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March 2nd 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq

2nd March 1915
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, The Nurses' Home, The General Hospital, Birmingham
Correspondence To
Cyril E Sladden Esq, 9th Worcesters, Officers' Mess, Blackdown Camp, near Farnborough
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

 The Nurses’ Home

The General Hospital, Birmingham


March 2nd 1915


My dear Sweetheart


I am going to begin this letter by making it a continuation of the scribble I wrote away on the top of the Lickey Hills.


After I had an excellent lunch with coffee to follow for the moderate sum of 1/3 I went for a climb. On the summit of the hill I went up is a dear little Church, the Church of Holy Trinity, Lickey, and as I entered the churchyard my eye caught the words in gold letters on a board “This is God’s acre”. From that point I could see a view between two hills of wooded country. I entered the Church and read on the notices that there would be a children’s service at 3.30pm – so I returned to attend it after going a little further on my rambles.


Do you know that that simple children’s service has been of more help to me than any service has been, except the Holy Communion, since I left Blackheath. The Vicar used a blackboard on which he wrote his text and principal points, so that if the children’s attention wandered as soon as their eyes alighted on the board they were reminded of the subject of the sermon.


The subject was “Work for God”, suggested by the fact that it was the Sunday for new choir boys to be admitted, and at the close of the service the new boys were admitted by standing at the alter steps and the Vicar robing them in their surplices at the same time giving them a little address reminding them that the white robe is an emblem of purity and that it is worn because St. John saw the Heavenly Choir arrayed in white robes. It was a beautiful sight to see how much in earnest those boys were.


In his sermon the Vicar told us how that work for God must be done for nothing, in other words for love of Him. To bring the subject home to the children the Vicar asked them to name different people in the Parish who were doing work for God for nothing. The children were all so interested and I’ve never seen a service of this kind conducted better.


The whole tone of this simple sermon has raised my estimation of my work here and I’ve worked better since because I am trying to be cheerful and do it in the spirit that work for God should be done.


After service I made my way back to Pinehurst for tea. It is such a nice place for tea, just an ordinary dining room with a roaring fire which you can sit by as long as you like. I sat there and read until the 5.30 bus went.


I went to bed about 7.30 – thoroughly happy and sleepy after my restful day.


Thank you so much for your letter, dear, which reached me this morning. You mustn’t rouse my curiosity by telling me you think you’ve seen Nurse Sampson before! After having kept her photo so long you go and make matters worse by intimating that you’ve met before! Never mind I’ll pay you out some day, just wait until we meet again, I’ll give you the biggest hug and a kiss you have ever had before Y O U  F U N N Y  O L D  T H I N G.


I heard from Cecil last night. He was scribbling a few lines just before his regiment returned to the trenches. He is strangely modest about his commission, he says he is getting over the bashful feeling he had at first. He used to be very shy as a boy and it seems he has not outgrown his boyish bashfulness. He mentions that he was photographed in uniform before leaving and that Uncle Harry will send me a copy. I am so looking forward to having it. He seemed very sorry not to have been able to get to Birmingham, but says “with luck” he will be having leave again in 3 months’ time.


This makes me hope that when you go to the Front you too will get leave every 3 months or so.


Congratulations on your appointment as a machine gun officer – although I read the news with mixed feelings – anything to do with a gun makes one think of shot and shell more closely – but I imagine machine guns shoot long distances, don’t they?


One of the “Home” maids here recognized me the other day, although I do not recollect her face. She was a little girl in the Sunday School at Wribbenhall, Bewdley, when Father was working there. She said she knew me the first time she saw me 5 months ago but did not like to say anything.


I met Matron just now and she stopped me to enquire after you and Arthur. She calls Arthur “Mr Sladden” and you “your Mr Sladden”. I wrote to the little Mother last night – she is so pleased about next September.


I went to the dentist again yesterday, he finished filling that tooth and found 3 others which require filling and so put a dressing in 2 of them. He advises me while nursing to have my teeth constantly attended to as he says all nurses have trouble with their teeth, on account of the many micro-organisms with which they come in contact. I told him I dreaded ever having to have false ones and he said there was no reason why I should have to have them for many years to come as the roots are strong, so long as I take care of them.


Goodnight, darling, I must go out for a blow, now. We have had a terrific day, never ceasing operating until the night nurses appeared except for 20 mins for dinner, and then at 4.30. we had all the clearing up to do while the night nurses took on the next cases.


All my heart’s love, dear Boy, God bless and keep you.


Ever your devoted


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