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January 21st 1918 - Letter from Cyril Sladden to his fiancée, Mela Brown Constable

21st January 1918
Correspondence From
Cyril Sladden
Correspondence To
Mela Brown Constable, Unit Administrator WAAC, Residential Hostel, Command Depot, Sutton Coldfield; redirected to Depot Hostel, Handsworth, Birmingham
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Jan 21st 1918


My own dearest Mela


Your most unexpected cable has made me very happy. I had several times thought that you would be getting my letter about now and was wondering very much what you would think about it all. Your wire means such a lot. The very fact of you going to the trouble of sending it is the measure of the importance you give to the whole thing. I felt absolutely sure you were not properly yourself when you wrote the letter that so distressed me, and I was determined to try and answer in such a way as not to hurt too much the true and natural “you” who would months later get and read the letter. I have been so thankful ever since that I made the effort because all your later letters have been from your ordinary dear own self, and have steadily helped to wipe away the bitter memory that your bad letter left. I felt that your omission to make any further special mention of it was due to you actually having forgotten half of what you put in it. But still the subject could not be closed and finished with till I had your reply. And now I have it, and I know it is just what I longed for. On your own admission that outburst stands for nothing that has any genuine and true foundation within you, and so I am happy. If your reply had been otherwise (and I was absolutely certain it would not be) it would have meant that there was something in your nature I had never discovered before, something that would have been capable of bringing ruin to our love and our lives. This and nothing less was the issue, and if I had known you less well, and for only a short time, I must have been really alarmed. I am thankful that even from the beginning such a terrible thing could not be seriously entertained in my mind, and my faith in you carried me through a very bad time. Now I know it is definitely settled, and not a trace of fear can remain. With complete confidence I can look forward to the fulfilment of my ever present hope that no cloud will ever cast a shadow upon the brightness of our lives lighted by the strongest and best of human love. Our life must be without petty quarrels, ill-feeling, misunderstanding or lack of sympathy. When we differ, or disagree on anything, as we must often do, we must always thrash it out as we have done in the past, thoroughly but without any bitterness or annoyance. We have worked the method out very successfully already, and I am determined we are to keep to it always. New difficulties will be certain to arise for both of us when we come to live together. But we have met very real difficulties already, and we ought to be able to meet others with as much success. No ideal is too high for me where our love is concerned, Mela; and I know you are with me there. We have stuck to it well for five years, and if God grants us fifty I hope we may never fall away one little bit further.


Thank you very much my own dear thoughtful girl for seeing how much one little word from you could mean to me, and sending it by the quickest means you could. Your reward is that it brings us completely together again all these weeks sooner.


From your cable I learn you are still at Sutton Coldfield, welcome news. For it means that you are presumably well and at work, which leads me to hope your attack in November was as short as it was sharp and has not troubled you since; it means too that you are in England, and by this time you have my letter telling you to wire if you go abroad, so I shall know you are England till I hear otherwise; it means too that you have now been so long in one place and at one job that there is every hope you have got to know it jolly well and got everything in smooth and good working order so that the actual amount of work involved is now about at a minimum.


Your little short note that came last week gives me very little to comment upon. I am glad you found a good friend to come and see you when you were not well.


My letter that you got at the right moment, and refer to in your note seems not to have contained such a novel fancy as I thought I was presenting to you. It thrills me in a way to know that you should have worked it out very much the same. I wish I could see a chance of it coming off soon! Perhaps it will be better if we first meet in public after all, just to take the edge off in case I should altogether smother or devour you!


I am well and going on just the same as ever. I have been taking violent exercise in the form of Rugby football, and am feeling a bit battered about, not being used it for so long, but really much benefited. I have had four good hard games so far – the last today.


The weather lately has been splendid, fine and warm all day, and generally just a touch of frost at night.


Best love my own sweetheart. It is after 11.30 and I must be stirring up and going on my round and then to bed.


God bless you, dear.


Your own devoted

Cyril E Sladden

Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 3 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Imperial War Museum
Record Office Reference