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November 17th 1914 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq

17th November 1914
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, The Nurses' Home, The General Hospital, Birmingham
Correspondence To
Cyril E Sladden Esq, The Officers' Mess, Bhurtpore Barracks, Tidworth, near Andover
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

The Nurses’ Home
The General Hospital

Nov 17th 1914

My darling Sweetheart

I have just finished writing to Aunt Jessie and to Margery Slater’s friend, Mrs Jarvis who lives at Kings Heath. We are trying to arrange a meeting and as I am getting a half day on Friday I have written and told her. I wish you could come and call on her with me?! I shall be free from 2 until 10.p.m.

I have written to Aunt Jessie just to show her I am still alive. I hope she won’t forget to send me the allowance she promised me; she has a memory like a sieve but if she forgets, it makes it jolly difficult for me as I draw no salary here. I haven't actually said anything about it in my letter but perhaps the fact of hearing from me will remind her.

A new probationer, who has been here a fortnight is very anxious to be friends with me. She has had previous nursing experience and in many ways I like her but she is a puzzle. She is a niece of Dr. Sandys or Sanders a Science man at Christ Church. Do you know him!

Her name is Saunders and she is a quaint mixture of Puritanism and High Churchism.

The part that puzzles me is that she has come here without a penny in her pocket. Her guardian is Vicar of St Alban’s, Birmingham but she won’t ask him to keep her although she cannot pay for her uniform.

Her Father is in the Indian Army but has not been heard of for years and her Mother lives at Oxford.

I’ve lent her stamps and odd pence but it seems she borrows from me to pay back someone else. She asked me to lend her a blouse the other day as she had no clean ones and yet I saw her go out in a blouse other than the one I lent her!

She is a religious minded girl and spends a good part of her life in Church. She took me yesterday to see St Alban’s and I was rather impressed to see a soldier in uniform kneeling waiting for his confession to be heard.

After this long description of her, what is your opinion of her character?

Do you think she is genuine?

Before I knew she had no money I asked her to buy me some stamps and gave her 6d to get them. She brought me 5 and said she absentmindedly stuck the 6th on her own letter but that she would return it to me. Quite believing her I said “oh – don’t bother about it”, and the next day she told me she had not a penny in the world. I cannot make her out. She is a lady by birth and a well bred girl so I am loathe to think she is not absolutely ‘straightforward’ and we have much in common.

Let me know what you think I’d better do and whether it is advisable to pursue the friendship further.

She gave out she is an orphan but now says her Mother lives at Oxford.

She came from the Birmingham Midland Eye Hospital and has also had training elsewhere. I shall be sorry if she is not genuine but on some points she seems a puzzle.

It seems an age since I was at Badsey and it is only 10 days ago!

Fancy England being without Lord Roberts; I hope England will remember his appeal for national service.

It is tea-time so I must close.

With fondest love, dear Heart, and a kiss. Write soon again.

Ever your loving

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