Skip to main content

November 22nd 1914 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq

22nd 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 22nd 1914


Your nice little letter reached me by this morning’s post. I am so glad to hear you are keeping as fit and enjoying the range shooting; you sound a very good shot only to drop 13 out of 150 points. When you tell me anything like this, I feel as proud as if I had done it myself. Some day, you must teach me how to handle a rifle, I believe Mother was quite a good shot in her young days.

I am “off” from 10 until 12.30 today – another short Sunday. I have only had one long Sunday since I have been here – it is owing to changing work and wards – just now I am an extra and extras are not given long Sundays. I am sitting quite comfortably in an easy chair in the writing room, with my feet on a chair, feeling rather tired as I got up earlier and attended Holy Communion before breakfast this morning. I very nearly did not go as I felt absolutely rotten when I got up this morning but having previously made up my mind to go I carried out the plan. We have a very nice Chapel in the hospital home – the walls are marble and there are some nice windows. I drew very near to you in spirit and prayed that the time would soon come for us to see each other again.

On my half day last week I went to tea and supper with Margery Slater’s friend Mrs Jarvis, who lives at Kings Heath. She seems a very nice girl and has not been long married and was very interested to hear of our engagement. She hopes, if you ever come to Birmingham for the day that you will let her know as she would like us to lunch with her and spend the rest of the day there. She added, with a twinkle in her eye “you may have the drawing room to yourselves, and you can depend on us not to disturb you”! They have a dear little house and some very nice furniture, we talked our heads off about furniture and houses and marriages and engagements. Mr Jarvis is an architect; he had gone up to Town on Friday to see a relative who is seriously ill so she was quite pleased to have me with her to keep her company in his absence.

I heard from Aunt Jessie but she did not send my allowance, perhaps she is waiting for the 1st of the month, although last time she sent it on the 15th. The reason I am short is that I had to get new shoes and finish paying for uniform. I also invested in a winter hat thinking my allowance would come on the 15th. Will you lend me 10/- to tide over until I have some money? I have just 1/- left and it would be very awkward to be without money here – it is extraordinary the number of things one requires here and also different things to which we are expected to subscribe.

I would ask Auntie outright for the money only that she mentions in her letter that she is paying Cecil’s tailors bill (uniform I presume) of £18, so I feel I cannot ask her just yet. She also as you know paid a draper’s bill of £5 odd for me for clothes etc. before coming here.

You remember I consulted her before taking up this work and you read her reply, which was an enthusiastic one saying she was glad I was taking up nursing and that she would provide me with pocket money every month. If I had known Cecil was costing her so much I should have hesitated to accept her offer, but Uncle Harry told me he was paying Cecil’s expenses now that he has gone to the front and that he set him up before he went.

I hope you won’t mind my asking you to help me until I am in a position to refund it to you, I hate asking you, but would rather ask you than anyone else.

Wilfred’s address is: Hilton College, Hilton, Natal, S Africa.

The subaltern in your regiment who has just become engaged, little dreams that he is not solitary and that you are engaged too!

By the way, do you know any of the Warwicks, 10th Battalions. Nurse Canning’s brother had a commission given him to see her here from Tidworth in a couple of weeks and Nurse Canning suggests you and he should call on each other if it is possible. She is going to introduce me to him so that if he ever comes across you at Tidworth he could tell you how I was looking etc.

I cannot quite place Nurse Canning but do not think she is quite a lady by birth, but she is very nice to me and a good nurse and has more life in her than the majority of the girls here who tell me I am a perfect infant for my years. They refuse to believe I am 27 next month! If you and Mr Canning do meet I shall be most anxious to see him afterwards.

Well – dear Love – I must close now and write to Barbara – it is also nearly dinner time for which I am thankful, hunger being the usual state of us all here.

All my deepest love for my darling funny Old Thing.

Ever your devoted

Has the moustache reached its full grown “stage”?

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