Herman Melville / “Bartleby the Scriviner: A Story of Wall Street” / 1853

Re: Turkey, I verily believe that buttoning himself up in so downy and blanket-like coat had a pernicious effect upon him– upon the same principle that too much oats are bad for horses. Of all the fiery afternoon blunders and flurried rashnesses of Turkey was his once moistening a ginger cake between his lips and clapping it on to a mortgage for a seal. I would prefer not to. I would prefer not to. I would prefer not to. I would prefer not to. Indeed, I might as well have essayed to strike fire with my knuckles against a bit of Windsor soap. I prefer not to. You will not? I prefer not. Very good, Bartleby, said I, in a quiet  sort of serenely severe self-possessed tone, intimating the unalterable purpose of some terrible retribution very close at hand. Bartleby is a sort of innocent and transformed Marius brooding among the ruins of Carthage! Narrator is made aware of a whisper running around. Narrator resolves to be rid of this intolerable incubus. Bartleby acquiesces to being moved to the Tombs as a vagrant. A broad meatlike man in an apron accosts narrator. It is rumored that Bartleby was a subordinate in the dead letter office.


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