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September 8th 1918 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Major Cyril E Sladden

8th September 1918
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, QMAAC, Bulford Camp, Salisbury Plain
Correspondence To
Major Cyril E Sladden, 9th Worcesters, 13th Division, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force D (readdressed to Badsey)
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Bulford Camp
Salisbury Plain

Sept 8th 1918

My own dear Cyril

I have three letters of yours to which to reply dated June 17th, 23rd, and July 1st 1918. The one dated June 17th tells of Colonel Faviell’s leave and that you were commanding the battalion in his absence. How did you like it? I feel very proud to think you were in command – jolly good for a youngster of 28, eh what?!!

I love your account of your discourse at the divisional officer’s school. You must have tackled the subject very well, in spite of the admission, in your letter, that it was a subject you “really don’t profess to know anything about”, else why should you have received such a complimentary memo from the Brigadier-General!

Fancy managing to put up a shelf in a tent to hold my photos! It must be an ingenious arrangement! I like to think my photos are near you – just as yours are near me – but I wish I had some good later ones of you.
Your letter June 23rd comments on my visit to Marlow and encloses a second letter which has given me much food for thought.

I cannot remember now why I did not write you very exciting letters from Marlow. The episode about receiving a letter from Father came at the end of my visit so that could not have influenced me. You comment on the fact that you had sent me a letter for Mrs Hiscock. I sent it on to her and she was very glad to have it. Curiously, though, she is engaged to be married again. She says it can never be the same as her first marriage, but that the man is devoted to her and willing to marry her knowing that she cannot give her heart wholly to him.

The sale of Aunt Lottie’s furniture is on now – May has a list of things and she will bid for us. Jack is arranging to fix up money transactions for the people concerned. He will let you know for what amount to make out a cheque and to whom.

You tell me that more adequate facilities are being made for leave to England, and that you have hopes that GHQ may decide to send for a second list of names before long. I hope, darling, your name will be a lucky one on the list. This separation is very trying to both of us. This brings me to the point of answering your enclosure, which is a very dear one.

You say, “Is it altogether sin in me that I lie and picture with all the force of my imagination that inconceivable moment that, God willing, lies before us?”

Dearest, it is not sin. The sin would be, if you loved me and did not feel this longing. It is just natural and right that you should desire the woman who is to be your wife. I should feel there was something lacking if you did not want me like this. So long as this desire is never given to any other woman, there is no sin in feeling it. It is perfectly delightful to me to know that after all these years of separation, your love has increased. God loved me before but your love has matured and your manhood developed since we saw each other. Do not ever think that I fail to realize the depth of your feelings or that I do not understand them. You have my absolute trust and you could not have paid me a greater honour, than you have done by writing to me as to your wife. Thank you, my own Man, for your loyalty and devotion. It is so sweet to me.

I fail you often by sending totally inadequate letters but this one will show you that at heart I am unchanged and when we meet I’ll prove it to you absolutely.

Your letter of July 1st tells of Wilfred’s visit to you. By know you’ve probably met again and know each other quite well.

Wilfred is not easy to understand – but very lovable and a brick. He never fails anyone and is always specially kind to people who are down on their luck. I am so glad you’ve met.

The Gen Officer commanding paid us a great compliment. Yesterday, the Garrison Sports were held and he asked me to entertain Lady Sclater, his wife, to lunch, going on to the sports afterwards. She is a dear little old lady and made herself quite at home and made us feel quite at home.

I have had a trying week. My deputy, Mrs Bryant is ill with bronchial catarrh and three of my officers have been transferred at a moment’s notice, only one having been replaced. So you can guess my hands are full.
All my love, dear Heart, as ever – God bless you.

Ever your devoted

Letter Images
Cyril did not receive the letter until his return to England in 1919.
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 3 sheets of notepaper
Record Office Reference