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May 29th 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq

29th 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

May 29th/15

My own dear Cyril

Having finished making up caps and strings etc and finding there is half an hour or more before I need go to bed, I am starting my Sunday letter tonight.

Mrs Ryland came over for tennis after tea; we had some jolly games although none of us played very brilliantly!  The garden attracted Mrs Ryland to such an extent that she kept gazing at it instead of the balls!  It is certainly looking very lovely.  In the front the flowering shrubs are at their best and the May and chestnut in Mustoe’s orchard are a sight for the gods.  The laburnums and lilacs are in perfection this year.  Indeed everything is – as though nature was trying to make up to us a little bit for this cruel war, reminding us that a “thing of beauty is a joy for ever, its loveliness increases, it will never fade into nothingness but remain, a Bower full of sweet dreams and pleasant breathings.”  The little garden by the summer house discloses new beauties every day – since I wrote you about it before, other flowers have opened, Italian poppies, Austrian briars, blue cultivated wild geraniums, a kind of white thistle blower, and others.  The pink and red roses are out on the back of the barn, reminding me of my visit here just about 2 years ago when I came for the weekend from Almondsbury.

Yesterday I went for a walk through the fields to Wickhamford and I wondered when I had seen them before at just about the same time of year.  It was that June morning 2 years ago when we went to the 8 o’clock celebration at Wickhamford.  Little did we dream then, darling, that we had all this pain and parting before us!  I read in the papers today that if a soldier or an officer is dangerously ill in a base hospital in France, one relative is allowed to go and see him by obtaining a permit from the War Office.  In a limited number of cases, if the relative is poor, the Government will pay travelling expenses.  This put the idea into my head that if you were very ill, that I should like you to send for me.  I would get to you somehow, I think they’d want me as a relative as far as getting a permit was concerned and I know enough French to get along all right.  Mother would meet me and see me into the train and all that sort of thing and I feel sure Uncle Harry would pay my expenses if he knew you were really ill.  It is horrid to contemplate that you even will be so ill that you would send for me, but it will comfort me very much if you will promise me before you go that if it lies in your power you will send for me if you are dangerously ill or very badly wounded.

Supposing you were in hospital at Rouen or Boulogne it would be a fairly simple matter to get to you.  I am also going to give you Mother’s address in case you were even anywhere near her and she could go and see you as she did George, even if you were at Havre or another train journey she would look you up even if you were only slightly wounded and she could tell me how you were.  Her address is:

Villa Badhui, St Martin-lez-Boulogne, Boulogne-s-mer

Telegrams reach a day late as they are posted on from the General Post Office.  Please put this address in your notebook and don’t forget.

Miss Holmes came over to watch the tennis towards the end of the evening.  She has heard that her brother was missing between the dates April 22nd and May 4th.  She has returned from Bournemouth where she went to consult her sister who is looking after her Father in a Nursing Home.  Mrs Ryland said they had expected Muriel to be away some time but she came back quite soon.  Her Father must be a most unnatural case, said he couldn’t be bothered with her, did not mind that she had broken her arm and took not the slightest notice of the news about his son.  They are not going to tell their Mother for a little while longer in the hope that he may only be missing and will be found or a prisoner.

I think I will send this letter tomorrow morning after all, if I leave it until later it does not go until Monday and that makes it Tuesday afternoon before you hear.

Goodnight, dearest.  I hope you’ll get to Sydenham tomorrow.  Ally my love.  I’d just love you to be here now for our evening hour.

Ever your devoted


I had a pc from Hope today.  Her baby girl weighs 8 lb 10 oz and Hope enquires after you; she is very fit.

PS – Sunday your letter reached this morning.  So sorry you’ve got a cold, dear.  Look after yourself, God bless you, love.

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