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February 8th 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq

8th February 1915
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, The Nurses' Home, The General Hospital, Birmingham
Correspondence To
Cyril E Sladden Esq, 9th Worcesters, billeted at The Vicarage, Basing, Basingstoke
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

The Nurses’ Home,

The General Hospital, Birmingham


Feb 8th 1915


My dear Sweetheart,


I was delighted to receive your long letter this morning giving me an account of your surroundings. The description of your luxurious room made me envious and I sighed for the joys of beautiful surroundings!


The little daughter of the household sounds a perfect little darling from your description and I am afraid, instead of thinking of my work this morning my thoughts were wondering far, far into the future when perhaps some day, God willing ….. but I’ll leave you to guess the rest for it would be spoilt by putting it down in cold black and white.


I was hoping my letter would reach you on Sunday but I expect it was posted too late. My letters are poor things these days – but I generally feel a poor thing when writing them.


When I came off duty today I was in such a bad temper and for no reason as all worth mentioning, so I said to myself “the best thing you can do, Miss Crown Bunstable, is to get into mufti and go for a brisk walk, then perhaps you’ll be in a fit mood to write a fairly presentable letter to that long-suffering subaltern of Basingstoke”!


So off I went, taking the little Mother’s watch with me for the second time to search for the shop at which she wishes it to be mended, but which I have not yet been able to find. It is awfully difficult not to miss seeing it, the streets are so dark.


Cecil is in England. He wired me yesterday that he would be at Beverly until Friday night and asked me to either go and stay there or else meet him in London. Unfortunately, and to my great grief, both plans are not feasible, not only because I cannot get away but as I only possess one penny, how I was going to get to him!


It is awfully tiresome of Aunt Jessie to delay in sending my allowance, it is now eight days late. I have written and reminded her but have had no reply as yet. The sole of the shoes I use in the theatre came right off the other day, through getting sodden and I have been very inconvenienced not being able to have them mended as we are only allowed to wear a certain type of shoe, that is Oxford walking shoes, with thick soles and rubber heels. My other pair are most uncomfortable so I was reduced to wearing my slippers which are too thin for wet stone floors.


Then the tooth I broke ought to be seen to but I am not going to have it done until I have some money. One pound a month is little enough to manage on and when I cannot rely on it coming, I am placed in a hopeless position.


Really, I feel tonight as though I could give up trying to earn my own living or rather getting myself taught a profession, and simply make my people keep me.


Nobody cares what happens to me or whether I am dead or alive and the harder I work the less they think of me. Every other girl, or boy for that matter, in the family is properly looked after and here am I, the eldest and by no means the strongest, have just to rub along on £12 a year and that I have to drag out of Auntie before I get it. I am just heartily sick of life and wish the Germans would drop a bomb somewhere near.


However, there is no reason why you should bear the brunt of other people’s misdeeds. If I grumbled to them they would only say it was my own fault for taking up nursing voluntarily, but Auntie forgets she sanctioned it and offered to help me.


I think I’d better stop before I say anything more that I may be sorry for after.


So Goodnight, dear Heart. I’ll try and write you a decent letter tomorrow night. I feel too heartily sick of life tonight to do anything but grumble.


All my love, dearest - and forgive

Your tiresome old


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