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August 3rd 1916 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Captain Cyril E Sladden

3rd August 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

Seward House

Aug 3rd

My Darling

The mail came in this afternoon. Mrs Waters who happened to be calling in Evesham for letters for herself, very kindly thought of asking for mine too and left them here for me. There were two from you. One, the second one, very confidential and which I must answer in my next letter. I am sending these few lines in the hope of catching the mail by some odd chance.

You comment on me wearing black. As a matter of fact I usually wear a combination of black and white and people tell me it suits me better than colours. However I am soon going into colours again, as even the most rigid observer of mourning etiquette does not expect more than a few months mourning from one who is not really a daughter. I prefer colours myself and I think colours act on one’s mind too – black is apt to make one feel older and sadder. We do not go into mourning much in my family. Just perhaps round about the time of the funeral but not for long.

Cecil, we hear, was badly wounded but we have not had full particulars. As it is over a month since he was taken prisoner he should be making some steps towards recovery by now.

Sweetheart – your straightforward open letter all about your difficulties makes me feel very proud that you honour me with your confidence. I will write more in my next letter but will necessarily have to be more ambiguous than you were because letters might get opened now that you are back on Active Service.

I shall always feel sorry that I have been so harsh in my judgements on men, mental judgements or those I’ve expressed. I was ignorant of the difficulties which beset their path at every turn, and now I think they are wonderful, taking them as a whole - for it seems such unequal odds. It is much easier for women to be good. If they are not they know the consequences mean suffering, which no one would wish for – whereas men have nothing like this to hold them back. At least they do not realize that self-indulgence may lead to bodily suffering in the end.

You have done me the greatest honour to write as you have done this mail and because you have put your honour into my keeping as it were – and – what pleases me, since the little rift we had some time back about mutual trust – you do not hesitate to trust me with it.

I never really felt that you would be overcome by temptation, but I wanted you to see that I trusted you, by the very fact that I would want you to tell me in order to see if I could help in any way. God bless you dearest, and give you strength. Think of when the tempter tries to overpower you that when you come back to me you will be able to look me straight in the eyes and say, “All’s well – Mela.”

I shall understand – and I know that your ideal is that you may come back even stronger than when you went away.

All my love and prayers.

Your devoted wife

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