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October 28th 1914 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq

28th October 1914
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, The Nurses' Home, The General Hospital, Birmingham
Correspondence To
Cyril E Sladden Esq, The Officers' Mess, 9th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment, Bhurtpore Barracks, Tidworth, near Andover
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Nurses’ House
The General Hospital

Oct 28th 1914

My Darling

This letter, I hope, will come as surprise. This is my half day and having been out I am now writing a few letters before retiring to an early sleep, which I am able to do without turning up to supper, as May sent me a hamper of eatables yesterday, so I can sup off some of them and then snooze as soon as I feel inclined.

I am not really over-tired but I might just as well take rest when I can, especially as these next few days will not see me at my strongest. I spent 1/- this afternoon for a seat at the Repertory Theatre, in the balcony which is a very comfortable one, having the same kind of seats as the dress circle. The play was quite a good one, though not by a well known playwright, it was called ‘A New Way to pay Debts’, and there were one or two very good pieces of acting in it. The setting was Shakespearian and the dresses also of the same date. I quite enjoyed my little outing.

I am missing some fun in our ward this evening as the men are having a farewell concert.

We had quite a scare yesterday. Matron received a telegram telling her to prepare to receive 200 more wounded Belgians. Of course we have not accommodation for that amount. However we made what preparation we could, only to find it was a false alarm and that the telegram ought to have gone to Bournebrooke.

Sister Wood of our ward was sent for to go and interpret at Bournebrooke as she speaks both French and Flemish fluently.

I am so glad you have been able to persuade your men to be inoculated, or rather the large majority of them. It speaks well for your powers of persuasion and shows you know how to handle the men.

I am doing a little more advanced work than I did at first and am hoping to get on even a little further as Sister is beginning to realise I know something about “dressings”. She was dressing a hand this morning and I asked her a leading question about it which I saw took her by surprise - and she said something to the effect that I knew more than I was allowed to show at present or else I would not have put that question to her. But I must be patient and bide my time.

Some of the men dressers here do the dressings in the most haphazard fashion. I wonder that the wounds ever heal! Don’t repeat this is as it is against nursing etiquette to give your own hospital away.

Sister invited her nurses to tea with her yesterday as she had a hamper sent her. The men all get up now in the afternoons so we were able to slack it for half an hour and have tea in one of the small empty side wards. Wasn’t it ripping of her? We had Scotch cake and honey and Bilberry jam and cream. It felt like a midnight feast at school! The Staff Nurse in our ward is awfully decent to me both on and off duty. She asked me to have a chat with her in her room last night and I find she is very musical, really musical, I mean she likes classical music. She has more in her than the majority of the nurses here and reminds me very much of Maud Wall, in face and in character. She has the same direct manner and mode of speech and I should say is very sincere. Her name is Buchanan.

Another nurse I’ve come across at intervals, who seem to have something in her is a Nurse Hewitson, very plain and unattractive looking, but she has travelled a good deal and is interesting to talk to. So many of the nurses talk about ‘nothing’ and laugh inanely at ‘nothing’ until I could smack them!

When I commenced this, it was intended to be a short letter, hence only writing on one side – fearfully extravagant!

Do you think you could arrange to get a day’s leave in November or December and let me know a little beforehand so that I can plan to get a “day off” if possible the same day and run over to Badsey. I could catch a train as early as 7.30 if there is one running then and I need not be in until 10p.m. – or even later if I got a special permit?

Well – my darling Boy – I must to bed and rest. I’d give anything to have you here to say goodnight to. I’m happy here but having known greater happiness nothing else can ever be quite the same. There is a sort of conservatory place here for the nurses to sit in or receive their friends with lovely ferns in. I often wish you were sitting there with me.

With best love my own dear, dear One.

Ever your devoted

Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 2 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Imperial War Museum
Record Office Reference