The Happy Traveller is among Mary Grant Bruce’s best books — lighthearted, amusing, with an interesting story and good characterisation. Thirteen-year-old Teddy Winter is one of the most engaging of all the boys that Mary created.
The story happens in New South Wales. It describes the many adventures of a boy who escapes from an orphanage.
“Had a breakdown?” the big man asked.
Teddy stood up.
“Yes, sir. My—my brother’s gone to Possum Creek to see if he can get someone to help him. She’s stuck.”
“H’m—I don’t fancy he’ll have much luck at the Creek,” said the big man. “There’s a garage of sorts, but the blacksmith runs it, and he’s a busy man—too busy to come out here, I should think. Do you know what’s the matter with the car?”
“Bill says she’s got indigestion and senile decay and blind staggers, sir,” stated Teddy gravely. The girl giggled, and the big man stared, and then laughed.
“Well, she looks weary,” he observed, surveying the drooping Buttercup. “I’m afraid I don’t know anything about a Ford. Where are you making for, my boy?” He looked with some interest at this dusty urchin who stood to attention when he spoke and called him “sir”—unaware that these details were part of Orphanage training.
“Bream Point, sir. But we won’t get there tonight, worse luck. Bill say’s Buttercup’ll have to be towed in.”
“Who? Oh—I see.” He laughed.
“She doesn’t look much like a buttercup,” said the little girl; and, indeed, nothing could have been less flower-like than Bill’s chariot, which had been built in the early stages of Mr Henry Ford’s industry, at a time when he had been able to rule that a buyer of his cars might choose any colour he pleased so long as it was black. Even the original black of Buttercup’s painting had long given place to a general rustiness. She looked like the battle-scarred survivor of a hundred campaigns. . .
The Trustee of The Mary Grant Bruce Family Trust owns the extant copyrights to this story.
First Published in: 1929
First Publisher: Cornstalk Publishing Company
Places First Published: London and Melbourne