Skip to main content

January 23rd 1916 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Lieutenant Cyril E Sladden

23rd January 1916
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, Seward House, Badsey
Correspondence To
Lieutenant Cyril E Sladden, 9th Worcesters, 39th Brigade, 13th Division, British Meditteranean Expeditionary Force
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Seward House

Jan 23rd 1916

My own dear Cyril

It is a bitterly cold day and my hands are feeling their coldest, so if my handwriting is somewhat illegible you'll understand the reason. George and Rosie are here and at the present moment have the drawing room to themselves, although the others are going to join them in a few minutes. Ethel and I chased up to meet them yesterday – the train was so crowded and so many khaki-clad figures got out that it was some moments before we found George, blushing like a schoolboy, accompanied by a fairly tall, slight, rather pretty girl, to wit – Rosie. George is not nearly so self-possessed as you were! Another reason makes him like this, other than the bare fact of being in love, Rosie is so shy that he has to talk for both. It is difficult to tell you whether I like her because she has hardly spoken two words – but I can say this much – that she is a very good-looking girl, with a pretty figure and nice expression, and not too modern. She is typically a town girl and doubtless if we were ourselves we would be able to draw her out to talk a little more. I think as she grows older she will develop very much on the lines laid down for her by George – you can see that she is dependent on him for ideas at present. There is a good deal of sadness and determination in her face and I think it is this wistful sadness, lightened up by a winning smile, which attracts George. As far as I can say, seeing so little of her, she is a dear little girl, but it puzzles me very much why George fell in love with her. If he were younger, I could understand it better, it would be the call of youth, but she does not seem well-informed enough to be George's wife. Perhaps to him it will be like the unfolding of a flower, watching her develop under his love and protection. Her name is Rose, and she is not unlike a shy little wild rose, but to my mind she should have been called Violet. She has beautiful eyes, blue and well-shaped, the latter description might be applied to her head, too - her hair is between Mary's and mine in shade, and she dresses it simply and becomingly – she has a well-formed neck set on a young-looking pair of shoulders. George has an eye for the beautiful for certainly Rosie has a very sweet face. She looks about twenty-two but has not so many interests in life as Juliet, which makes her appear quite a child.

I think George is blindly in love with her - and very happy. They are not like you and me, we never had any illusions about one another! You never thought me divine and I never thought you a hero! Ours is and was a very substantial courtship. George's seems more romantic and ethereal. I couldn't bear it if you were not able to tell me every little detail of your life, our life, as it is now. I want to give you everything and in return to receive everything. Even your faults are mine, and mine yours, in the sense that we can help each other so much to overcome them. I think George feels delighted that this sweet piece of womanhood has given herself to him, I don't think he looks upon her yet as his wife-to-be. It is very charming to see them together and last night I was very envious of their evening hour together.

George is very much looking forward to hearing from you. He says that since he has become engaged there is a kind of freemasonry among lovers which he never knew of before. He went to see Rosie's mother, Mrs Wilkinson. He told May she is a sensible woman, whom one would describe as a “body” who drops an “h” occasionally. Rosie herself has not quite a cultured accent but she has a pretty voice and does not drops her “hs”.

Well, dear Heart, I must stop scribbling – do hurry on the war if you can and come home! I want you very badly.

All my love, Best-beloved
Your ever devoted

Letter Images
Cyril received the letter on 2nd February 1916 at Port Said.
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 2 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Imperial War Museum
Record Office Reference