Edith Ballinger Price

Edith Ballinger Price

To the Ocean

“She strode along in terrific steps, her hat over her eyes and her hands in the pockets of the reefer. It did not take much walking to leave Resthaven behind, and very soon the gray cobbled streets gave way to beaten footpaths over rolling fields all dun-colored with matted, frost-hard grass, where dead burrs plucked at the passers-by and shivering arms of silver bay-bushes crackled against them. But up from the water, where the light was beginning to spread slate-color onto blue, ran a biting, bracing salt wind, and the Ingrams ran, too, laughing and swinging their arms as they raced each other over the knobby meadows to the bare, surf-drenched rocks of Bluff Point.

“It was at the very corner where bay met sea, and the long Atlantic rollers flung themselves here, cold, cold and white-lipped under the February sky. Great gray waves leaped and shouted and thundered and tore masses of shuddering seaweed from the rocks to fling them back and forth in the swirl of foam. Jane was ecstatic and in her element. Standing upon a rock perilously near the spray=clouds that flew about, she proceeded to indulge silently, but with wild gesticulations, in a form of play-acting which she secretly carried on at times. At this moment it was, of course, the Fortune of the Indies caught off the Horn. The sheets were frozen; the decks were a glare of ice; the main royal was slatting itself to pieces on the yard, and half-frozen men, clutching at slippery jacks, were trying desperately to furl it.”

— From The Fortune of the Indies (1922) by Edith Ballinger Price (1897-1997), who illustrated the book as well as writing it. In addition to her writing, Price was instrumental in starting the Brownie Scouts program, wrote its first handbook, and was the “Great Brown Owl” of the organization from 1925 to 1932. This novel, about a lost ship and a family’s lost fortune, is great fun, has some beautiful writing, and is unjustly forgotten. I stumbled upon it while looking for references to a tea house in Shanghai, and my search was rewarded far beyond my expectations.

Price 1923

Edith Ballinger Price, circa 1923

Dump Gleanings


Our local dump has a “swap shop” where occasional treasures can be found; here are some gleanings from this morning’s trip.


From Ruth Fielding in Alaska, or The Girl Miners of Snow Mountain (1926). And below, the frontispiece from Honey Bunch: Her First Trip in an Airplane (1931) by Helen Louise Thorndyke.