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June 17th 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq

17th June 1915
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, Sisters' Quarters, University House, Edgbaston Park Road, Birmingham
Correspondence To
Cyril E Sladden Esq, 9th Worcesters, Officers' Mess, Blackdown Camp, near Farnborough
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Sisters’ Quarters, University House



June 17th 1915


My own dear Cyril


It was very nice to receive two letters from you today. I am sure I am very glad you are still in England – you can stop as long as you like!


I am very gay and giddy these days, Sister Wanchope took me out to tea at Kungles this afternoon and I dined out last night. I spent a really delightful evening at the Chaplain’s house yesterday. When we arrived, Nurse Rose (who is an old friend of theirs) and I sat under the shade of an old cedar tree and watched the Chaplain and his wife play tennis against the curate and a Miss Blyther. The curate was rather a nice type of curate, a Welshman, quiet but with a sense of humour. He left before dinner to take a service but turned up again after, when we all sitting out in the garden after a nice little dinner.


They’ve got two darling kiddies, a boy of three and the dearest little girl of one. We saw them being put to bed and heard the little boy say his prayers. His mother said the first time she taught him to say “Please God make me a good boy” he added “That will be a good idea”!


They’ve asked me to turn up to see them whenever I like and to play tennis. We enjoyed being motored back from Shirley where they live. They have a charming Vicarage, not too large; a tennis court, flower garden, kitchen garden and orchard, all very compact and well planned. They do all the gardening themselves. Isn’t that nice?


You ask me to explain what I mean by signing on for a year.


You see my year will be up in 3 months, then the question arises am I going to remain on. Miss Musson said if I would sign for a definite time I could cut these three months and start from the date I came. The option is given us of signing for 6 months or a year, and I think I shall sign for 6 months if I can and then if necessary I can sign on again for the longer period. It is no use me giving it up at the end of the original year, namely Oct. 1st; if the war is still going on I shall still require to be doing something. If you come home and take on your post at the Science College you could keep yourself and I could try and get a job in London temporarily so that we could see each other sometimes. Nurses will be required long after the war has stopped to nurse officers who have been severely wounded or had a long illness. There are heaps of things I could do.


There is another idea I have too, to take up a 3 months course of midwifery to add to my other training qualifications.


Ladies by birth get very good fees if they take up this branch of nursing as rich people and the aristocracy like to employ them. There is a nurse here who gets 6 guineas a week and she only took a short course of training. She is well connected herself and so has the entrée to all the best houses. If she is taken on by the month she gets 25 guineas for the month and all expenses paid. If I could do this what a help it would be to us. I need not necessarily be away from home all the year round, two or three cases of 6 weeks each at different intervals would materially help towards our expenses. I am suggesting this with reference to your being in any way incapacitated and consequently pensioned. You see I am not going to let the silly old Kaiser spoil our lives for us! Then if all goes well, all the better I shall be ready for you and we’ll get married and just be ever so happy. I know you’ll be good to me and I shall try and make up to you for all the hardships you will have gone through to protect me, your King and your Country.


I’m glad you explained a certain thing to me. I should not have liked anyone else to have told me. How horrid it sounds. I’d no idea people could so defile themselves.


They must forget that their bodies are the “Temple of the Holy Ghost”. If we always keep this truth before us we shall never sink to the level of living for earthly pleasure alone.


These long months, have been and will be our time of preparation for a life of mutual love and reverence, sympathy and understanding – each living for the other.


Goodnight dear Love.


From your devoted


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