About noon one sunny day in May, Carlo Zeller, called Carletto by his friends, and Clemens von Ströbl strolled down Herrengasse towards Michaelerplatz. They came out of the venerable gray building where the legal exams were held, and where Carlo had just passed his first state exam. He had not exactly distinguished himself with an excess of knowledge, but the professors had at least judged his knowledge adequate.
His friend Ströbl, a few years older, roughly twenty-six years of age, blond and stocky, with a short-clipped mustache, full cheeks, and sly, insolent, grey eyes, had made a point of attending and witnessing the exams. As had been previously arranged, they now went to Hotel Sacher so that Carletto could regenerate and restore himself after the exertions of the last hours.
Over his tails Zeller had on a black topcoat and wore a top hat and white kid gloves. He was a gorgeous young man: mid-size, slender, very lithe, with narrow hips and sloping shoulders; jet-black melancholy eyes shadowed by long eyelashes shone from his elongated, olive-complexioned face, as did a smooth, bright red, hedonistic mouth, over which a short upper lip revealed his beautiful white teeth. His whole appearance seemed attractive and exotic like that of a Spaniard or Latin American, and this interesting young man obviously caught the eye of the women, for they sent him very friendly glances.
Next to him, Clemens von Ströbl, embodying the very picture of a genuine Viennese dandy, thrust his arm into that of his friend:
“Well, it seems to me you could make a friendlier face now this stupid exam is over and done with!”
“You know, Clemens, all this folderol is still getting me down,” retorted Carletto. “We must stop by the telegraph office; I want to send a dispatch to Graz.”
“Why such a rush?” objected Ströbl. “His Honor, your trustee will simply learn of this joyful event a few hours later.”
“But I specifically promised the old man that I would telegraph him immediately.”
“Your devotion is really touching!” Ströbl said, laughing at Zeller. “We've got to wean you of this, you're not a kid any more. First we've got to eat and drink properly and then for all I care you can telegraph love poems to Graz for Professor Wendrich.” With these words he energetically dragged Carletto away, who had remained standing irresolutely in the Michaelerplatz.