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July 31st 1916 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Captain Cyril E Sladden

31st July 1916
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, Seward House, Badsey
Correspondence To
Captain Cyril E Sladden, 9th Worcesters, c/o Messrs Cox & Co, Army Agents, Bombay, India (redirected to 13th Division, Mesopotamia Expeditionary Force, c/o PPM, Bombay)
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

at Seward House

July 31st 1916

My own dear Cyril

Once more all is vague and I find it difficult to picture you because I do not know where your surroundings may be. It is not so easy to write when the person to whom you may be writing is in a place and circumstances unknown. I could so well imagine you in Simla.

I had a letter from Barbara today, written before they had had definite news of Cecil’s safety, but her letter gives a clue as to how Uncle Ben obtained definite news. She says, “We had a letter from Uncle Ben saying he had traced the address of the doctor who, it is alleged, tended Cecil, so we may hear something soon.”

I wonder if he heard direct from the Hun doctor. Aunt Jessie did not give the source from which they obtained their information.

Kathleen sent a message through Betty to me saying that if I find I am hard up for a job in the winter, she can easily find me a teaching job in a school in London as teachers are being asked for and cannot be obtained. She says I could live with them at Sydenham and go daily. I have written and asked her to give me more particulars and said I thought the place worth thinking about. It is not always wise to chop and change one’s work, and if I were not going to be married I’d think it unwise to be only taking temporary jobs here and there of different sorts. But my life at present is spent trying to keep myself in pocket money until such time as you come home, and at the same time to do some work for my country.

It would be very nice to spend some time with Kath and I hope the job would be sufficiently remunerative to allow of me contributing towards expenses. At present this plan is little more than a castle in the air but I thought I’d just mention it to you.

Today I have been pea-picking and ‘’bower’’ (spelling?!) tying. We were working against time to catch a train for Manchester so had quite an exciting time trying to get finished up to time.

More good news from the Russian Front. They are advancing on Kovel and have simply made stupendous hauls of prisoners. Austria’s days are numbered – whole army corps must be surrendering!

Aug 2nd 1916

The mail has not yet come in and this has to go tonight - if I wait until the morning I may miss the mail. It is unsatisfactory for you receiving letters which do not comment on yours, but it cannot be helped. I am rather extra particularly wanting your letter this week because I think it will probably comment on one of mine to you written after I had received one from you mentioning you were finding life a little difficult – when you first went to Poona – the heat and having nothing particular to do were having an enervating effect upon you. When I reply to a letter of yours of this kind, and as you point out to me sometimes, I long to get your reply because I wonder if I’ve said too much and how you will have taken it. But this time I had not written and apologized as I usually have done, for speaking my thoughts etc! I suppose I am beginning to realize more fully that we can say almost anything to each other now without a misunderstanding arising.

Your Father goes to Sydenham today, to spend a couple of days before going to Eastbourne. He seems to be looking forward to his trip. It is astonishing what a lot of interest he continues to take in life. He is very well and in good spirits. I think it is marvellous how well he has withstood the shock of your Mother’s death. Aunt Lottie comes on Saturday and Jack will be starting his holiday too on that day. We shall soon be starting plum picking. I shall have to do your share.

We are having glorious weather. I wish you could be here with us for many things, and yet I would not really wish you to be anywhere but serving your country. You’ve still got some work to do in this war and I must rest content in the knowledge that you have been spared to me so far.

By the time this reaches you, it will be time to rejoin your regiment I expect. By then the weather ought to be cooler and efforts are being made to improve the conditions out there, so perhaps you will not have very severe hardships to encounter, like the poor fellows who have been there all through the Summer.

God bless you, dear love. May He watch over you, and may He allow us to realize one another’s presence even though we are parted. I shall be with you in spirit wherever you may be. I hope you feel quite fit in every way.

All my love
Your ever devoted

Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 2 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Imperial War Museum
Record Office Reference