Modern suitcases have nothing on Victorian trunks. When Jane Eyre leaves for Lowood, Bessie bakes her a little cake and helps her pack a trunk, no doubt something simple, oak and sturdy. We imagine Jane uses the same trunk when she goes as governess to Thornfield Hall, and perhaps even when she is about to embark, with misplaced optimism, on her wedding tour.
Emma Bovary, thinking she is going to run away with her lover, the dashing nobleman Rudolphe, orders a brand new trunk–on credit of course! She makes sure to get some new traveling clothes, too: a blue-grey cloak in a burnoosh style, and a jacket with “pagoda sleeves.” She wishes the trunk to be small but lined; it was no doubt meant to be exquisite:
Considering that Rudolphe never shows up to take Emma away, instead sending his regrets in a large basket of apricots, and that Jane Eyre doesn’t gets her dream honeymoon, either, maybe trunks ARE ill-fated things. We all can learn a lesson from Heidi’s Aunt Dete who, when she takes Heidi up the Alps to her grandfather, puts all the child’s clothes on her back at once, so there is no need to buy a suitcase:
“On a clear sunny morning in June two figures might be seen climbing the narrow mountain path; one, a tall strong-looking girl, the other a child whom she was leading by the hand, and whose little checks were so aglow with heat that the crimson color could be seen even through the dark, sunburnt skin. And this was hardly to be wondered at, for in spite of the hot June sun the child was clothed as if to keep off the bitterest frost. She did not look more than five years old, if as much, but what her natural figure was like, it would have been hard to say, for she had apparently two, if not three dresses, one above the other, and over these a thick red woollen shawl wound round about her, so that the little body presented a shapeless appearance, as, with its small feet shod in thick, nailed mountain-shoes, it slowly and laboriously plodded its way up in the heat.”
But if the layered look doesn’t work for you, you can always invest in a vintage Samsonite, or two. Wherever you go, and whatever you pack in to get there, happy travels!