Fred Fearnot's Revenge, or Defeating a Congressman
FRED BEGINS A FIGHT ON THE WOULD-BE CONGRESSMAN.
The boys went out on the lake in two boats, and Dick and Joe were
astonished at the number and quality of the fish they caught. They both
became wildly enthusiastic over the sport, as Well is the beautiful
scenery that greeted them as far as they could see.
"By George, Fred!" exclaimed Dick. "I've got a pretty plump
little bank account down home. I'm strongly tempted to buy a lot up here
myself and build a log cabin on it, where I can come up and camp and
enjoy the fishing."
"That's all right, old man," said Fred. "You'll find it a good
investment, for in less than a year the value of these lots will be
doubled; but whether you buy or not, you can come up here and take
possession of my cabin any time you please, whether I am here or not.
Terry has bought a lot; so has Evelyn, and nearly twenty have already
been sold to wealthy families. It's going to be the prettiest summer
resort in the whole State."
"Then I'll take one of them," said Dick.
"That's right," laughed Terry, "and if you should happen to fall
in love with one of the girls back there in that old house, you'll find
that a splendid investment, too."
"Why, has she got any money?" Dick asked.
"No, not much; if the old man should die there'd be only about a
couple of thousand dollars apiece for them; but they're splendid
housekeepers, healthy, good-natured and as strong as wood-choppers."
Just then Dick got a fish on his hook that required all of his,
skill to land, and when he got the prize into the boat, Fred suggested
that they go ashore and turn the catch over to Black Mose to prepare for
"Oh, thunder!" exclaimed Joe, "why do you want to quit fishing
when they bite this way?"
"Why, they bite all the year round here," laughed Terry. "You can
catch five hundred between this and sunset. But what's the use? What can
you do with them? It's really a crime to catch them and throw them away.
You can get used to it after a while. You can come out a little before
sunset and catch enough for supper, get up a little before sunrise and
catch enough for breakfast; and then at noon; three times a day, as long
as you please."
"Thunder! don't you eat anything out here but fish?"
"Oh, yes, but I was just telling you how you could get as much as
you wanted. We've got plenty of other provisions on hand, and there's
game in the woods."
They spent the afternoon settling down in their quarters, talking
over proposed improvements on the place, and the possibilities of the
future. Fred and Terry had many stories to tell Dick and Joe of their
adventures with a lot of ignorant settlers in the great woods back of
the lake, and of the attempt that had been made to produce the
impression that the place was haunted.
"Yes, I remember that." laughed Dick. "Terry told we about it,
but you broke it up just in time."
"You bet we did," laughed Terry, "and they've given us no trouble
The next day a couple of farmers driving by, stopped in their
wagon to talk with the boys. They were a hard-headed pair of old
fellows, and one of them asked Fred if he, had heard about the new law
that was going to be passed to give everybody the right to fish in the
lake that wanted to.
"Yes," said Fred, "I heard about it. It will never become a law."
"Oh, yes, it will," chuckled the old fellow. "Carter says it's
sure to be a law."
"Well it might pass the Legislature," said Fred, "but the
Legislature can't make a law that interferes with the right of private
property, that will stand for a moment before the courts, if it were to
pass a law giving everybody the right to go into your orchard and take
fruit, without your consent, the courts would very quickly declare it
unconstitutional. I haven't denied to any one the privilege of fishing
here, except to those fellows who came here with clubs to run me off.
They never shall fish in it again."
The two old farmers drove on to town, and in the afternoon, when
they came back, they were chucklin over the news they had picked up to
the effect that Assemblyman Carter had ordered Fearnot out of his
office, and they couldn't resist the temptation to stop and speak to him
"Oh, yes," said Fred, "he did and like a good, law-abiding
citizen, I recognized his right to order me out. I have the right to
order anybody off of this property, just as he had to order me out of
his office; or you to order any one off of your farm. So you see I
recognized the same right that I claimed for myself."
That put a different face on it. But one of the farmers asked
what Carter had ordered him out of his office for.
"Oh, we were talking about that bill he has introduced in the
Assembly and he got mad because I offered him fifty dollars for his
opinion of it as a lawyer and not as a politician."
"Gosh! I didn't hear that," said the farmer.
"No, of course not. You probably heard only his side of it. He
knew it was unconstitutional, and that it couldn't stand before the
courts, and I pulled fifty dollars out of my pocket, shoved it at him
and told him I would give it to him for his opinion as to the
contitutionality of it."
"And he wouldn't take it?" the farmer asked.
"No, for it would ruin his reputation as a lawyer if he said it
was constitutional, because every man with a thimbleful of brains knows
that it isn't, and he dared not say that it was unconstitutional, for
fear that he'd make you fellows around here angry with him. You see, my
father down in New York City, is a very prominent lawyer himself, and he
merely laughed when he read the bill that, Carter had introduced in the
"He's a big lawyer, eh?" the farmer asked.
"Oh, yes, they call him a big lawyer. Any lawyer is a big one
whose practise is worth fifty thousand dollars a year."
"Gosh!" exclaimed the farmer, "does he make fifty thousand
dollars a year?"
"Yes," said Fred, "and there are lawyers there who make three
times as much."
"Then what in the name of common sense are you buying up property
way up here in the backwoods for, if you've got all that money?"
"Why, for the good air, the pure water and the fine fishing, and
the sweet companionship of you farmers. You don't know how much in love
with you fellows I am. If I hadn't been so much in love with all of you,
I would have gone away last when those fellows tackled me with clubs."
"Well, I wouldn't stay with people who didn't want me?"
"Oh, you don't know what you'd do, if you fell in love with a
whole crowd of people."
"Gosh! but you're a queer one," said the elder of the two
"No, not at all. I wanted to stay up here just because all you
people are queer. We haven't any queer people down in New York City."
"Gosh! I hear you've got more rascals down there than in all the
rest of the world," said another farmer. "They're up to all kinds of
swindling schemes, and when they catch a fellow down there from the
country, they rob him of every cent of money he has."
"Well is that any worse than you fellows tried to do with me last
summer, when you came down here a dozen at once, with clubs in your
hands. I suppose you didn't think about that at all? If I had pushed the
law on you, there would have been fifteen to twenty people sent from
this neighborhood to the State prison, and after you failed to run me
out with clubs, you've got your rascally Assemblyman to try to pass a
law to take away from me the control of the property that I paid in
cold, hard cash for. I think our burglars and pickpockets are saints
compared with such people."
Terry, Dick and Joe were chuckling at the rasping sermon Fred
preached to the old farmers as they sat in the wagon, and the latter,
unable to stand it any longer, drove off without good-by.
"You see how it is," laughed Fred, turning to Dick and Joe, as
the farmers drove away, "People in different sections of the country
have different ideas about the right or wrong of things. Those old
fellows actually believed it was right to come down here with clubs and
drive me away. Some three or four years ago they attacked an old
gentleman who wanted to buy the property here, and gave him such a
fright that he never showed up in the county again. But they struck a
snag when they struck this boy."
"You bet they did," laughed Terry, "and they struck two snags
when I came up to help him."
Several days passed, when a party of guests came out from the
hotel to spend the day with the boys at the lake, and of course the
latter entertained them royally. The Welborn family and two other young
ladies from the hotel were among them.
"What's the matter with you all stopping out here for a week?"
Fred asked. "Here's an extra cabin at your disposal, with two beds and a
dining-room in it, and there are two
extra rooms up at the farmhouse that you can have; an of course
Mrs. Welborn can chaperon the young ladies while Mr. Welborn can stroll
around, do a little fishing and gunning, smoking his pipe, taking his
daily nap and enjoying himself just according to his own sweet will."
"I'm afraid it would be too much trouble for you," said Mrs. Welborn.
"On the contrary," said Fred. "it would be no trouble at all. We won't
have to do a bit of extra work, and would have the pleasure of your
company. The lake and the woods are full of fish and game, and in my
estimation the water and air are the best to be had anywhere on the
"Well, but we have our rooms at the hotel."
"Give them up," said Fred. "Let Mr. Welborn drive back, settle
the bill, bring your trunks out, and camp here till you get ready to go
home, and you won't have a cent to pay."
"Well, I'll leave it to the ladies." said Welborn, who was
secretly eager to accept the invitation, as it made a difference of
fifty or sixty dollars a week to him financially. Besides they were all
tired of the fare at the hotel.
They finally agreed to it, and later in the afternoon Welborn
returned alone to town, to come back the next day with the trunks of the
party. The two Dedham girls were not pleased with the arrangement at
all, as the presence of four pretty city girls greatly interfered with
their enjoyment of the company of the four boys, but of course they
could not say anything, as the family received rent for the two rooms
that had been taken for the accommodation of the visitors.
Of course they had a jolly time. It was fishing and hunting every
day, and dancing or singing to Black Mose's banjo or violin in the
evening. Other visitors came out from town nearly every day, and it was
a continuous picnic for the boys. At last the convention met in a
neighboring county to make a nomination of the candidate for Congress,
and as Fred had expected an hoped, Assemblyman Carter recieved the
"Oh, glory!" exclaimed Fred, "won't I have fun with that fellow
now! I am going to make life a burden to him. His party has about two
thousand majority in the district, and to that extent he has an
advantage; but I've got points on him from which I can overwhelm him
with ridicule, which is something but few men can stand. For the next
four weeks I'll be the busiest boy in the whole State."
"Why, are you going to leave here?" Mr. Welborn asked. "I'll be
away a good deal of my time, but the other fellows will be here, and I
want you and the ladies to stay right here. Everything on the place is
at your disposal, and if anything is wanted from town, Terry will order
it. Of course I shall stop here just as much as I can, and it may be
that part of the time I shall want Terry to go with me, but don't think
of leaving until you are ready to return to your own home; and next
season, while your own cottage is building, take possession of that one
alongside of mine and spend the season here. But about that we can talk
later. I'm going into Ashton tomorrow, and may be gone two or three
The next morning Fred went into town and had a long consultation
with Lawyer Watson.
"Now, see here," said Fred, "you are pretty well acquainted
throughout this district, and you belong to the same party that Carter
does. Of course you don't care the snap of your finger about Carter, and
you have no political aspirations yourself. I want you to give me the
name of some bright young fellow in the district who can be persuaded to
run as an independent candidate and divide Carter's vote."
"I don't know where I can find one," said Watson, "for he
couldn't be elected and it would take a lot of money."
"I'll furnish every dollar of the money," said Fred. "It shan't
cost the candidate a single penny, and I'll stump the district and bring
in other speakers, too."
"Well, upon what sort of platform can an independent candidate
run against him?"
"Why, I don't want anything better than that bill of his
introduced in the Assembly. It's such an outrageous attack upon the
rights of private property that, were it properly prsented, hundreds if
not thousands of formers could be turned against him."
"Well, I know a struggling young lawyer over at Springdale, a
little village in the next county, who is about twenty-five years of
age, who studied law while he was teaching school, and supported at the
same time a widowed mother and a sister. He's a bright fellow, and a
really good speaker. But whether you could persuade him to make an
independent fight against Carter is more than I can say."
"Does he belong to Carter's party?" Fred asked.
"Yes; but I don't think he's ever been much of a partisan."
"Has he got a clean record?"
"Yes; not a word can be said about his character."
"Are you well acquainted with him?"
"Yes, I've known him all his life. In fact, he's a distant
relative of mine. I was the first one to suggest to him that he study
law, for I know his ability."
"Very good. How far is it to Springdale?"
"Twenty-five miles from here," said Watson. "Drive over with me,
then, at once," said Fred.
Watson hesitated for a few moments, and Fred added:
"I'll pay you well for your time. I'm in this thing now to fight
it right up to the breastworks."
"All right, I'll go." said Watson, and they went around to the
livery stable, procured a buckboard and a splendid horse, and half an
hour later they were off for Springdale.
They reached there late In the afternoon, put up at a little
hotel, the only one in the place, for the village numbered only about
eight hundred in population. Watson at once sent for Chapman, the young
lawyer, and he at once came to the hotel to see him. There he introduced
him to Fred as a friend and client of his, who had invested a good deal
of money in and around Dedham Lake.
Fred soon discovered, that young Chapman was a bright young
fellow, with a great fund of good, common, horse sense, and he proceeded
at once to explain to him the nature of his business with him, saying:
"I want you to announce yourself as an independent candidate for
Congress in this district, against Carter, or anybody else."
"Why, my dear sir," said Chapman, "I'm not able to pay the
expenses of a race for constable in this township."
"Don't worry about the expenses. I'm willing to put up every
dollar of the money that's required forexpenses. It shall not cost you a
cent, and, above all that, I 'll pay you fifty dollars a week to
compensate you for the neglect of your business during the campaign.
There are no politics in it whatever. It is simplya personal fight
between Carter and myself. Were I old enough and a citizen of the
district, I would make the race myself. he introduced a bill in the
Legislature which is an outrageous assaut upon the right of private
property, and every owner of an acre of land in the district will be
interested in it."
So eloquently did Fred argue the matter with young Chapman and
presented the ease to him so logically that he admitted he was strongly
tempted to make the announcement of his candidacy.
"But I can see no chance of an election," he finally remarked.
"No," said Fred, "I don't expect to see you elected, but I do
expect to see Carter beaten. But it will give you a reputation
throughout the district that will make your future extremely bright. You
want to make it solely upon one point, and that is the utter unfitness
of any man to be a legislator or a lawmaker, who would introduce a bill
into a legislative body that is so utterly outrageous and such a violent
assault upon the natural and acquired rights of property owners. I'm a
pretty good speaker myself, and I'll hire others to help you make the
"I'll do it," said Chapman. "I've nothing to lose and everything
"That's the way to look at it," said Fred. "I'll sit down right
here and help you compile the letter in which you announce your
candidacy, and then you can call, upon your personnal friends and have
them help you push it."
"Write the letter yourself," suggested Chapman. "for I think you
are better posted on that particular question than I am."