from the pulpit, with one Bishop scornfully saying: ‘if God had intended man to go around measuring things, then he would have made us with a measuring ruler built into our arms, would he not?’
However, once it was revealed to Victorian society that, indeed, Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others, then there was – quite simply - no going back.
*There was – of course the famous Battle of the Measuring Sticks during the English Civil War when sections of the New Model Army mutinied when Oliver Cromwell claimed that God’s measuring stick was sub-delineated into sixteenths of an inch, not the traditional eight of an inch as theological scholars up to then had assumed.
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