We're kicking off a new series today that I'm super excited about! It wasn't too long ago that my sister and I poured over letters we found in an old trunk of my grandmothers. Who doesn't want to read about how people loved each other in extreme circumstances? Because at the end of the day, that's what we have left to hold. Love.
Handwriting was the only form of recorded text for the vast majority of human history. Isn't that remarkable? All but one of our senses are engaged when opening a hand-written letter - sight, smell, hearing and touch.
We're featuring love letters from the trenches, and it was hard to pick just one - hence the series. I got lost in reading these stories and emotions, they grabbed my heart and held tight. Grab your hot toddy, and enjoy!
(from an except of a book from soldiers fighting in the First World War.
2nd Lieutenant Cecil Slack to Dora Willatt
My dear Dora,
For a long time before asking you to marry me I had been thinking things over and I was and am quite certain of my own feelings. But I feel a rotter for asking you when I did. I ought to have waited, for one thing, until the war was over, and for another until I had more idea of your feelings. As it is I have given you a shock and have kindled feelings which should not have been aroused. I am sorry and yet I am glad.
You asked me to be quite sure I was not influenced by any excitement of the moment. I was not. I have loved you ever since I was at Rydal. A schoolboy love then – it often happens to schoolboys and then dies out. Mine did not die.
You ask me how much I love you. All I can say is that I just love you with my whole heart. I love you together with my Mother and my Father and my honour, but on a different scale altogether.
There is just one thing I want to mention before I forget it, and it is this – if I should by any chance be crippled I shall cry off everything. I would not dream of marrying if I had not a sound body. That is one reason why I’m such a rotter for having asked you in the middle of the war. Perhaps it would be better if we put aside what has happened until after the war?
Love from Cecil
(As Dora suggested, they waited six months to be sure, and then went ahead with their engagement. Cecil survived the war and they married in 1919.)
Dora Willatt and Cecil Slack on their wedding day, 1919 (Sir William Willatt Slack and the Slack Family)