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November 8th 1914 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq

8th November 1914
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, Seward House, Badsey
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

Seward House

Nov 8th 1914


Here I am sitting by the drawing room fire writing to you instead of perhaps sitting on your knee talking to you. I do not need to tell you that there is no comparison between the two occupations and I leave you to guess which one I prefer.

But when I look at Mary sitting the opposite side of the fireplace and think how much harder her lot is than mine then I pull myself together and call myself an ungrateful wretch, for at any rate you are still safe in England.

Mary looks well, in spite of a heavy cold, and she has been hearing from Arthur Every day which helps to keep up her spirits.

Mrs Ashwin is very proud of her grandson Malcolm Henderson, who has been made a Captain, was mentioned in despatches and has been presented with the decoration of the French Legion of Honour for conspicuous gallantry in the field. He has been wounded again – this time in the knee and was invalided home and expected to join his people tomorrow but now the knee has contracted and he has to stay in hospital to have his leg pulled straight and put into plaster of Paris.

Muriel Holmes’ brother is wondering why you have never looked him up at Bulworth, he wants you to do so. He has been ill with bronchitis. I imagine it is easier for you being an officer to look him up than it is for him to look you up.

It is a great rest getting away for a night. The fact I got away for a night caused a great deal of jealousy amongst the nurses and some of them said horrid things. But I don’t mind. I smiled sweetly at them and said “I hope you’ll get the same stroke of luck another time”! They say a soft answer turneth away wrath, certainly it shuts up busy tattlers quicker than anything else.

This room reminds me vividly of you and I simply long for you to be here to be able to look into your eyes and see written there all that I am longing to know. You’ve got such tell-tale eyes and I can read much in them that is going on in the soul behind them.

Mary thinks I think she is reading a novel, as a matter of fact she has not turned over a page and she is gazing into the fire seeing pictures and dreaming dreams.

I simply cannot trust myself to think too long about the “might have beens”, it unnerves me altogether.

It is lovely to be in the country and my eyes simply feasted on the landscape as I left Birmingham behind – the autumn tints and the setting sun made a gorgeous picture, especially after Birmingham chimneys and soot.

I find the plenum system of heating the hospital very trying and can understand why you used to look so white when you were working at the Science College.

Some nurses have to leave on account of it and if any one has a tendency to lung trouble it soon brings it on, as the air although pure is not fresh and invigorating.

Matron herself does not like the system and much prefers open windows and ordinary air.

My foot is quite well again. The fact that I was allowed to look after it seemed to annoy some of the Senior Nurses very much! They are a queer lot, some of them!

Your Mother is very well and cheerful. She is sorry though you could not get leave but we know you did your best to get it.

Your Father continues to take a great interest in the war – his hair looks whiter than when I saw him last.

May has very kindly made me some cakes to take back with me and lent me a small spirit stove and your Mother has given me some chocolate for drinking purposes and a jar of jam, so I feel well set up. It is like going back to school.

Ethel is still away.

I hear George has to wax his moustache now!

Has yours reached these proportions?!

All my fondest love, Sweetheart, come and see me at Birmingham as soon as you can. A Long Sunday or half day wouldn’t be bad. May is going to try and give me an introduction to some people at Birmingham in the hope that they will some day allow us to meet at their house.

God bless you, dear.

Ever your own


PS - When am I going to have a photo of you in uniform?

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