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February 6th 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq

6th 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 6th 1915


My own dear Cyril


I am commencing this letter at the exact moment my train reached Badsey this day last week. What a lovely fresh evening that was and how I seemed to walk on air, knowing we were soon to meet. Although I did not know how soon! What a thrill of exquisite joy I experienced when you took me to your heart and how I had to summon all my self-control to my aid to refrain from asking you to stroll round the garden first before taking me in to see the others.


I wanted to see them too but it would be delightful some day for us to meet and be absolutely alone without fear of interruption when we first greet each other.


So here is the end of another week, the busiest I’ve had, although today we’ve done cleaning chiefly. The theatres look lovely, every wall spotless, every bit of glass and brass polished and instruments cleaned, everything smelling so clean and fresh – that is reward enough in itself for all our labour.


Finding the sitting room vacant of giggling and gossiping nurses, and after having changed into mufti, I went in there and rested on the couch with a book by Maud Diver and feel refreshed now but am not going out as it is a horrid wet evening – I shall go out tomorrow to go to Evensong.


My cough has practically disappeared and I am feeling fairly fit on the whole, thanks to your Mother’s kind care of me.


I hear that my “day off” after next is to be changed so as to have Easter Sunday, as Sister wants to go away that week from Thursday to Tuesday and my Sunday off is always the same as hers.


That will be rather nice for me, won’t it dear? And if you are still in England and are given leave for Easter perhaps we could meet again. However it is miles too soon to arrange anything so I’ll not build castles in the air.

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At this point Nurse Sampson came in to discuss a very interesting case that we had in the Theatre the other day so my letter must of necessity be cut short. I am rather glad to have had the talk as I had been making my own deductions about the case just from my own observations and I find I was correct.


It was a “laparotomy” which is really an exploration of the abdomen, but the Surgeon had a great surprise as his diagnosis was wide of the mark. For some things I’d like to tell you all about it but I suppose Mother Grundy would not think it quite the thing.


The patient was a nurse from another hospital and came in for query appendicitis but I think although the Surgeon did not know what was wrong he did not really think she had appendicitis only he had to call it by some name. I think myself that it was her age which put him off the scent as it were, as she is only 28 and one rarely sees this operation performed except on women of 48 or 50. I know you’d be awfully interested if I could discuss it with you but I suppose it is hardly proper to discuss “insides” with people outside hospital – especially of the opposite sex.


I’m afraid you’ll find me getting hopelessly improper, hospital tends to make one careless, but we, nurses, get accustomed to these things and simply talk about them naturally and an outsider would be shocked in consequence, and we forget when talking to “lay” people as it were, that they may not quite approve.


You must tell me when I shock you very badly!


I must go to supper now dear. God bless you. Oh for a goodnight such as we had on Saturday last.


I am so looking forward to hearing from you in the morning.


All my love from

Your own little


Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 3 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Imperial War Museum
Record Office Reference