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Hi people!

I can't seem to understand the meaning of one of the sentences in the following extract. It was taken from the short story Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville. For those of you who haven't read it, let me give you a little bit of context:

The narrator is a lawyer and he is describing one of his employees (Turkey). As he didn't like Turkey's coat, he decided to give him one of his own. Now, the sentence I'm having some difficulty dealing with is the one in bolds:

"One winter day I presented Turkey with a highly-respectable looking coat of my own, a padded grey coat, of a most comfortable warmth, and which buttoned straight up from the knee to the neck. I thought Turkey would appreciate the favor, and abate his rashness and obstreperousness of afternoons. But no. I verily believe that buttoning himself up in so downy and blanket-like a coat had a pernicious effect upon him; upon the same principle that too much oats are bad for horses. In fact, precisely as a rash, restive horse is said to feel his oats, so Turkey felt his coat. It made him insolent. He was a man whom prosperity harmed."

Can anyone explain to me the meaning of this sentence? I'm puzzled with the use of the verb "feel" here. What does it mean? Something like "suffer from" or "resent" / "be resentful to"?

Thanks a lot!

Mara.

PS: Is "puzzled with" OK or should I have written "puzzled about"?
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Hi Mara,

In fact, precisely as a rash, restive horse is said to feel his oats, so Turkey felt his coat. It made him insolent. He was a man whom prosperity harmed."

'Feeel your oats' is a well-known idiom. It probably derives from the image of a horse eating its oats and then feeling good and feeling restless. As an idiom, it means to feel very confident about yourself, that you can do anything and that you are ready to do anything. We sometimes say this, for example, of young boys who are beginning to change into young men. 'He is feeling his oats.' Here, 'feel' means 'to be aware of, to feel the effect of'.

"puzzled about" or 'puzzled by'.

Best wishes, Clive
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I've never heard the phrase but oats are known to make horses act a bit 'silly' or excited or bursting with energy. Don't know why but they do. Which leads to the meaning here.