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March 28th 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq

28th 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

28th March 1915

My own dear Cyril

I was awfully pleased to get your "understanding" letter late last night. Sammy and I had been bandaging, then she very kindly volunteered to go down and see if there were any letters, and to meet me in the basement cellar where we have to go to get our laundry. She was highly tickled when I danced a war dance round the cellar looking a madcap in déshabille with my hair down - when she handed me my letter. She thinks I am an awful baby!

I got up for the 8 o'clock celebration this morning. One of the nurses, who has been off duty with a septic finger, fainted right away just as we were going to communicate; Sister Hobday and I carried her out. She was a dead weight so must have been quite unconscious. After breakfast I was most energetic and turned out my bedroom and then dressed leisurely for church, so leisurely that it was 10.55 before I realised I must hurry or else be late for service. I went to the Cathedral. We had a very nice service, the singing is always good. The sermon was very naturally on the events of Holy Week and interested me because the views expressed in it were some which have occurred to me, in relation to the war and its consequent suffering being typical of the Cross, and how we each, individually, and as a nation have our Gethsemane hours when we have to resign ourselves to the Father's will. The preacher pointed out that the hour of victory is when we reach the point of being resigned to God's will - that is the real victory. The victory of the mind over the body, the spirit over the flesh.

Since dinner I have been sitting in the nurses' sitting room trying to write - there has been a nurse chatting to me most of the time, who is on the sick list and full of all her ailments, otherwise I quite like her, so my letter has not progressed at its usual rate. My room was very cold or else I much prefer sitting in it - one hears so much gossip in the sitting room and it is sometimes difficult to avoid being dragged into it.

It is good to know, Sweetheart, that we can write so freely and naturally to each other - it shows that there will be few difficulties to overcome when we are married - I cannot keep thinking that we are rather an unusual engaged couple to be so intimate after only two years, but I believe it is best to be natural from the beginning, keeping nothing back. So many misunderstandings are avoided, don't you agree with me?


and I are going for a bus ride after tea, as far as we can go in the time out towards the Lickey Hills. I'd like you to meet Sammy some day, not that there is anything particularly attractive about her on the surface, but she is just the most genuine little soul you can meet, and that I know will go for a lot in your estimation, she is very good to me. Evans is a nice girl too but has not as much character as Sammy, but I am sure you would like them both. In choosing my friends the thought is generally present with me, "is she the sort of girl Cyril would like, or would like me to be friendly with?" I don't mean to infer that we shall always like the same people, but it is instinctive for me to have that idea at the back of my mind.

The House Men have been very uproarious the last few days - elections have been going on - since Mr Nearling? resigned each Honorary has gone up one step, thus leaving a vacancy. An old Resident and Mr Sauspson, the present RSO put up for the vacancy and the latter won. We theatre nurses admire him as a surgeon but dislike him personally. The House Men however are fond of him and were very elated at his success and carried him on their shoulders round the hospital and had a fine old bean-oh in the evening and looked rather the worse for wear the next day.

I should have loved to have seen Kitchener review his 100,000 men, and it must have been grand to take part in it. I hope, dear, you were not very tired after it all. Isn't it nice to feel we are back again to the same delightful comradeship. I hate it when we are at cross-purposes but it is worth it to "have it out" for when we arrive at an understanding we seem to be even nearer and dearer to each other than we were before.

I haven't heard from Cecil just lately. Have you heard if there has been any news of George?

I must have a little snooze before tea now. Thank you, dear, for you nice letter - you are really wonderful the way you have so soon grasped a subject that is difficult for a man to understand. You will keep me all you can, I am sure, and it is a relief to my mind to know I can depend on you to understand so that I don't have to bother to fabricate and pretend when all the time I am feeling just the opposite.

With much love, dear heart
From your ever affectionate

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