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August 15th 1917 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Captain Cyril E Sladden

15th August 1917
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, North Western Hotel, Liverpool
Correspondence To
Captain Cyril E Sladden, 9th Worcesters, 13th Division, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force D
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

North Western Hotel, Liverpool

Aug 15th 1917

My own dear Sweetheart

I am writing this with a nobbly piece of pencil just before turning in to sleep. I very cleverly went out and bought a bottle of ink but like a donkey did not remember ink was no good without a pen and as I have undressed and incidentally I might mention I have also washed my hair, I cannot go downstairs to write!
I brought your last two letters with me and have so enjoyed perusing them, knowing myself to be absolutely free from interruption! Before I comment any further I must explain how it is I am at the NW Hotel, Liverpool.

If you’ve got this mail’s letter posted this morning from Badsey, you will know that I was asked to come to Liverpool for an interview, and intended staying at the Settlement House or School of Social Science.  However on consideration in the train I decided not to go to either place, as I realized that everybody would be “quizzing” about my affairs, and I prefer to keep my business transactions to myself. Also I longed to have a quiet time all to myself and a good night’s rest, undisturbed by well-meant but tiresome chatter. I’ve got a very nice room for 4/- a night at this hotel and am revelling in the quiet of it.

By the way, George arrived in England last Thursday, and not on Saturday as the family supposed. He stayed at the York Hotel, London, and not with Jack, although he and Rosie went to see him at Bedford Park. You can imagine the consternation this discovery has made amongst the family! I expect George felt like I do today – he wanted a rest, alone, away from everyone. But what really puzzles the girls is that he wired on Saturday just as if he had just arrived in England. The discovery that he was in London on Thursday was quite accidental! Isn’t he a goose to be so mysterious!

Your Father I think feels a bit hurt because you see it is the first time George has been home since your Mother’s death. I think perhaps he rather dreaded coming home to find no little Mother to welcome him. I dread the time for you to come home on this account, I mean to Badsey. It is such a big mess that I feel you’ll just hate it.

After reading the second of your last two letters I could feel you with me. It was so good to have this feeling, short as it was.

I am going to read this letter again in the morning and then destroy it for I cannot bear the risk that any eyes but yours and mine should read the outpouring of our inmost souls.

I am making up my mind that it will be at least another two years before I can hope to see you again. The war is going to last at least another two years, and we must brace ourselves to meet the coming months. Your last written wishes and thoughts in your second letter received this mail, will live in my memory, and if the worst should happen, it will be a joy to me to know that after long absence from me, you still loved and desired me every bit as much as when we were last together. You said you felt that part of you had become paralyzed and needed waking up again. I don’t think it would take much to awaken it, for your letter shows that only a spark is needed to kindle the flame.

As soon as ever you get the opportunity do have your photo taken again – I want to see if you have altered at all. At any rate send me a good snapshot.

I am so glad Mrs Lake was good enough to take our carpets to India. I hope Cox will be careful with them or else they’ll get eaten with white ants or some other insect. India is a bad place for storing anything of this kind.

Goodnight and God bless you, Love of my life – take care of yourself and may God in His Mercy shield you from all danger. All my heart’s love.

Your ever devoted

Letter Images
Cyril received the letter on 13th October 1917.
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 3 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Imperial War Museum
Record Office Reference