Professor Vanya, believing he will succeed tonight where that dolt Isaac Newton  failed, is attempting to turn lead into gold. He tells his daughter Margaret, “In a few moments, I will take out of this oven the dream of every alchemist since the days of the great Flaubert in 1382.” That was 500 years before Gustave Flaubert, so I have no idea who he is talking about. Unless Flaubert also invented time travel.
His daughter is skeptical of his ravings, but he claims they will be richer than Croesus who invented the pants-pressing machine, and richer than Midas who founded a chain of muffler repair shops. For the time being, though, he is a little short; also doesn’t have much cash.
He gets a visit from his downstairs neighbor Hodges asking for the 2,000 francs Vanya owes him. He threatens to take Vanya to court if he doesn’t have his francs by Monday.
When the timer goes off, he asks Margaret to open the kiln door. She pulls out a tray, but it is mere slag — 15 years wasted. He is so distraught, he drinks from a bottle of poison. Margaret runs down the hall to get her fiancee Charles — a real scientist. It must have been that 24-hour poison, because he is quickly back up and pseudo-sciencing the shit out of that stuff.
Margaret is afraid the constant failures will destroy her father Vanya. The next time he has a batch in the kiln, she secretly replaces the slag with a gold ingot she has purchased — for about $5,000,000 given the size of it. When she and Vanya look at the next day’s results, he is ecstatic to find a block of gold. That night, Margaret secretly sneaks in and puts the same gold ingot back into the kiln so Vanya will think he has succeeded in making a second bar. Margaret is able to continue the ruse until Vanya tells her to sell a ingot to pay Hodges back. Charles gives her the cash to pay back Hodges.
That night, Margaret leaves another gold ingot in the kiln for her father to find. Unfortunately, that night, Hodges breaks in and steals the only real gold ingot.
The next morning, Hodges shows up and asks for his francs. Margaret was going to take the gold to the “gold market” that morning to pay him back. He sees the gold ingot is gone, so concludes she must have taken it. At this point, he believes he has made at least seven ingots, so couldn’t she have taken one of the others?