It was renewed over and over again in innumerable ways
No! Halicarnassus is absurd and mulish in many things, but he knows I will not be hampered with him when I am shopping, and he obeys the smallest hint, and stops outside.
To be sure he puts my temper on the rack by standing with his hands in his pockets, or by looking meek, or likely as not peering into the shop-door after me with great staring eyes and parted lips; and this is the most provoking of all. If there is anything vulgar, slipshod, and shiftless, it is a man lounging about with his hands in his pockets. If you have paws, stow them away; but if you are endowed with hands, learn to carry them properly, or else cut them off. Nor can I abide a man's looking as if he were under control. I wish him to BE submissive, but I don't wish him to LOOK so. He shall do just as he is bidden, but he shall carry himself like the man and monarch he was made to be. Let him stay where he is put, yet not as if he were put there, but as if he had taken his position deliberately. But, of all things, to have a man act as if he were a clod just emerged for the first time from his own barnyard! Upon this occasion, however, I was too much absorbed in my errand to note anybody's demeanor, and I threaded straightway the crowd of customers, went up to the counter, and inquired in a clear voice,--
The clerk looked at me with a troubled, bewildered glance, and made no reply. I supposed he had not understood me, and repeated the question. Then he answered, dubiously,--
It was my turn to look bewildered. What had I to do with breakfast-caps? What connection was there between my question and his answer? What field was there for any further inquiry? "Have you ox-bows?" imagine a farmer to ask. "We have rainbows," says the shopman. "Have you cameo-pins?" inquires the elegant Mrs. Jenkins. "We have linchpins." "Have you young apple trees?" asks the nursery-man. "We have whiffletrees." If I had wanted breakfast-caps, shouldn't I have asked for breakfast-caps? Or do the Boston people take their breakfast at one o'clock in the morning? I concluded that the man was demented, and marched out of the shop. When I laid the matter before Halicarnassus, the following interesting colloquy took place.
I. "What do you suppose it meant?"
H. "He took you for a North American Indian."
H. "He did not understand your patois."
H. "Your squaw dialect. You should have asked for a bonnet de nuit."