. Set in the mid-19th century on New York City's Wall Street, it was also,
perhaps, Herman Melville's most prescient story: what if a young man caught up
in the rat race of commerce finally just said, "I would prefer not to"? The tale
is one of the final works of fiction published by Melville before, slipping into
despair over the continuing critical dismissal of his work after Moby-Dick, he
abandoned publishing fiction. The work is presented here exactly as it was
originally published in Putnam's magazine—to, sadly, critical disdain.