Two days afterwards the professor returned to his pupil and
invited him to accompany him on a pleasure trip. Olivier excused
himself on account of his desperate condition--one of his
creditors being in pursuit of him for a debt of one thousand
francs. 'Is that all?' said Chauvignac; and pulling out his
pocket-book he added,--'Here's a bank-note; you can repay me to-
morrow.' 'Why, man, you are mad!' exclaimed Olivier. 'Be it
so,' said Chauvignac; 'and in my madness I give you credit for
another thousand-franc bank-note to go and get thirty thousand
francs which are waiting for you.' 'Now, do explain yourself,
for you are driving ME mad.' 'Nothing more easy. Here is the
fact,' said Chauvignac. 'M. le Comte de Vandermool, a wealthy
Belgian capitalist, a desperate gamester if ever there was one,
and who can lose a hundred thousand francs without much
inconvenience, is now at Boulogne, where he will remain a week.
This millionnaire must be thinned a little. Nothing is easier.
One of my friends and confreres, named Chaffard, is already with
the count to prepare the way. We have only now to set to work.
You are one of us--that's agreed--and in a few days you will
return, to satisfy your creditors and buy your mistress a shawl.'
'Stop a bit. You are going too fast. Wait a little. I haven't
as yet said Yes,' replied Olivier. 'I don't want your Yes now;
you will say it at Boulogne. For the present go and pay your
bill. We set out in two hours; the post-horses are already
ordered; we shall start from my house: be punctual.'