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May 21st 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq

21st May 1915
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, Seward House, Badsey, in the Garden
Correspondence To
Cyril E Sladden Esq, 9th Worcesters, Officers' Mess, Blackdown Camp, near Farnborough
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Seward House, Badsey

In the Garden

May 21st 1915

My own dear Cyril

Your Mother gave me your message, namely that you sent me your best love.  I told her I did not think it was quite “proper” of you; I think you ought to realize now that you are 25 years old that it is not customary to send more than “kind regards” or in very exceptional cases “very kindest regards” to your girl friends!  However, your Mother begged to differ from me, she evidently does not count me as one of your girl friends.  I saw it was no use arguing the point; it would only have made matters worse, so I let the subject drop until I could seize a fitting opportunity to gently but firmly point out this serious breach of etiquette to you yourself!  I am sure, dear, now that I have mentioned it to you, you can clearly see how thoughtless you were!!!  Oh, shut up, Mela, and don’t talk “through your chapeau”! (à la Punch).

I have been dying to know the name of the play you went to see the other night.  You never even mentioned it in your letter.  Was it a good piece or a farce or what?

I am writing this in the garden which is looking very nice and in good order.  I am sitting by the summer house on the lawn, facing slightly to the left so that I can see the little flower garden by the summer house where we have so often walked and where one moonlight night you took me in your arms and told me you were happiest holding me to you under the open sky.  I’ve never forgotten that moment, how near we seemed to each other in soul.  Yes, we have many memories, darling to remain with us, and whatever the future may have of trial or sorrow, the past will be ever present with us.

I’ll tell you what flowers are out.  There are pansies, purple and yellow in abundance, dark red bachelor buttons, a kind of double anemone, pink fuschias and at the left corner of the summer house, light and dark mauve rock plants.  The rockery by the dining room window is also looking very pretty.

I walked in to Evesham yesterday and on my way home went in to see Muriel at the Nursing Home at Bengeworth.  Her arm has been very painful but she looked well in spite of it.  She told me that even the last time she saw Dr Leslie before her operation she could not persuade him to examine it properly, then at last she told him that a nurse friend of hers had told her that her arm was not normal and that she (myself) could feel a piece of loose bone at the back of the elbow.  Then he examined it properly and said it had better be X-rayed, and he found as I had said that a piece of the bone near the socket had been broken off, and that was preventing the lower arm from joining the upper in the socket.  He wrote her a letter of apology afterwards and has done the operation as moderately as he can, only charging her £3.13.6, £2 for his fee, £1 for the anaesthetist and 13/6 for the X-ray, but besides this it is costing her 4 guineas a week in the Nursing Home.  Isn’t it back luck for her?  She is going to Miss Randall’s to convalesce before returning to Mrs Ashwin.  Mrs Henderson is staying with the latter.

We had rather a funny breakfast this morning.  I got down punctually which set May off about Ethel being so unpunctual, just as she was saying this Ethel walks in, punctual for a wonder and then they went at each other hammer and tongs.  May even implied that I was not always as punctual as I might be.  However I did not defend myself beyond saying that I was generally punctual unless I was ill, and then she climbed down and said I was pretty good on the whole.  She grumbled because she said she always does everything but when we offer to get her lunch for her or pour out the coffee she won’t let us!  However I expect she will be in a better mood when she comes back, especially as Kath is coming down tonight to stay until Tuesday.  Jack comes down tomorrow, they will both be able to stay until Tuesday night.

Your Father heard from Arthur today.  He is awfully busy and very disturbed because England is so slow to wake up to the fact that the Army is so short of munitions; he hopes for a Coalition Ministry.

There was no news of Hope before I left Beverley.  Your Mother says that the date is always uncertain with the first child, either for a fortnight before or after.  The home people say that Peggie and Hope are very brazen.  What do they mean?  They cannot help it, can they?  There is so much about all this that I cannot understand, and never shall I suppose until I am married.  Why do people talk as if it is rather “forward” of people to have a child after only 9 or 10 months of wedded life?  Everyone says, oh, they’ve not lost much time – personally I cannot see how it is that with normal people that anything different can be expected.  It is all very puzzling, don’t you think?  The more one thinks of it the more tied up one gets.

There is a rumour that all the Vicarage servants are leaving, nurse and all!

Have you read, “Malice in Kulturland”?  It is a very good skit.  Anna Gillio sent it to your Father.  It is most awfully amusing.  If I can get a copy I’ll send you one to read and then you can return it to me because you won’t want to carry it about with you.  It would not do for it to fall into the hands of the Huns!

Best love, dear Sweetheart.  It would be very nice if we could go to the Early Service together on Whit Sunday – we will in spirit although not in body.  God bless you and have you in His keeping.

Ever your affectionately devoted


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