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1918: Two intriguing, humorous letters to the Editor of the Mid Sussex Times from Cuckfield locals

Updated: Jul 12, 2021

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 23 April 1918

Letters to the Editor


I have received two letters from Cuckfield. One is from a married man with a small family and the other from "An Unknown Person." The latter writes these cayenne sentences .

"It is a pity some of the inhabitants of Cuckfield cannot have their tongues rationed. Perhaps then they would not gossip so much about other people's business. They are lucky in not having to pay for each idle word they speak, or they would be utterly ruined."

Whom does the cap fit? It was Jeremy Taylor, I think, who said "The tongue was intended for a Divine organ, but the devil often plays upon it!"

The married man (he gave his name and address) enclosed with his note a copy of a letter sent him by somebody in Cuckfield. As he has only been in the place a few months and has no friends he is quite in the dark as to the identity of the foolish writer.

The amorous "young (!) puss" signed herself "Your own most adoring and devoted friend," and invited the object of her attention to meet her on Sunday at 6 p.m. by Cuckfield Church. "You will know me by the flowers I shall wear—maidenhair ferns and lilies of the valley." She ought to have been met with a pail of water and a bunch of stinging nettles.

'Meet me by the church' Church Street circa 1900

To be fair to this "piner-for-love" I ought to state that from the tone of her letter she did not seem to be aware that the person to whom she addressed it was married, or she would not have penned these words: "I advise you to take a wife—not one who belongs to another man, but an unmarried female. Perhaps you will say ‘Where am I to get one?' Do not let that worry you. Dearest, I am at your disposal, and in me you will find one of the most loving hearts that ever beat in a woman's bosom.”

The “Lady" is not all sentiment. She is a bit earthly sometimes. Read this : " Should we marry, of course you will not mind getting me a cup of tea before going to your daily occupation. And I should like you to sift the cinders and bring home the meat and vegetables when shopping and help with the washing up." Alas, my poor brother!

In return the would-be wife promises "I will serve your meals punctually see that your bed is well made, keep your shirt buttons on and also see that your trousers are never out at the elbows."' What devotion! And this is the finishing touch: "Many are the happy days, darling, that you and I will spend together in perfect peace and love."

Married—and perfect peace and love! In what a fool's paradise do these lovesick maidens dwell!

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