‘Read until you hear the voices’; so the maxim goes for those who would engage with the Victorians. Let us try with Thomas Henry Huxley:

A great chapter in the history of the world is written in the chalk. Few passages in the history of man can be supported by such an overwhelming mass of direct and indirect evidence as that which testifies to the truth of the fragment of the history of the globe, which I hope to enable you to read, with your own eyes, tonight. Let me add, that few chapters of human history have a more profound significance for ourselves. I weigh my words well when I assert, that the man who should know the true history of the bit of chalk which every carpenter carries about in his breeches-pocket, though ignorant of all other history, is likely, if he will think his knowledge out to its ultimate results, to have a truer, and therefore a better, conception of this wonderful universe, and man’s relation to it, than the most learned student who is deep-read in the records of humanity and ignorant of those of Nature. 1