Mary Grant Bruce’s first published story was ‘Her Little Lad’. It portrays the struggle of a young family dealing with the isolation of living in a remote rural setting:
The lustrous sunlight flashed upon the brightly scoured tins on the mantelpiece, and lost itself in the heart of the flames which leapt and glowed in the great bush hearth. And it fell, too, upon the pretty upturned face of the woman who stood by the table, with her hands on the shoulders of the tall bronzed bushman, while at her feet was a little lad, whose attention was closely concentrated on the lash of the long whip that leaned against the table.
“Well, it’s time I was off, Norah,” the man was saying, in the quiet drawl of the bushman born, as his gaze wandered from her face to the busy little fingers that played with the lash. Her quick low voice betrayed a different nationality, as she made answer, more to the unspoken question in his eyes than to the uttered words.
“Yis dear,” she said; “it’s gone five tin minutes ago; an’ it’s not worryin’ yersilf ye’ll be, Jim, ould man, for we’ll be as right as rain, me lad an’ I. What’s to come to us out here? An’ if anything did come, there’s ould Tray to warn us—an’ yez didn’t tache me to use the gun for nothin’.” . . .
First Published in: Christmas 1898
First publication: The Leader
Place First Published: Melbourne
The Trustee of The Mary Grant Bruce Family Trust owns the extant copyrights to Mary Grant Bruce’s short stories.