"And now," continued Mascarin, "I have come to your aid, and what do you say to a situation with a salary of twelve thousand francs?"
This sum was so much greater than Paul had dared to hope, that he believed Mascarin was amusing himself at his expense.
"It is not kind of you to laugh at me, under the present circumstances," remarked he.
Mascarin was not laughing at him; but it as fully half an hour before he could prove this to Paul.
"You would like more proof of what I say," said he, after a long conversation. "Very well, then; shall I advance your first month's salary?" And as he spoke, he took a thousand-franc note from his desk, and offered it to Paul. The young man rejected the note; but the force of the argument struck him; and he asked if he was capable of carrying out the duties which such a salary doubtless demanded.
"Were I not certain of your abilities, I should not offer it to you," replied Mascarin. "I am in a hurry now, or I would explain the whole affair; but I must defer doing so until to-morrow, when please come at the same hour as you did to-day."
Even in his state of surprise and stupefaction, Paul felt that this was a signal for him to depart.
"A moment more," said Mascarin. "You understand that you can no longer remain at the Hotel de Perou? Try and find a room in this neighborhood; and when you have done so, leave the address at the office. Good-bye, my young friend, until to-morrow, and learn to bear good fortune."