This anthology, which was published almost 40 years after Mary Grant Bruce died, stands in contrast to all her other books, as it contains stories that were not written expressly for children.
The Peculiar Honeymoon
The title story, which was first published in Blackwood’s Magazine in April 1940, is about Mary Grant Bruce’s own honeymoon. She married Major George Evans Bruce in Melbourne in 1914. George was born at Miltown Castle, County Cork, Ireland in 1867, the son of Jonathan Bruce. George was educated at Trinity College Dublin and Sandhurst, and was commissioned into the British Army’s Norfolk Regiment in 1888, with which he served in India and the North-West Frontier, and the Andaman Islands. He rode with the 5th Mounted Infantry in South Africa from 1904–07, and was second-in-command of the 2nd Southern Nigeria Regiment in 1908–11, during which time he served with distinction in the Ogwashi-Oku campaign, later being awarded the Nigeria Medal.
George resigned his commission to marry and settle down with Mary, and had agreed to live in Traralgon, Victoria so that they could help look after her parents in their old age. But whilst on their honeymoon in Mt Eliza, World War I intervened when George saw a newspaper entry recalling all British Reserve Officers overseas to report themselves without delay at the War Office, Whitehall, London. “By Jove, that’s me”, he said, and that was that. “Well!” said Mary, plaintively, “they might have let me get these sweaters washed!” A peculiar honeymoon, indeed.
George Bruce was commissioned into the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and was initially stationed in his homeland of Ireland with Mary, after which the Bruces, now blessed with two small sons, Jonathan and Patrick, were posted to Wales and then to England. They returned to Australia on the troopship Nestor in early 1919, which coincidentally was the same vessel that had taken them over in 1914. In later life, George developed his skills as a writer and authored four published children’s novels: Tom in the Andamans, The Lion’s Son, Red Devil and The Rainbow of Saba, as well as many short stories and articles. His book-length serial, The Leopard Ju-Ju, which is partly biographical but mainly dramatic adventure, ran in The Argus newspaper in Melbourne in April-June 1926.
The other stories in this anthology are:
The High Sheriff’s Table How I Became a Writer
Port after Stormie Seas The Amateur Woman Worker
A Rider of the Sixties Overtime for Wives
Smoke in January Her Just Necessities
Brittany Holiday Her Household Gods
Bess Daughters of Today
Old Brann’s Mare Bush Babies
Circumstantial Evidence Women Wanted
The Hammock Camping Out in Australia
The original works in this book are under copyright owned by the Mary Grant Bruce Family Trust, which also shares copyright in collection with Prudence McKay.
Anthology Published in: 1986
Publisher: McPhee Gribble Publishers
Place Published: Melbourne