The Peculiar Honeymoon

The Peculiar Honeymoon anthology by Mary Grant BruceThe Peculiar Honeymoon and other writings

The Peculiar Honeymoon and other writings is an anthology.  This collection was published almost 40 years after Mary Grant Bruce died.  It stands in contrast to all her other books, as it contains a wide range of stories that were not written expressly for children.

The Peculiar Honeymoon: Marrying Major George Bruce

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’s education was at Trinity College Dublin and Sandhurst military academy.  He obtained his commission in the British Army’s Norfolk Regiment in 1888.  With it, 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.  Then he was second-in-command of the 2nd Southern Nigeria Regiment in 1908–11.  Mentioned in Dispatches for the Ogwashi-Oku campaign, he was later 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 in mid-1914, whilst on their honeymoon in Mt Eliza, Victoria, World War I intervened.  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.  Initially he was stationed in his home county of Cork, Ireland.  Mary gave birth to their sons Jonathan and Patrick while they were there.  Then the Bruces were posted to Wales, and later to England.  They returned to Australia on the troopship Nestor in early 1919.  Coincidentally, that was the same vessel that had taken them over in 1914.

Mary Wed Another Author

In later life, Major George Bruce developed his skills as a writer.  He authored four published children’s novels: Tom in the Andamans, The Lion’s Son, Red Devil and The Rainbow of Saba.  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.

Another important part of his literary legacy is in his 28 articles published by Blackwood’s Magazine.

Other Writings

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 Trustee of The Mary Grant Bruce Family Trust owns the copyrights in Mary Grant Bruce’s original works in this book.  It also shares copyright in collection with Prudence McKay.

Anthology Published in: 1986
Publisher: McPhee Gribble Publishers
Place Published: Melbourne

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