July 15th 1917
My dearest Mela
On the day after I posted to you the mail came, bringing me your three letters posted May 5th, 10th and 15th.
The first of these was a long one written just before you started your course; it also enclosed a copy of Wilfred’s account of his adventure which is most interesting. There was pretty clearly some bad management somewhere, and he came near to being a victim of it.
I am wondering whether he is in India now, having heard nothing. Drewitt who was lately in Bagdad tells me he met a man who was in the same wreck some days ago, so evidently some of them got taken on pretty soon. I want to hear where he goes and what regiment he gets posted to.
I was ever so interested in your full account of the programme of your course. I think it will be a splendid thing for you to have taken it, and if you start work again you ought to be able to secure a respectably good job. It will also make another stronger interest in common between us, because I have had an amateurish sort of learning towards the study of social problems for a long time; theoretical rather than practical I admit, but you may be able later on to supply the practical side.
You will be very different I expect from most of the women who do that kind of work, as you are not a bit the university graduate type like Irene or Kathleen. You are not so modern. I think the root of the difference is that your nature is adapted to expand its entire energies on just a very few, to wit your own family, while theirs readily extends to embrace if necessary all the world.
All the same I am certain you will make a very good job of the work if you take it up, and your nursing training will be invaluable; though just as with me in my present job, it will never appeal to you in the least as being the proper sort of work you are really cut out for.
You mention that you think I shall find you changed, and I quite believe it. I wonder which of us will be most changed; I am certain the war is making enormous differences to all of us, at home and abroad. I am almost afraid that we shall be so unused to each other that we shall be positively shy of one another on first meeting, and I don’t want that to be the case a bit. I have often thought that when the time does finally come I shall try to engineer things so that we meet somewhere in privacy. I should like to come into a room where you were alone – expecting me perhaps shortly but not just then – and take you properly in my arms and give you such a kiss as would bring us back to where we left off, and wipe out the years between.
I never picture meeting at a railway station or even at a front door, though probably that is what it will come to, worse luck. Not that I am really disposed to be particular about the type of circumstances if only the occasion would hurry up regardless of circumstances.
I have not been as fit this last week as I am accustomed to feel; just my “tummy” feeling the heat and a bit out of order. There has really been some heat to feel too; we have topped 120° regularly, and on Friday touched 127° which was a distinctly good effort. I have evolved a theory – which nobody agrees with in the least – that after about 100° to 110° one does not personally feel hotter with increase of temperature, but only notices subsequent differences by outside effects, such as the strength of the glare from the ground outside, which affects one like staring at a hot fire, or the heat of match and other objects to the touch.
It is quite a nice day today; just a perceptible breeze most of the time, and no dust. It is cooler too I think than for some days past. Several days lately have been dusty as well as hot, the combination make one perfectly incapable of doing anything for a large fraction of the day, so the change is welcome.
I have not been so busy just recently, having had no fresh consignment of supplies for disposal to my great satisfaction.
It was rather a rotten day yesterday, so I did not write any more, and now I must get this away at once to catch the post. It is actually quite cloudy today, a highly remarkable thing, due I suppose to our nearness to the hills.
I am not writing home this week so you must give them what little news I have. With my best love.
Your own affectionate
Cyril E Sladden