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February 16th 1916 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Lieutenant Cyril E Sladden

16th February 1916
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, Seward House, Badsey
Correspondence To
Lieutenant Cyril E Sladden, 9th Worcesters, British Mediterranean Expeditionary Force
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Seward House

Feb 16th 1916

My own dear Sweetheart

I am writing to you nearly every day now, as I have the time, I also feel more certain of letters reaching you regularly. Yesterday I didn't write, having been persuaded to stay in bed as I had taken a chill. However I feel quite well today and came down to breakfast.

Since your Mother has been in bed, about 2 weeks, the first part of the morning I spend brushing and dusting her room and setting her right for the rest of the day until she gets up. She gave me a message for you this morning - “tell Cyril that I look upon you as a daughter already and let you take a daughter's place. I hope it will not be very long before you are really a daughter”. It is really quite a good thing I am here to do odd jobs while your mother is unable to come down, Ethel has so much to do in the village and in the way of housekeeping that she really hasn't time to nurse people as well.

Your mother gets up in her room every day now and is awaiting another visit from Dr Leslie before she comes downstairs. We are having very windy weather and consequently the house is very draughty so that we are glad of any excuse to keep her upstairs, to prevent any risk of her taking a fresh chill.

Aunt Jessie wrote yesterday that as your leave is postponed that they will have left Compton Lodge before you get home, and will spend a couple of months in rooms in Liverpool looking out for another house, so that supposing we wish to get married, Walton will be out of the question as a house to be married from! This leaves the London plan or else Badsey. I, and everyone here are hoping against hope that the London plan will get knocked on the head and leave Badsey. It would just be ideal if we could get married here. Even if you do not wish us to get married just yet, there is no harm in talking over little plans together.

I suppose by now you've had some newspapers telling of the big air raid over the Midlands. Birmingham escaped but a lot of damage was done at Walsall – but not of military value. The firing and explosions could be heard in Badsey and Evesham, and the people at Fladbury could see smoke rising after a bomb fell. The villagers are very comical, most of them get annoyed over the lighting question. Old Mrs Kite can only mutter, “It is a job - and this recruiting too – well there – it is a job”! The Wilkins’ twins are still trying to get out of enlisting on the plea that they are growing belladonna and herbs for the Government! But I don't think there is much chance of them escaping! All single men in groups 13 to 24 have been called to the colours and must appeal by March 18th. Doubtless Jack Collins is amongst these but may get sent back as he is doing Government work and the Inland Revenue office is very busy and understaffed as it is.

I expect my letters written on the 13th and 14th will reach you by the beginning of March. If you wire before then, not using the word I suggest, I shall know it is because you have not received my letters. If you wire without using the word after March 2nd or 3rd, I shall know what you mean. I still cannot see any reason for a negative reply, because as I say if we go on waiting until there are no risks, we shall wait all our lives, especially in war time and even after the war it will be many years before everything will have settled down for people to marry on comfortable incomes. I feel I'm right in this because your mother and father, who are both careful people and do not pass a judgement easily about anything, both seem to think it is the natural thing for us to do, to stand side by side as man and wife and face the future together. There are heaps of couples married and happy on less than we shall have.

Oh dear – you'll think I'm never going to leave off talking about this! You see it is very near my heart so it keeps popping up.

I must do some sewing now – I am making some very pretty things towards – there I go again – I am a tiresome old thing – it will serve me right if you pooh-pooh all my suggestions!

Mary and little Dorothy leave us on Monday. We shall miss them – especially Dolly. She is a darling. Everyone notices that she has Uncle Boo's eyes – they are deep - deep blue – almost violet – with long lashes which turn up at the end (of course your eyes are not so lovely - ahem!).

With all my heart's love dear one, I am longing to hear from you again. God bless you.

Ever your Devoted

Letter Images
Cyril received the letter on 7th April 1916 at Felahick.
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 2 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Imperial War Museum
Record Office Reference