Travel to Egypt in the early 1800s was long, boring, and unhygienic, and to add insult to injury, a heroine was forced to pack light—after all, it would be impractical to try to haul trunks around in the Valley of the Kings.
So a heroine had to be judicious in her choice of packables. Here are five essentials:
1. A hatpin. The quintessential weapon for a young woman who suddenly has unexpected suitors—some old enough to be her father—even though no one ever paid the slightest attention to her in the past. Because the aforesaid suitors are very aggressive in their attentions, an occasional jab with a hatpin will remind them to keep their hands to themselves.
2. Sturdier shoes. Satin slippers may be fetching, but when a heroine is scrambling on hands and knees to escape from an ancient tomb, they are worse than useless.
3. A veil. A veil is helpful when the local natives believe—for reasons that are unclear—that a heroine is the reincarnation of an ancient Egyptian princess. And it keeps the sun off one’s face, too, which is important when one is trying to stay one step ahead of the various factions from Napoleon’s last war.
4. A cooperative chaperone. An unmarried heroine necessarily needs a chaperone, but when there is a handsome and mysterious gentleman who keeps turning up to thwart the occasional kidnap plot, it is very helpful if the chaperone knows that she should make herself scarce on occasion.
5. The missing strongbox. Since everyone seems to believe that one knows the whereabouts of a missing strongbox—even though in truth, she has no idea—it would be enormously helpful if one could lay hands on the stupid thing and turn it over with no further ado. Hopefully, this would put an end to all this unholy pursuit—except for the mysterious gentleman, of course, who may pursue to his heart’s content.
In short, travel to Egypt would be many times more enjoyable without having to face danger at every turn so that one could devote more time to convincing the hero that a bachelor’s lot is inferior to other options available.
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