“My friends, I rather fancy I am going to leave you. I have had an idea which is going to make my fortune – an idea for a novel of a new kind. If it succeeds, as I am sure it will, there is a gold mine to be worked. I shall go on writing novels, while you will go on dealing in stocks and shares, and it is I who shall grow rich the fastest.”
The brokers laughed sceptically, as brokers would in such a case; but a few weeks afterwards appeared “Five Weeks in a Balloon”, and the prophecy was speedily fulfilled. Such, at all events, is the story that is told; and even if we take it only as a legend, we must admit that it is the sort of legend that grows up as a rule round the youth, not of talent but of genius. It brings us, in short, right up against the questions: – Had Jules Verne genius? Were the Academicians who neglected to invite him to a place of honour under the cupola dullards, jealous of his popularity?