Skip to main content

May 16th 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq

16th May 1915
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, Beverly, Frant Road, Tunbridge Wells
Correspondence To
Cyril E Sladden Esq, 9th Worcesters, Officers' Mess, Blackdown Camp, near Farnborough
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Beverly, Frant Road

Tunbridge Wells

May 16th 1915

My own dear One

I found your letter awaiting me on my return from the Early Service, and very glad indeed I was to get it as I was just aching for you, and wondering if you were thinking of this time last week.  Aunt Mamie came over yesterday and spent the night, she came to church too.  It is about 16 years since I saw her.  She is very jolly and kind-hearted and has such beautifully brown hair, so much of it that she can only pile it up on the top of her head.  Perhaps Dora and I are going over to Mayfield to her little house tomorrow afternoon.  Uncle Harry was looking so much better yesterday but I feel rather annoyed because Auntie kept him up talking about moving house until 12.30 last night, and he looks so tired and bothered today.  I cannot understand people being so thoughtless, only thinking of themselves.  I can hear him coughing now and he hasn’t coughed for several days until now.

Dora and I played tennis yesterday, although I really had no business to do so, but I couldn’t resist it.  We had three quite good sets.  Dora plays averagely well but has had no practice this year.  She was showing me her bridesmaid’s dress which after all was never worn for Hope’s wedding. She wants to be bridesmaid to me and wear the same frock, it is very charming and the style would suit Betty and Barbara very well.  I think they would make three nice bridesmaids, don’t you?  I should love to be married at Badsey but I suppose it would not be the correct thing to do.

I am very glad, darling, that you hope circumstances will be kind and favour us soon.  I don’t think it is the war that is making us impatient, it is the fact that we both feel the same about it now, whereas a few months back I was fairly content to wait.  Now, I only want to do so because I feel that it would come hard on you at present, to have a wife to support, you have enough to do to look after yourself.  But as far as feelings go, I’d come to you tomorrow, wholly and absolutely yours.

Before you realized that I was feeling like you, you were content to wait, because unconsciously you knew that I was not absolutely ready – if you can understand what I mean – I was yet to be won.  Now, as you told me last Sunday, I am a woman, you’ve wooed and won me, therefore it is natural you should be impatient.  I shall be very glad, dear Heart, to marry you, even if our income is to be very small, as soon as you want me after you come home from the front.  I shall not mind even doing without a regular servant, and we must place our furnishing in such a way that a great deal of labour will not be necessary.  It seems absurd for us to wear each other out waiting and waiting, longer and longer, when really, with a certain amount of economy and sacrifice of a few comforts, we could be very, very happy.  As far as I am concerned, a crust of bread and you would be infinitely better than a palace without you.

I cannot write a longer letter now, Sweetheart as I must make myself pleasant to Auntie etc.  It won’t be long before I write again.  I shall be going home on Wednesday.

Muriel Holmes had an operation performed on her arm yesterday.  When I used to massage it for her I used to feel a little piece of loose bone, and I told her the arm was not normal, also telling her of the bone, and I begged her to show it to Dr Leslie.  She did so, and he X-rayed it and discovered that a small piece of bone had been broken off and that it would be necessary to wire it to the part from which it was broken.  I’ve seen this wiring process done, and should not like to have to have it done.  However the arm will mend much quicker than if it were just put up in splints.

Bye-bye, for the present, all my heart’s love is yours – I wish you were here.

Ever your devoted


I made a mistake, Colonel Manley is in command of the Yorkshire Light Infantry.

I thought you wouldn’t mind if I added a few lines this evening before posting this.  There was a big recruiting meeting held on the Common this afternoon - Dora and I went to it.  The bands of the Liverpool Scottish and the Lancashires played and there were some excellent speeches by the General commanding the division down here, a Captain Duncan Campbell of the Black Watch and others.  Captain Campbell had his arm in splints, he is home on sick leave.  The speeches would have roused the very stones I should have thought, but the only result was one recruit, a lad of seventeen – Dora and I simply boiled with indignation.  A large number of men came in a body with badges on their arms showing they had good reasons for not enlisting – but apart from these there were ever so many men of 19 and over who looked likely enough to be able to join.

On the way up to the meeting we saw groups of men and boys sitting on seats, without even the energy to attend the meeting.  The Women’s Volunteer Corps was there in full strength, and I believe if they had appealed to the women to enlist, if such a thing were possible, they would have had at least a hundred recruits.  Don’t you think so?

Aunt Mamie has just given me a message for you – to tell you how very sorry she is not to have met you.  Uncle Harry told her he liked your Father so much.  (Of course, there is no need for me to tell you that he disliked you as much as he liked your Father!  May I be forgiven!!!)

It is nearly post time so I must really stop although I just love rambling on to you.  It is awfully sad how people shun Uncle H now – relatives more than friends – it makes me so angry.  Even Aunt M is awfully frightened and does not want the children to come here.  The doctor says he may meet people and have people to stay here, so that he cannot be bad and I think it is most unkind of his relatives for whom he has done so much.

Goodnight, darling, God bless you.  Think of the happy time when goodnight, in the sense we use it now, will be erased from our dictionary.

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