Around the World in Seventy-Two Days

Nellie Bly
Nellie Bly's Book.
Around the World in Seventy-Two Days.
The Pictorial Weeklies Company.
28 West Twenty-Third Street.
New York City.

WHAT gave me the idea?
It is sometimes difficult to tell exactly what gives birth to an idea. Ideas
are the chief stock in trade of newspaper writers and generally they are
the scarcest stock in market, but they do come occasionally,
This idea came to me one Sunday. I had spent a greater part of the day
and half the night vainly trying to fasten on some idea for a newspaper
article. It was my custom to think up ideas on Sunday and lay them
before my editor for his approval or disapproval on Monday. But ideas
did not come that day and three o'clock in the morning found me weary
and with an aching head tossing about in my bed. At last tired and
provoked at my slowness in finding a subject, something for the week's
work, I thought fretfully:
"I wish I was at the other end of the earth!"
"And why not?" the thought came: "I need a vacation; why not take a

trip around the world?"
It is easy to see how one thought followed another. The idea of a trip
around the world pleased me and I added: "If I could do it as quickly as
Phileas Fogg did, I should go."
Then I wondered if it were possible to do the trip eighty days and
afterwards I went easily off to sleep with the determination to know
before I saw my bed again if Phileas Fogg's record could be broken.
I went to a steamship company's office that day and made a selection of
time tables. Anxiously I sat down and went over them and if I had
found the elixir of life I should not have felt better than I did when I
conceived a hope that a tour of the world might be made in even less
than eighty days.
I approached my editor rather timidly on the subject. I was afraid that
he would think the idea too wild and visionary.
"Have you any ideas?" he asked, as I sat down by his desk.
"One," I answered quietly.
He sat toying with his pens, waiting for me to continue, so I blurted
"I want to go around the world!"
"Well?" he said, inquiringly looking up with a faint smile in his kind
"I want to go around in eighty days or less. I think I can beat Phileas
Fogg's record. May I try it?"
To my dismay he told me that in the office they had thought of this
same idea before and the intention was to send a man. However he
offered me the consolation that he would favor my going, and then we
went to talk with the business manager about it.

"It is impossible for you to do it," was the terrible verdict. "In the first
place you are a woman and would need a protector, and even if it were
possible for you to travel alone you would need to carry so much
baggage that it would detain you in making rapid changes. Besides you
speak nothing but English, so there is no use talking about it; no one
but a man can do this."
"Very well," I said angrily, "Start the man, and I'll start the same day
for some other newspaper and beat him."
"I believe you would," he said slowly. I would not say that this had any
influence on their decision, but I do know that before we parted I was
made happy by the promise that if any one was commissioned to make
the trip, I should be that one.
After I had made my arrangements to go, other important projects for
gathering news came up, and this rather visionary idea was put aside
for a while.
One cold, wet evening, a year after this discussion, I received a little
note asking me to come to the office at once. A summons, late in the
afternoon, was such an unusual thing to me that I was to be excused if I
spent all my time on the way to the office wondering what I was to be
scolded for.
I went in and sat down beside the editor waiting for him to speak. He
looked up from the paper on which he was writing and asked quietly:
"Can you start around the world day after tomorrow?"
"I can start this minute," I answered, quickly trying to stop the rapid
beating of my heart.
"We did think of starting you on the City of Paris tomorrow morning,
so as to give you ample time to catch the mail train out of London.
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