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February 1st 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq

1st February 1915
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, The Nurses' Home, The General Hospital, Birmingham
Correspondence To
Cyril E Sladden Esq, 9th Worcesters, billeted at Briardene, Cliddesden Road, Basingstoke
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

The Nurses’ Home,

The General Hospital, Birmingham


Feb 1st 1915


My dear Sweetheart


Yesterday seems like part of a beautiful dream – especially as we have had the longest theatre day in my short experience – so having done so much since we parted it seems ages. The two days are such contrasts too. Sunday so full of joy and sweet content – today so full of strenuous work and the witnessing of suffering.


Mr Barling was a perfect little fiend today with us all in spite of the fact that he could not really find anything to complain of! He was so cranky that the House men assisting him were dying with laughter – luckily for them they wore masks!


We worked steadily on until past two without a break - and phoned to have our dinners kept hot.


After dinner, about 2.30, we simply did not know where to begin – three theatres to clean in which everything seemed to have been used. Mr Haslam unexpectedly followed Mr Barling – he is the awful splasher as I think I told you and leaves the theatre like a river! I got off about 5.25 but the poor staff nurses I left still busy in Theatre I preparing and mending rubber gloves for tomorrow – while in Theatre II the night nurses were well on the way with their first operation having started at five.


I am not going to write much tonight dear as I ought to go out for a walk. I put my feet up for a bit on my bed after tea and stupidly went off to sleep and so the evening has nearly gone by.


Thank you so much darling, for coming down to Badsey. I hope you too enjoyed your visit. It was like a glimpse of Heaven to me to have you for those few hours.


In the theatre one is apt to get all one’s ideas of love knocked a bit out of shape and I find myself in danger of losing my ‘ideal’ of it as it were.


One sees such extraordinary cases that one cannot keep them influencing one’s mind and one begins to get cynical and worldly minded very easily. It is rather difficult to explain what I mean on paper but doubtless you will be able to grasp my meaning – which is, really, to sum it up, we have so much to do with the bodily life that we are apt to forget that men and women have souls too.


The operations in the women’s theatre always make me sad, for as a rule they would never have been necessary had they remained single and it seems so hard that they should have to suffer for no fault of their own.


You can realize how all this sort of thing preys on my mind and how necessary it is that I should not allow it to do so.


A happy time such as I’ve just had is the best antidote and I came back re-assured that “God is still in his Heaven” and therefore it is “all right with the world”.


Goodnight, my darling, may God always have you in his Merciful Keeping and bring you back safe to me some day.


All my Love from

Your own loving



PS – One of the chief reasons that I wish to be a good and capable nurse is that supposing you were crippled in any way through this war, able to work perhaps yet needing care, that I should be able to be the one to give you that care. I might even be able to earn after we are married if it were necessary by taking patients as guests or something like that and so help to keep our home going should you be unable to earn very much. But I feel that God in His Infinite Mercy will spare you but even so I shall find all this experience useful.


Goodnight once more Beloved.

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