In Pittsfield the machine frightened a lawyer, - not a woman, or a child, or a horse, or a donkey, - but just a lawyer; to be sure, there was nothing to indicate he was a lawyer, and still less that he was unusually timid of his kind, therefore no blame could attach for failing to distinguish him from men less nervous.

That he was frightened, no one who saw him run could deny; that he was needlessly frightened, seemed equally plain; that he was chagrined when bystanders laughed at his exhibition, was highly probable.

Now law is the business of a lawyer; it is his refuge in trouble and at the same time his source of revenue; and it is a poor lawyer who cannot make his refuge pay a little something every time it affords him consolation for real or fancied injury.

In this case the lawyer collected exactly sixty cents' worth of consolation, - two quarters and a dime, the price of two lunches and a cup of coffee, or a dozen "Pittsfield Stogies," if there be so fragrant a brand; - the lay mind cannot grasp the possibilities of two quarters and a ten-cent piece in the strong and resourceful grasp of a Pittsfield lawyer. In these thrifty New England towns one always gets a great many pennies in change; small money is the current coin; great stress is set upon a well-worn quarter, and a dime is precious in the sight of the native.

It so happened that just about the time of our arrival, the machinery of justice in and about Pittsfield was running a little wild anyway.

In an adjoining township, on the same day, ex-President Cleveland, who was whiling away time in the philosophic pursuit of fishing, was charged with catching and retaining longer than the law allowed a bass which was a quarter of an inch under the legal limit of eight inches. Now in the excitement of the moment that bass no doubt felt like a whale to the great man, and as it neared the surface, after the manner of its kind, it of course looked as long as a pickerel; then, too; the measly fish was probably a silver bass, and once in the boat shrunk a quarter of an inch, just to get the eminent gold Democrat in trouble. At all events, the friend who was along gallantly claimed the bass as his, appeared in the Great Barrington district court, and paid a fine of two dollars.

Now these things are characteristic of the place, daubs of local coloring; the summer resident upon whom the provincials thrive is not disturbed; but the stranger who is within the gates, who is just passing through, from whom no money in the way of small purchases and custom is to be expected, he is legitimate plunder, even though he be so distinguished a stranger as an ex-President of the United States.

A local paper related the fishing episode as follows:

"Ex-President Grover Cleveland, who is spending the summer in Tyringham, narrowly escaped being arrested at Lake Garfield, in Monterey, Thursday afternoon. As it was, he received a verbal summons to appear in the Great Barrington district court this morning and answer the charge of illegal fishing. But when the complainants learned who the distinguished person was with whom they were dealing, they let drop the matter of swearing out a warrant, and in Mr. Cleveland's place appeared Cassius C. Scranton, of Monterey.

"He pleaded guilty to catching a bass less than eight inches in length, which is the minimum allowed by law, and was fined two dollars by Judge Sanford, but as Mr. Cleveland said that he caught the fish, there is still a good deal of doubt among the residents of southern Berkshire as to which one was actually guilty. However, if the hero of the Hawaiian enterprise was the unlucky angler who caught the bass, he was relieved of the unpleasant notoriety of being summoned into court on a warrant by the very charitable act of Mr. Scranton, of Monterey, who will forever go down in the history of that town as the stalwart defender of the ex-president."

It is not conceivable that such a ridiculous display of impecunious justice would be made elsewhere in the country. In the South the judge would dismiss the complainant or pay the fine himself; in the West he would be mobbed if he did not. New York would find a tactful and courteous way of avoiding the semblance of an arrest or the imposition of a fine; but in thrifty Massachusetts, and in thrice thrifty Great Barrington, and in twice thrice thrifty Pittsfield, pennies count, are counted, and most conscientiously received and receipted for by those who set the wheels of justice in motion.

North Street is broad and West Street is broad, and there is abundance of room for man and beast.

At the hour in question there were no women, children, or horses in the street; the crossings were clear save for a young man with a straw hat, whose general appearance betrayed no sign of undue timidity. He was on the far crossing, sixty or seventy feet distant. When the horn was sounded for the turn down into West Street, he turned, gave one look at the machine, jumped, and ran. In a few moments the young man with the straw hat came to the place where the machine had stopped. He was followed by a short, stubby little friend with a sandy beard, who, while apparently acting as second, threatened each moment to take the matter into his own hands and usurp the place of principal.

Straw Hat was placable and quite disposed to accept an expression of regret that fright had been occasioned.

Sandy Beard would not have it so, and urged Straw Hat to make a complaint.

Straw Hat spurred on his flagging indignation and asked for a card.

Sandy Beard told Straw Hat not to be deterred by soft words and civility, and promised to stand by him, or rather back of him; whereupon something like the following might have occurred.

Sandy Beard. - Then you know what is to be done?

Straw Hat. - Not I, upon my soul!

Sandy Beard. - We wear no clubs here, but you understand me.

Straw Hat. - What! arrest him.

Sandy Beard. - Why to be sure; what can I mean else?

Straw Hat. - But he has given me no provocation.

Sandy Beard. - Now, I think he has given you the greatest provocation in the world. Can a man commit a more heinous offence against another than to frighten him? Ah! by my soul, it is a most unpardonable breach of something.

Straw Hat. - Breach of something! Ay, ay; but is't a breach of the peace? I have no acquaintance with this man. I never saw him before in my life.

Sandy Beard. - That's no argument at all; he has the less right to take such a liberty.

Straw Hat. - Gad, that's true. I grow full of anger, Sir Sandy! fire ahead! Odds, writs and warrants! I find a man may have a good deal of valor in him, and not know it! But couldn't I contrive to have a little right on my side?

Sandy Beard. - What the devil signifies right when your courage is concerned. Do you think Verges, or my little Dogberry ever inquired where the right lay? No, by my soul; they drew their writs, and left the lazy justice of the peace to settle the right of it.

Straw Hat. - Your words are a grenadier's march to my heart! I believe courage must be catching! I certainly do feel a kind of valor rising as it were, - a kind of courage, as I may say. Odds, writs and warrants! I'll complain directly.

(With apologies to Sheridan.)

And the pair went off to make their complaint.

Suppose each had been given then and there the sixty cents he afterwards received and duly receipted for, would it have saved time and trouble? Who knows? but the diversion of the afternoon would have been lost.

In a few moments an officer quite courteously - refreshing contrast - notified me that complaint was in process of making.

I found the chief of police with a copy of the city ordinance trying to draw some sort of a complaint that would fit the extraordinary case, for the charge was not the usual one, that the machine was going at an unlawful speed, but that a lawyer had been frightened; to find the punishment that would fit that crime was no easy task.

The ordinance is liberal, - ten miles an hour; and the young man and his mentor had not said the speed of the automobile was greater than the law allowed, hence the dilemma of the chief; but we discussed a clause which provided that vehicles should not be driven through the streets in a manner so as to endanger public travel, and he thought the complaint would rest on that provision.

However lacking the bar of Pittsfield may be in the amenities of life, the bench is courtesy itself. There was no court until next day; but calling at the judge's very delightful home, which happens to be on one of the interesting old streets of the town, he said he would come down and hear the matter at two o'clock, so I could get away that afternoon.

The first and wisest impulse of the automobilist is to pay whatever fine is imposed and go on, but frightening a lawyer is not an every-day occurrence. I once frightened a pair of army mules; but a lawyer, - the experience was too novel to let pass lightly. The game promised to be worth the candle.

The scene shifts to a dingy little room in the basement of the court-house; present, Straw Hat and Sandy Beard, with populace.

To corroborate - wise precaution on the part of a lawyer in his own court - their story, they bring along a volunteer witness in over-alls, - the three making a trio hard to beat.

Straw Hat takes the stand and testifies he is an unusually timid man, and was most frightened to death.

Sandy Beard's testimony is both graphic and corroborative.

The witness in over-alls, with some embellishments of his own, supports Sandy Beard.

The row of bricks is complete.

The court removes a prop by remarking that the ordinance speed has not been exceeded.

The bricks totter.

Whereupon, Sandy Beard now takes the matter into his own hands, and, ignoring the professional acquirements of his principal, addresses the court and urges the imposition of a fine, - a fine being the only satisfaction, and source of immediate revenue, conceivable to Sandy Beard.

Meanwhile Straw Hat is silent; the witness in over-alls is perturbed.

The court considers the matter, and says "the embarrassing feature of the case is that it has yet to be shown that the defendant was going at a rate exceeding ten miles an hour, and upon this point the witnesses did not agree. There was evidence tending to prove the machine was going ten miles an hour, but that would not lead to conviction under the first clause of the ordinance; but there is another clause which says that a machine must not be run in such a manner as to endanger or inconvenience public travel. What is detrimental to public travel? Does it mean to run it so as not to frighten a man of nerve like the chief of police, or some timid person? It is urged that not one man in a thousand would have been frightened like Mr. - ; but a man is bound to run his machine in the streets so as to frighten no one, therefore the defendant is fined five dollars and costs."

The fine is duly paid, and Messrs. Straw Hat, Sandy Beard, and Over-alls, come forward, receive and receipt for sixty cents each.

Their wrath was appeased, their wounded feelings soothed, their valor satisfied, - one dollar and eighty cents for the bunch.