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September 26th 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Lieutenant Cyril E Sladden

26th September 1915
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, Sisters' Quarters, University House, Edgbaston Park Road, Birmingham
Correspondence To
Lieutenant Cyril E Sladden, 9th Worcesters, 39th Brigade, 13th Division, British Mediterranean Expeditionary Force
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Sisters’ Quarters, University House

Edgbaston Park Road, Birmingham


Sept 26th 1915, 12.30 am


My own dear Cyril


Once more in the silence of the night while my patients lie sleeping I take the opportunity of scribing to you.


Tonight before our first meal before we come on duty I went for half an hour’s stroll round the garden. Although it was only half past six it was almost dark, but the gloom relieved by the last rays of a dying sunset. I love sometimes to get away alone by myself – to try and compose my mind – to let my thoughts dwell with you and you alone for a short space. I tried to imagine you walking with me, your arm about my shoulders in your favourite fashion. How I longed to have you with me really, even for one short half hour. I miss you, your companionship, your love shown in hundreds of little ways, more and more as time goes on. May God preserve you and bring you back to me some day.


I can see His Hand, even in this time of sorrow, working for our final happiness. I begin to realize that I needed some trial like this to humble my spirit. You used to tell me I was too humble, sometimes, but that is not the kind of humility I mean.


I daresay you will remember many little occasions when I have failed you, just when you expected most of me. I have appeared indifferent or cold.


It was just a silly, stupid kind of pride, which would not allow me to be natural and show you how much I cared. It is the little mistakes in life which often make the most mischief, the little rift within the lute. What wouldn’t I give now to have back all those little opportunities of proving to you my love. In big ways I have never failed you, having chosen you although it meant giving up home ties to a great extent.


Things are working out right with my home people by degrees but in the mean time I have suffered in my mind more than even you know. The great difficulty all through my life has been, to love much but yet to be unable to express to those I love, all that I feel. This time of anxiety has made me realize how much I have missed in life by appearing indifferent when I am not so at all.


In these quiet hours on night duty one has time for reflection and I sometimes feel very unworthy of all your devotion when I look back and ask myself how little I have outwardly responded to it – I mean in little ways.


This is not imagination on my part but clear, sound fact. You are hardly conscious of it yourself because in your love for me, you generously overlook what seem to you trifling faults, not worth the worrying about. But I’m sure other people notice these little things, and I want to make up for anything which in the least degree has caused the very slightest cloud to your happiness.


One of the VAD nurses had a lovely surprise yesterday. Her brother, Lieutenant Hamilton, attached to the Scotch Borderers, had been wounded in Gallipoli, and had had to have his arm amputated. The last his sister had heard of him was that he had been operated on - at Alexandria, and last night he walked in here. He is now a patient, convalescent, in the Officers Ward here. Nurse Hamilton is overjoyed to see him again. He will not be able to go to the Front again which helps to console her for the fact of his having his arm amputated. He seems quite jolly about it – really the wounded men bear their burdens marvellously cheerfully.


There is a poor fellow in a ward near mine, who is blind and wounded in the arm and legs. The other men say he is always cheerful.


I shall be very glad to be on day duty again. After the long spell of theatre work I wanted to get plenty of fresh air and sunshine, but this way one gets very little. The wards of necessity cannot have all the windows open at night and get very stuffy as night goes on, and there one sleeps in the day time. Sometimes one will go out before turning in to bed but very often one is too tired.


I think, darling, when you come home and when the time comes for our marriage that we must spend our honeymoon in a quiet place, resting and recuperating from our labour’s! Doubtless the joy of being together will help a lot towards it. Night work makes one feel old and ugly which is depressing to any woman!! !


Have you received the parcels I sent to Malta? To make sure of your receiving any other parcels will it be best to send them c/o Cox & Co – Alexandria?


Au revoir, Sweetheart, God bless you and keep you - and be with you in the hour of danger.


With all my love, hoping all is well with you.


Ever your devoted


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