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AUG 29 19218/29 in p.s.
It may help you in selection of type to know that the novel will run just about one hundred and fifty thousand words.W. S. C. AUG 29 1921 Toronto2
Greetings to you and your lady4, and welcome home.
Miss Lewis5 will see you today, and will deliver a bunch of manuscript to you with explanations. I am hoping that by throwing the first part of the story6 into type you can manage to get serial publication for it.
I have been able to finish this story much better than I dared to hope. The latter part is now quite as close-knit and as personal as the first part. In other words, I have at last brought it across. I have stayed here and boned away at it all summer, but now it is done.2
Now, a sad blow for you. The novel will have to be called "Claude9". I did the best I could by the other title—I
lived with it for months,—and I hate it vehemently. It sounds like an
an an apology. "Claude" is the only title for this story—any other title would spoil the book for
me, and this book is a present I am making to myself. I won't have it spoiled. Trust
me, this story will make its own title. No titles could have seemed more unpromising
"Antonia"12 seemed at first. Scaife13 said bitterly, "Couldn't you manage to call
it something that people could at least pronounce?" Yet the story has made the title
go. This title won't offend so many people as you think.
If Mr. Hergesheimer14, for instance, called a story "Myrtle" or "Elaine", I should of course know he had a reason for doing so. Nobody has objected to "Sir Claude15" in "What Maisie Knew"16—in fact, it is one of H. James'17 most successful names. If he had called the book 4 "Sir Claude", that would have been nothing against it. It is not a sissy name like "Reggie"—it is clumsily romantic—and that is just what this boy is.
"Claude" is the title, and by that we must sink or swim.
I am leaving for Red Cloud, Nebraska18 on Tuesday the 30th. I must get to work at once on an article on "Nebraska"19 the Nation has asked me to do for their Portraits-of-the-States series. On October 29 I will lecture20 for the Omaha Society of Fine Arts. I hate lecturing, but they made their case very strong, and this lecture opens their season.Faithfully Willa Cather 5