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July 18th 1917 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Captain Cyril E Sladden

18th July 1917
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, 12 Charleville Circus, Sydenham SE
Correspondence To
Captain Cyril E Sladden, 9th Worcesters, 13th Division, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force D
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

12 Charleville Circus, Sydenham SE

July 18th 1917 [sic – should be July 16th]

My own dear Cyril

My real mail letter is at Marlow where I am returning this morning but I thought it would be rather nice to send you a few lines from the old familiar room, especially as this is the last chance I may have of visiting this house of memories. Kath and Jack leave here on the 30th for Bedford Park.

I was called up to Town yesterday afternoon by a wire for an interview with regard to an appointment. It is not even yet decided whether I shall get this post because there are still other candidates to be seen before a decision will be given in anyone’s favour. The one thing against me getting the post is that I cannot promise to remain on after the war. It is an engineering firm who intend to employ women after the war.

When I reached Sydenham at 8pm yesterday, an unknown face answered the door, who, I find is addressed as “Cotterill”. She said K and J were still out and that my wire had arrived but as they had not come in they had not seen it. I had to explain who I was to her. She seemed a bit uncertain whether she ought to let me in! I reassured her by going up to my own photograph in the study and asking her to compare it!

K and J were very surprised to see me when they came in. They had been pottering round their new house and did not turn up until 9.30!

Kath says she can never remember having seen me look so well – that I look 10 years younger than when she saw me in B’ham in January! I’m afraid I could not return the compliment because dear old K looks far from fit – she has got so thin – even her neck which used to be so pretty is thin now. I do hope she will take a rest this summer. Jack is very pale and thin too – he works after he gets home until nearly eleven every night.

Rose Lintott comes over to stay here occasionally. Kath is still very sad about that engagement. She says that when George comes home she will simply invite Rosie here or rather to Bedford Park so often and almost throw her at George’s head, in order, she hopes, that her lack of real breeding, brains, conversation etc will bore George to such an extent, that Rose, will take the hint and release him. There is one thing in which K agrees with me. Rose is not trying to “catch” George because she thinks she is doing well for herself. They’d have been married the last time he was on leave if this had been the case, but she refused to marry so soon. So K thinks that if Rose saw George was tiring of her, she would release him.

Of course when they are together one can see there is a strong physical attraction which blinds George to a large extent. She is pretty and dresses nicely, good figure and all that sort of thing. But she is a girl who, if she never married George, would have heaps of other chances amongst her own associates. There is a ppc of George on horseback on the mantelpiece. He looks very well and the horse “Ned” is a beauty.

Well, dearest Heart, this house is simply crammed with memories. I don’t think I could stay here long it is too tantalizing to realize those days have gone beyond recall.

I shall go and have a look at the old park presently. The trains only run to Sydenham and Sydenham Hill now.

Everything here recalls those days of nearly 3 yrs ago. If I had more time I would go to see the Japps. But it is really better for all this part of London makes my heart ache, and as I have got to keep up a brave face to the world, maybe for many months to come, it is no use putting my feelings on the wrack as it were. Memories are sweet but they are a luxury, which, if indulged in too deeply, weaken one’s moral fibre, making one apt to feel that life is not worth living, that one is badly used by the Powers, that be etc etc.
I wish that Love could exist without Passion. Love is so beautiful – calm – full of sweet dreamings – then its twin sister comes along – just the opposite – tempestuous – impatient – restless and selfish. The last can exist without the first but it is not beautiful really, and I often wish that Love could exist without the second, I mean the love of a man and a woman. It does sometimes I believe but not when the two are very, very, human mortals. Life is so complex –

Why are we made with natures so necessary to have all love, if that is desired as, day by day, month by month, year by year.  It is like giving a child a box of chocolates and then saying he must not et them.  We love each other and yet are denied companionship.  One’s mind feels starved - one’s should barren - until one is almost tempted to think that nothing is worthwhile.  I must stop before I get beyond myself.

All my love, my Best Beloved.  God bless you and bring you back safe to me.

Ever your devoted



Letter Images
Says 18th July but actually 16th July (see previous letter). Cyril received the letter on 8th September 1917.
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 4 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Imperial War Museum
Record Office Reference