|In beginning the chronicle of a modern-day adventurer, one might suppose that one should begin at the beginning--and one might suppose that "the beginning" should involve the hero's physical birth. It must be admitted, however, that people these days, even adventurers, have very little to do with their own birth, it sufficing that they look small, useless, hairless, and ugly. Since we hardly wish attributes such as these associated with our budding hero, we shall skip forward several decades, saying as little as possible, at least for now, about the intervening years.|
We meet our stalwart bravo, then, somewhere in his early twenties, fresh out of school. Having enjoyed the very best liberal education that his mother could afford, Leopold wields a considerable vocabulary, and a very general knowledge of world history and culture. Likewise, he is burdened neither with money--aside from a small savings hoarded from part-time jobs taken during school--nor with any practical skills.
And thus he finds himself hanging his proud B.A. certificate--bearing "cum laude" and other impressive phrases in dead languages--on the wall of his old room in his mother's house. This hardly dismayed his mother; in fact, it is just possible that it fell in line with long-made plans for her son's future. This, however, is mere idle speculation, and she would certainly have denied such a charge had it been made to her face; she would reply that, on the contrary, she only wished the best for her son, and that if it was best for him to quarter with her for the time being, she was more than glad to assist him in this small way. This was all quite true.