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February 17th 1916 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Lieutenant Cyril E Sladden

17th 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 17th 1916

My own dear Cyril

I daresay tomorrow or Saturday will bring me news from you again. The mails from Port Said generally come in at the end of the week.

We are having very blowy, blustery weather. It is a good thing so far as it prevents Zeppelin raids, but we would welcome calmer weather on your Mother’s account. It is so draughty that we daren’t let her come downstairs.

Wipers has jumped on my lap making it difficult for me to write!

I’ve just come in from taking Baby out in her pram. I often take her out in the morning. She is a perfect darling and ever so good with me. She seems to like people with soft, fat faces, and she loves it if you smile and laugh at her. I hate to think she is going away on Monday. I shall miss her very much.

Do you know, darling, I am beginning to wish I had never said anything to anyone about there being a possibility of our being married when you came home. If I had depended on my own judgement I should have held my peace but it was literally wormed out of me and even then I did not wish the news to go outside the four walls but I was advised to tell Aunt Jessie and Uncle Harry and then of course Cecil, because your people thought the wire from you might mean you were coming home almost at once and then we should be rushed at the last moment.

I have had letters from Aunt Jessie and Uncle Harry offering to help me with a trousseau. They have both come round to the conclusion that Badsey is the best place for the wedding to take place as leave is so short nowadays for everyone. Your people are delighted and we only await Mother’s decision now.

As everything seems so favourable and all key relations have come up to the scratch as it were, it is most awkward for me – but I have told them not to send me any money until I have time to get replies to my letters of this week when I hope to give them more definite news.

Another time, dearest, unless you definitely state you wish other people to know I shall say nothing about our plans.

It was not my fault that they got any news of your promotion. They told me of it long before I mentioned it and I kept on assuring them that it was probably only a rumour, but they had quite settled it in their minds when you wrote and told me that you felt pretty certain of getting it, I didn’t say much when they wormed the news out of me – positively bombarding me with questions! – beyond the fact that they were to watch the gazette! But they had got it all cut and dried in their own minds. When they read the telegram before forwarding it to me, the girls and your Mother jumped to the conclusion that we would get married when you came home, and when I returned from Netherton Hall, they’d settled everything in their own minds.

I’m awfully sorry, dear, about it and feel quite worried and hardly know how to get out of the tangle. If I say, “Oh, now Boo hasn’t got his Captaincy, it will make a great difference, and he counted on that before getting married”, they simply laugh at me and say they know better that you’d take the chance while you have leave because it might be months before you got home again and so on and so on – until I feel quite muddled.

Now I am worrying you as well as myself but I feel I must talk it all out with you. Don’t be proud and think you cannot let me care for myself entirely. Heaps of girls are working and earning for themselves while their husbands are at the Front.

Mary would have done so only that Baby came. She tells me that RAMC Captains get no more pay than 1st Lieutenants, it is only an honorary rank and pay does not increase in promotion. Also when he comes home he cannot return to his practice in Harley Street – that has all evaporated and Dr Horden has gone to Serbia or Russia, at any rate, Arthur will have to hunt for a job when he comes home. So that as they have little Dorothy to keep as well as themselves, they will be worse off than we shall be as far as £ s d is concerned, because I can work as well as you – until you get a job.

Isn’t it awful of me to keep rambling on like this? But I feel it all so keenly I cannot help it.

I’ll stop now before I ramble any further. Best love, Sweetheart.

Your ever 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