My dear Cyril,
I wrote you only a hurried letter the other day so will supplement it this afternoon – the first leisure time I have had for several weeks!
Father & Mother were a little taken aback at getting the news so soon, but they were almost prepared to expect it some time, & that they were was partly my doing, I am very glad now they were prepared, especially Father, for he only wanted time to get used to the idea to be really delighted. The interest & little excitement has done Mother good & it is very nice having Kath here to tell us more than can be said in letters, how I wish you & Mela could both have come down for a day or two. It has been most exciting & interesting telling different people since your telegram came on Thursday. Father went over to tell Mrs Ashwin who was as much pleased as surprised. Muriel was out till the evening, but was much excited when she heard. She had a long chat with Kath & me yesterday afternoon & was most interested & nice, we told her more than one would tell many people, when I told her of your asking the shopman for an engagement ring she murmured “Bless him!” Such lots of nice things have been said about you both, when I told Marjory Slater she asked me to send her congratulations to you. The Byrds are delighted & most cordial in their congratulations. The Vicarage of course could hardly be expected to gush over any of our family affairs, Kath & I saw Evelyn while doing Church decorations yesterday & told her, she expressed pleasure, then went & told “Ma” in the vestry, “Ma” seemed to think it incumbent upon her to congratulate somebody so came running out asking who she was to congratulate which seemed rather pointless. “Passou” expressed his pleasure to Father after service this morning. It was rather amusing telling the servants, Fanny Jelfs was here that day, she didn’t guess you until she had gone the round of the family, then exclaimed “Why that’s my baby!” She couldn’t guess Mela until I had as good as told her. Clara Byrd on the other hand guessed Mela at once having apparently settled before hand that you two would do splendidly for each other. When Walter Cull came with the bread I overheard the servants making him guess who was engaged & as far as I heard he was fairly successful. Brailsford came in soon afterwards & was almost bowled over by the news. Each time I met him later in the day he exclaimed “I can’t get over it” hastening to add though that he was very pleased.
We think the announcement ought to be put in the local paper this week, & I have just drafted it out thus:-
An engagement is announced between Cyril Edgar, fourth son of Mr & Mrs Julius Sladden, Seward House, Badsey to Mela, elder daughter of the Rev. _ Brown-Constable & Mrs Brown-Constable of Boulogne sur Mer, France.
Kath is asking her whether she will supply her father’s initial, we none of us know it.
I expect Mela would be very glad if you could meet her father, I do hope her mother will welcome you as she should, you generally get on well with people.
The ring sounds a very pretty one from your description in Mother’s letter, Mother was so pleased at your writing so fully to her, Mela wrote a sweet little letter too. It is so nice of you both to let other people share in your happiness. Such a good strong dose of romance has done us all good, Kathleen especially might almost have been engaged herself, she evidently had a whole bottle-full!
The latest idea we have just been developing amongst us (all being now sitting out on the lawn waiting for tea) is that possibly Mela might be able to get off for a week-end from Gloucestershire & come here. You could I daresay get down for the same weekend, Father thinks you wouldn’t think much of a 12/- weekend ticket, why he used to have to pay £4.10 when he went to Paris to see Mother!! All sorts of little reminiscences of his courting days have been cropping up lately.
Mother got to Church this morning to the second service & was not too much tired. It is so nice to have it warm enough for her to sit out, she does so need some of this weather.
Poor Mr Macdonald died three days ago & is to be buried tomorrow, one cannot feel sorry after his long time of pain & weakness, & the end of such a useful good life is hardly sad.
With much love & best wishes for long-continued happiness for you & Mela.
Ever your loving sister
May E. Sladden