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May 5th 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq

5th May 1915
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, Seward House, Badsey
Correspondence To
Cyril E Sladden Esq, 9th Worcesters, Officers' Mess, Blackdown Camp, near Farnborough
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Seward House, Badsey

5th May 1915

My own Sweetheart

What a lovely surprise your letter contained this morning - I never expected anything at all, dear, after the nice present you gave me the other day. The brooch is perfectly sweet, and quite my style. I don't like every kind of brooch, I never like obtrusive ones which almost rise up and hit you when their owner approaches! Everyone admires this one, it is so dainty. Thank you ever so much for it. I will treasure it highly and ought not to lose it even in hospital, now that I have a jewel case in which to lock it up. You're really rather naughty the way you spoil me! Not that I mind, it is an awfully nice feeling to be remembered by you on these occasions so dear to both of us.

I have felt very happy all day today and have been quite gay. Mrs Ashwin asked me to lunch and Muriel and I played tennis afterwards. Muriel's left arm is still rather stiff, so after we had finished playing I massaged it for 20 minutes. I am going to do so for the next three days, twice a day.

I saw the death of a friend of ours in the paper today killed in action. His sister is my Godfather’s wife. My Godfather is Mr Deedes who was vicar of Hampstead and knew the Bowdens and, at the time I was there, he was archdeacon of All Saints Cathedral, Allahabad. Father worked under him as a deacon. Major Broadhurst’s people were great friends of mother and father and his mother now lives at Bournemouth. She used to ask me to supper on Sunday nights when I was nursing in Bournemouth.

I quite follow the trend of all you write on the subject brought up by one of my letters. The part that seems so difficult to understand is that even though God has given us free will, why should the actions of one man be allowed to affect the rest of mankind to what at first sight must be to his detriment. I know that very often out of evil comes good, but while the evil is going on it is hard to see God's hand working behind it. Having given us free will, it would be against His scheme to prevent us using it - but I do think He works that in the end we shall learn so much from our wrong doing which we have perpetrated ourselves, that we turn to Him afresh for guidance.

When one looks at this war from a broad standpoint taking oneself as part of a whole, the mystery is not so difficult to understand, but it become "past understanding" when looked at from an individual standpoint. The right and unselfish way is the first mentioned, it is in selfish, egotistical moments that one thinks from the second standpoint.

Suppose that one is thinking form this second point of view it seems natural to ask "why should I have to suffer?" The answer from your argument is" because one man's evil doing affect all his fellow men". Logically this seems to answer the question but it brings no consolation - logic will often content a man where it will not a woman. I think this is one of the fundamental differences between the sexes. I can follow your reasoning but it does not take away the idea that it is possible to understand the mind of God. I know that the greatest good in all departments of life comes through suffering, it is bought with a price, but I never have been able to grasp why it should have to be bought with a price. Because Adam sinned why should we have to suffer, logically, scientifically, physically I can follow the reason, but having arrived at it, I find no consolation, and still think God's ways are "past understanding", and the only way I can get any help, is by praying for more faith to trust Him, hoping that some day I shall know even as I am known". Now I see "trough a glass darkly, but there face to face".

There is not much more time now before the post goes. We were just about making our way to that little Italian restaurant for dinner, two years ago. You were a most uncomplimentary lover! I remember you told me I had a "funny face"! We must dine at the restaurant again some day.

Mr Sladden heard from George today. He seems to have got on very well with Mother. He said they had quite a feast at tea time with the eatables she brought him and he was glad to see some flowers in his room, it brightened things up a bit.

It will be lovely if you can get away on Sunday - if you haven't much time would you like me to meet you half way, we could go for a tramp together, which would be better than nothing. You could wire me early on Sunday if you foresee rather a heavy day before you. I would even meet you in Guildford if nothing else were possible.

Goodnight, dear Heart, God bless and have you in His keeping. Perhaps this time next year you will be back from the Front and all will be well. I must close or else lose the post.

All my heart's love and a big kiss (the rest are reserved for a young man of my acquaintance who I may meet on Sunday!)

Ever your devoted

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