152 COMMONWEALTH AVENUE
Dear Mr. Greenslet:
In browsing through the pages of Walt Whitman yesterday two lines appeared before me that apply amazingly well to the story of Charlotte, and two words that I think would be excellent as a title. The two words suggest Willa Cather’s “Oh, Pioneers” but are entirely different in both connotation and grammatical form. They are quoted in a brief two-line poem which I introduced in the script last night, and of which I enclose a copy. The first reference to the suggested title is at the end of Chapter II – the second on page eight in Chapter VI.
The poem is entitled “The Untold Want”. It reads:
The untold want, by life and land ne’er granted,
Now, voyager, sail thou forth to seek and find.
If you will stop and think, these two lines fit Charlotte’s case like a glove. The title I suggest is “Now Voyager!”
It may at first suggest the sea, but life is so often called a voyage this impression can be dispelled in the blurb. I think Charlotte had an “untold want” if ever a woman had, [several “untold wants”, in fact] and her voyage “to seek and find” continued, of course, long after her return from the cruise. “Now Voyager” seems to me more universally appealing than “Meridian,” which is obviously about middle life. Drop me a line Friday to 393 Walnut Street and tell me your reaction.
MS Am 1925 (1462), Houghton Mifflin Publishing Co. archive, Houghton Library, Harvard University