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May 22nd 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq

22nd 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


May 22nd/15

My own dear One

I was so delighted to hear from you this morning especially as I had decided in my own mind that I should not hear from you again until Sunday morning, reckoning that you had counted on my getting news from your Mother's letter on Friday.  I am awfully glad you did write, darling, as news second hand, although better than none at all, is not nearly the same thing as hearing from you myself.

I had an amusing letter from Barbara this morning, telling of her search for George and her failure to find him.  I enclose it for you to read as it is the way she has expressed herself that is so amusing.  I should spoil it if I tried to tell you.

Yesterday afternoon I cycled over to see Eva Gaukroger.  She was so delighted to have someone to see her that I stayed until half past seven.  Her children are simply perfect - I helped to undress them and put them to bed, and to my surprise and joy, the youngest, nearly nine months old, was just as good with me as he was with his mother.  I was so happy helping her that I could hardly tear myself away.  She talked to me quite confidentially about her husband to whom she seems very devoted.  He seems to be an awfully nice man with very high ideals about marriage and how he wishes his children to be brought up.  She said to me that the greatest happiness she could wish me would be that you and I may be as happy as they have been and are.  She also said she hoped I was not one of the new types of women whose houses do not contain a nursery, but "there" she added in her brusque, frank way, "I can see in your eyes that you are not, they tell me all sorts of things as you sit there with Bobbie in your arms."

Since the separation allowance has been increased she gets a guinea a week including allowance for the two boys, but early in the war before Bobbie was born she only got 8s/6d and 1s/2d for little Jim.  I believe they almost starved, at least she did.  Even now she lives on what Jim does and never has any meat.  Isn't she a plucky little woman?   Her father-in-law, who was on the Stock Exchange, died the other day worth over £79,000.  She showed me his will in the paper.  His money is to be divided among his seven children, but even then they have a tidy sum each, but none of the money can be touched for a year after the war ceases.  However the knowledge that her children are provided for is a great comfort to her, for if her husband comes home seriously disabled they will have enough to keep in in comfort for the rest of his days.

Kathleen came home last night.  She and I are going to play tennis presently.

Did I tell you that Government have given permission for 50 of the Inland Revenue men to volunteer?  In one day, they got 600 offers for those 50.  Jack sent his name in but is hardly expecting to be accepted as there are many younger men than he and stronger.  He does not think he could stand the infantry marches, so will try for the RGA if he is accepted.

Bar tells in her letter of the death of sons of two friends of ours - but you will read this for yourself, I forgot I am sending you the letter.

You ask me if I feel better after my stay at Tunbridge Wells.  Yes, darling, I do, very much better, and the others tell me I have more colour (I shall have to start dieting soon, I'm getting so fat!).

May had one of her sick headaches last night, so her irritability of the morning is accounted for.  She seems almost quite well again today.

The Wilkins’ boys and others who have not volunteered are getting very agitated by the posters in the village.  "Compulsion is coming."  I heard an officer in the crowd at that recruiting meeting on Sunday say that the conscripts may have to wear the discarded uniforms of the volunteer armies.

I am feeling very lazy and think it is high time I was back at my work.  Having written yesterday there is not much news to give you but somehow I feel I must write to my dear funny old thing.

Have you any news of Dr Baker?  Do you know if he is still at the Front?

Bye-bye for the present.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Just at this point Mr Bowden suddenly turned up.  He's just come down to see his crops which he says are splendid.  His firm have been sending tubes of a certain kind of stimulant to the front which if the soldiers inhale at the earliest moment of the gas appearing helps the system to combat against asphyxiaton.  Now, however, the firm have received a telegram to the effect that these tubes are no longer required as the new respirators are quite satisfactory so the Germans won't get much result from their efforts.

The paper has just come.  I see Hope has a daughter born yesterday.  I must write to her some time today.  I wish it had been a boy.

Best love, dear old man.

From your ever devoted


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