Fred Fearnot's Revenge, or Defeating a Congressman

CHAPTER IX.
CONCLUSION

Fred was highly elated when he read Carter's explanation and apology for the infamous Carter bill.

"It's a tremendous club," be exclaimed, "It may satisfy some of his followers, but I can read it to the audiences and show, by his own admission, that as a lawmaker he is a dead failure. He frankly admits that he had trained and introduced a bill without giving due thought to it, placing in jeopardy the right of a taxpayer to have, control of his own property; and, worse still, he makes the unconscious admission that he had placed a little hike covering about three hundred acres, in the same category with navigable streams, and yet he is asking the people to make him one of the lawmakers for the United States."

He cut out the article, and at the next meeting, in the fourth county, he had a tremendous lot of fun with Carter. His ridicule convulsed the audience and his sarcastic comments on his abilities as a lawmaker were simply scorching. his entire speech almost was devoted to sarcasm and ridicule, except where the depicted Chapman's career from the time that his father died up to the present moment, and his description was so eloquently pathetic as to bring tears to the eyes of many.

Carter's explanation hurt him even more than his silence had done, and now, during the last week of his campaign, his friends were really alarmed from one end of the district to the other. All sorts of inducements to withdraw were offered Chapman, and, on his spurning them, several reckless partisans undertook to remove Fred Fearnot from the canvass. They intended to stop him as he and Chapman drove from one town to another in a buggy and give him such a beating as to force him to retire for repairs for the rest of the campaign. Fortunately for Fred, however, they drove out in a two-seated vehicle and terry Olcott was with him.

They were held up by four men with masks on their faces as they were driving through a densely wooded section of the country.

"Hello!" exclaimed Chapman, "we are hold up by highwaymen."

"What do you fellows want?" Fred asked.

"We want you and your money, too," replied one of the men.

"Well, you can't have either," said Fred, who heard the click of Terry's revolver on the seat behind him.

"Oh, I guess we can," retorted the would-be highwayman presenting a revolver at Fred and ordering him to alight on pain of death.

The next moment Terry, blazed away at the fellow, hitting him in the right shoulder, causing him to drop his revolver. Then he began firing at the other three, all of whom took to the woods, in fear of their lives.

"Well, what would you have done if Olcott hadn't been armed?" asked Chapman.

"Why, I would have done the shooting myself."

"The deuce! I didn't know that you were armed."

"The thunder you didn't! Are you making this campaign without a weapon in your pocket?"

"Yes, I never carried a weapon in my life."

"Well, you'll learn as you grow older, I guess," laughed Fred. "It's against the law to carry concealed weapons, but a man is justified in doing so under certain circumstances. Olcott and I own a ranch out West, where we frequently have to stand off cattle thieves, road agents and redskins, and we are both alive to-day simply because we had our little guns handy."

"But you didn't expect anything of the kind in this part of the world, did you?"

"No, but I knew there was considerable feeling excited, and that we were liable to be attacked at any time by half-drunken fools, so we are always prepared for an emergency. Under no circumstances would we draw unless weapons were drawn by the other side. You noticed my fight at Homer with the bully. He was nearly double my size and weight, I drew no weapon and only took up the chair after he had seized one. I would actually submit to a beating before drawing, unless the other fellow drew, or a third party mixed in with it. It's always best to be prepared for any danger that may turn up."

"Well. I confess that I'm glad that Olcott was armed, but I'm more astonished to find highwaymen in this part of the country."

"Well, to tell you the truth," said Fred, "I don't believe they were highwaymen."

"The deuce you don't!"

"No, I don't. In the first place, they were not dressed like highwaymen, and in the second place, their actions showed that they were novice in holding up people. Had they been regular highwaymen they would have got the drop on us, and Terry would not have been able to draw without being bowled over himself."

"Well, what do you think they were, then?"

"I think they were simply friends of Carter, who came out here to prevent us from reaching the meeting to-night."

"Surely you don't mean that, do you, Fearnot?"

"Yes, I do. They thought that we'd be frightened nearly to death and - would leap out of the vehicle, drop down on our knees and beg for our lives, but they got a great deal more than they bargained for."

"Yes," said Terry, "that first fellow was hit in the shoulder and he let his revolver fall to the ground and it's lying there yet."

"Why the deuce didn't you got it?" Fred asked. "It might be a clue to the identify of the fellow."

"Well, you drove off too soon."

They reached the town and the story was told at the hotel that they had been held up by four men wearing masks on their faces, some five or six miles out of town, and that two of them had been shot.

In less than half an hour two men in two buggies were seen driving rapidly out of town in the direction that Fred and Chapman had come, and they were ardent Carter men, too.

Of course the boys didn't hint that the Carter men had anything to do with it, for it would have been foolish to make such a charge.

The meeting there was a great success, notwithstanding quite a number of Carter men hissed Chapman while he was speaking. They tried it on Fred, and he soon shut them up by saying that a wise man of Greece had once said that there were but three things that hissed--geese, serpents and fools.

"To which class do you belong, my friends?"

The question set the audience in a roar at the expense of the hissers, and they kept silent after that.

Again he and Terry sang for the audience at the conclusion of the speeches, and altogether the meeting was as successful as any they had held during the canvass. Early the next day they started out to drive to the next town for they were in a part of the district where there were no railroads. They had scarcely reached the town when they received a telegram that two well-known Carter men had been brought in wounded by pistol shots, but they claimed that the shooting was accidental. Fred immediately telegraphed back, asking that an investigation be made, and have them forced to tell the truth about it.

Late in the afternoon a big, burly fellow appeared at the hotel a little the worse for liquor and began a most outrageous abuse of Fearnot and Chapman.

Terry was mildly guying him, whereupon the bully struck at him, knocking his hat from his head. Quick as a flash Terry was giving him an exhibition of his skill as a boxer. He knocked him down the first blow, before the fellow really I dreamed that Terry was fighting at all. Then as fast as he attempted to get up, Terry would give him one on first one side and then the other of his neck, until at last he lay down and looked hopelessly up at him. The others, stood around and laughed, for it appeared so ridiculous to them that a youth like Olcott should get the best of the would-be bully. The fellow got up looked suspiciously at Terry and started off without uttering another word. As he did so Terry flapped his arms against his sides and crowed like a cock, which set the crowd into a roar of laughter.

"Say," called Terry, "are you a Carter man?"

"Yes. I am, and I'm proud of it," was the reply.

"Well, I thought you were. You look like one and you can't fight any better than one."

"See here," sang out another one in the crowd who had run up when they beard that a fight was going on there, "do you mean to say that a Carter man can't fight?"

"Well, not exactly that," said Terry, "but I haven't run across one yet that could put up a fight that might really be called one."

"Well, I'm a Carter man," said the other, "and can give you all the fighting you want."

"Well, I'm not spoiling for a fight," said Terry. "I'm a Chapman man, not old enough to vote, and I don't want to fight unless I can make a vote for him. If you lick me I'll whoop it up for Carter, and if I lick you, you're to work for and vote for my man."

"I'm your man," said the other, throwing off his coat.

Terry threw off his coat also and found that the other fellow was like the average countryman, who believes in clinching and throwing his man the moment be gets into a fight. But he stood him off and downed him four times.

"What's the matter with you?" Terry asked.

"I don't know, unless I've got too big a dose of Chapman."

"Well, just hurrah for Chapman and you'll feel better," laughed Terry, and, to the astonishment of the bystanders, he walked up to Terry, extended his hand and yelled out:

"Hurrah for Chapman!"

The incident created a great deal of amusement, as well as something of a sensation, and the report went around the town that Chapman had a prize-fighter along with him, who had knocked out two of Carter's men down at the hotel. Of course that struck the sporting blood of the whole town and at the meeting that night Terry attracted as much attention as Chapman or Fearnot, and when they saw that he was not going to speak, loud and continuous calls were made for him. He got up, advanced to the platform laying his left arm on the muscles of his right arm, and, waving his fist up and down, as if to see whether or not the arm was all right, looked at the crowd that had been calling for him and said:

"Now, you fellows shut up. I won't make a speech, but I'll sing you a song," and he did, to the infinite delight of the crowd, after which the meeting broke up.

There were only two other counties in the district to be visited, and at each one the meeting was successful. Then they started back to wind up at Ashton. The Carter people held no meeting, as they were too busy preparing for the contest on the morrow. Carter was in the town, consulting with his managers in his office, only two blocks away from where the Chapman meeting was being held. The news was brought to him that Fearnot was roasting him unmercifully and that his own friends were thoroughly disgusted, not to say alarmed.

"There's nothing to be alarmed about," he said. "He may reduce our majority a few hundred, but we'll win out easily."

At the meeting, Fred, in winding up his speech, frankly stated to the audience that while he was fighting for the rights of the people to control their own property, he was also fighting for the rights the people to control thier own property, he was also fighting for revenge for the assault that had been made upon him personally by Carter.

"And I am satisfied with my work," he added, "for by midnight to-morrow you will hear the news that Carter is defeated. We have met thousands of honest people in the district and are satisfied that more than one thousand of them will vote against him, and that will defeat him. It is possible that two thousand may vote against him. I do not hope for the election of my friend here, for I never expected it. But he has made a splendid fight to save the honor of this district, and for that all decent men and women should be grateful to him."

The next day the battle of the ballots opened, and all day long Fred and Terry watched the number of people that applied to Chapman's workers at the polls for tickets. They were astonished at their number and kept tally. That night a big crowd gathered around the headquarters of each side, waiting for the returns from other towns and counties. At Ashton Carter's vote had been cut down one-third, right in his own home, and it made him sick. Later on in the evening, when the news began to come in from other counties, it was seen that the splendid fight made by Fred and Chapman, while not a winning one for the latter, was a terrible defeat for Carter. Chapman polled over three thousand votes, which, of course, elected the candidate of the other political party by a very large plurality. His supporters, of course, were jubilant, for it was the first time in many years they had elected a Congressman. They had a great jubilation, and Fred spoke to nearly a thousand of them, congratulating them on the election of a decent man to represent them in the national Congress.

"I thank you from the bottom of my heart," he exclaimed, "for helping me to my revenge! They are putting out the lights over in Carter's headquarters, I see. Let us hope that his political light is being doused forever and that he and the infamous bill hearing his name will ever be regarded as the only stain upon the people of this district, for, as your representative, the county was in some measure responsible for his actions as a legislator. Be it said to your credit that you have repudiated him and his disreputable methods. On the day he ordered me out of his office I promised him to camp on his trail, and the smoke of my campfires ascended from every county in the district. In the language of the savage redskin, I might boast that I have his scalp at my belt. He has evidently been laboring under the impression that, because I was a boy, not old enough to vote, and a comparative stranger in your midst, my camping on his trail wouldn't amount to anything. If it did not detract from the dignity and sweetness of my revenge, I would go over to his headquarters, before he slips away in the darkness, and sing him a little song. It might not be a new one to him, and perhaps it would not be at all soothing to his nerves, but it would fit the occasion as appropriately as a gumdrop fits the mouth of our girl friends. But, as darkness now reigns in the headquarters down the street, I will sing one verse of the song to you. Here it is," and, clearing his throat, he began singing:

"The June-bug has the wings of gold,
The lightning-bug the flame;
The bedbug has no wings at all,
But he gets there just the same."

Next week's issue will contain "FRED FEARNOT'S TRAP; OR, CATCHING THE TRAIN ROBBERS."

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