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March 22nd 1916 - Letter from Arthur Sladden to his sister, Kathleen Sladden

22nd March 1916
Correspondence From
Arthur Sladden
Correspondence To
Kathleen Sladden, 12 Charleville Circus, Sydenham, London SE
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter


My dear Kathleen

You would have had this letter anyway, to send good wishes for your birthday, but it's written with double pleasure after getting your nice long one today. I'm feeling very cheerful just now, for there is very good prospect of leave next week, and with luck I hope to be in London this time next week. I want Mary to come up and meet me there and we shall stay two days right in town to save a lot of travelling about, but of course will want to see you and Jack and we'll let you known when I really get there. I think a couple of days real change will do Mary good and then we'll both want to get back to Baby, though I think it probable we'll go back via Badsey. That however must be arranged when I arrive. There won't be many days to spare. I would have applied already but don't want to get landed in London on a Sunday with poor train service or everything closed: if plans work out as I want, Tuesday should be the day of arrival; one can't select one's days however.

I'm very ready for a holiday, have felt pretty stale lately, and for the most part with quite as much work as I can put up with. But it’s more the lack of Sunday freedom, or even Saturday afternoon, that makes the difference. Many of our customs regarded as of religious origin are really of hygienic service, probably due to Moses who should have had the DPH honours causa. Certainly Sunday is one of them, but there is very little Sunday on active service.

I do hope some attractive job will come your way soon. On general principle, it would seem a pity for you to switch on to other work just now, in teaching you stand above the level, in other work you would not only have to start afresh, but also to meet the competition of many women who, though perhaps previously untrained to anything nevertheless, had native ability and enthusiasm, and the net result would be that you would be putting yourself back ten years gratuitously.

I'm not sure that you are not a little over-pessimistic about the social side of an appointment away from London. You might certainly find only a few people for intimate friendship in a provincial town, but although London may be very full of kindred spirits it's mighty difficult to get linked up with them to any extent, and there's likely to be a big leaven of commonplace folk wherever one is - at least that's my impression more and more. Also I find that the less one regards them as commonplace or boring, the more one is likely to discover something attractive.

This is getting rather like a long sermon from your younger brother so I will dry up! But I'm sure there are many possibilities of improving on your present mode of existence with suburbanites all round you and hours of travelling daily. I think really your chief need is probably to have the control of a place, and even if that were distant from London you might relish the change, or alternatively find it a stepping stone back to a London school. To get out of teaching at this stage would probably be financially unsound, and very likely unsatisfactory in other ways.

The more spectacular war work should be for those who have either had no work previously or whose past avenues of work are now closed. Yours is and has always been war work and peace work as well. Same here, so we can mutually pat each other on the back. I begin to feel like the parson who got to twenty firstly!

Re No 9 Manor House, negotiations are in train for a rather promising let, which may with luck carry on to the end of the lease, it has not yet been concluded, but when Mary wrote on 18th the omens were good. The "Colonel Woods" I believe stated they were sorry to have to leave, the Colonel is going abroad I am told.

From all I hear about little Babs she is making good headway, not getting very heavy or podgy, and evidently using and developing her senses. Mary considers she has a very decided will of her own, but I feel sure that with proper handling that is a matter for congratulation, and I'm equally sure that Mary will manage her wisely in that respect as in others. As far as fathers are concerned, I suppose she'll find hers rather too pliable, they generally are! But I shall certainly try to retain my younger point of view and not become the heavy father. I wonder though if I'll succeed any better than most well-intentioned parents. On theory I should say a thoughtful physician ought to make a successful parent, but theory doesn't take you far with children. Nor, though a physician am I claiming to be thoughtful. I hear she treats her grandfather with great lack of ceremony and likes him best with his hair well ruffled by her little fingers!

I wish we could feel that George’s married future was a promising as Cyril’s. However the fact that Rosina Beatrice (why not Rose?) has stipulated for two years engagement shows she is not just a romantic schoolgirl bent on securing a husband: but I don't see great prospects of her gaining much experience of people and things of the right kind in her present surroundings. I should fancy that in the phone exchange you may learn the useful art of pretending to keep your temper, but that would be all. My nerve would go after about a day of it I'm sure.

Well, I hope as hard as I can that next week will be the week for me, and that I'll see something of you en route each way.

With love to you and Jack.

Your affectionate brother

Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 4 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service
Record Office Reference