"Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street" is a short work by the American novelist Herman Melville. The narrator, an elderly Manhattan lawyer with a very comfortable business helping wealthy men deal with mortgages, deeds, and bonds, relates the story of the strangest man he has ever known. An increase in business leads the narrator to advertise for a third scrivener, and he hires the forlorn-looking Bartleby. At first, Bartleby appears to be a boon to the practice, as he produces a large volume of high-quality work. One day, though, when asked by the narrator to help proofread a copied document, Bartleby answers with what soon becomes his stock response: "I would prefer not to." For a while Bartleby remains willing to do his main work of copying, but eventually he ceases this activity as well, so that finally he is doing nothing. And yet the narrator finds himself unable to make Bartleby leave; his unwillingness or inability to move against Bartleby mirrors Bartleby's own strange inaction.