Again I sat ruminating what I should do. Mortified as I was at his behavior, and resolved as I had been to dismiss him when he entered my office, nevertheless I felt something superstitious knocking at my heart, and forbidding me to carry out my purpose, and denouncing me for a villain if I dared to breathe one bitter word against this forlornest of mankind. At last, familiarly drawing my chair behind his screen, I sat down and said: ‘Bartleby, never mind, then, about revealing your history; but let me entreat you, as a friend, to comply as far as may be with the usages of this office. Say now, you will help to examine papers tomorrow or next day: in short, say now, that in a day or two you will begin to be a little reasonable:—say so, Bartleby.’
'At present I would prefer not to be a little reasonable,' was his mildly cadaverous reply.
Herman Melville, “Bartleby, the Scrivner: A Story of Wall Street”