Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Voyage of Arabella, by Ellen Douglas Deland

While scanning the contents conveniently located on the front cover of this Arthur's Home Magazine of October 1891, I noticed an item called the Voyage of Arabella, which piqued my interest.  A true sailing story perhaps!  Well, it wasn't quite what I thought, but it was fun to read and had a Maine twist at the end.

And it wasn't quite as patronizing as many other children's stories of the day.

Ellen Douglas Deland was born 3 September 1860 at Mahopac Lake, New York, the daughter of Thorndike and Elizabeth (Rawle) Deland.  Her paternal grandparents were Thorndike and Mehitable (Batchelder).  Her maternal grandparents were Samuel Burge Rawle and wife Ann (Waln) Rawle.  She died at Dedham, Massachusetts on 22 February 1923, apparently never having married.


ARABELLA ATKINS was her name,
and Dover was her dwelling.
The things she hated most in life
Were geography and spelling.
She fell asleep with a book in her hand
And dreamed she was on the ocean,
Bobbing about in sight of land
With a curious kind of motion

The land she saw was the Sandwich Isles,
They were made of home-made bread,
With slices of ham laid in between -
Very good, the inhabitants said.
Then Arabella Atkins sailed away
Till she came to the coast of Japan,
Where she felt a breeze that made her sneeze,
For every one carried a fan.

And all she saw as she walked the streets
Were Japanese fans and umbrellas,
So she sailed across to the opposite shore,
And called on the Chinese fellows.
The people there all seemed to be cracked -
For china, you know, is fragile - 
And they all ate rice and hunted mice
In a manner amazingly agile.

Arabella Atkins skipped along
On the top of the Chinese wall
Till she came on a sign which read,
But she couldn't peek in at all,
For a voice she knew, in tones severe,
Said, "Bound the State of Maine."
No longer in China, poor Arabella woke,
And sighed, "I'm at home again."
     -Harper's Young People


  1. She had a sister Mary Rawle Williams (Mrs. J. Randall Williams), on Montgomery Ave., Haverford, PA.

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Scott! If you notice a mistake, please let me know so I can correct it.