Fred Fearnot's Revenge, or Defeating a Congressman
THE FIGHT GROWS HOT AND FRED IS IN THE THICKEST OF IT.
Fred's second speech created a far greater sensation than the
first one, and the effect of it was really marvelous. The exhibition of
his blood-stained handkerchief to the audience was truly dramatic, and
he swept his auditors off their feet with his fiery eloquence and
logical reasoning. The indignation of citizens was freely expressed on
all sides. Those who had taken part in stoning the procession slunk away
from the hall.
When Fred sat down and the great tumult of applause that followed
had subsided, an old farmer rose to his feet and said that he had three
times voted for Carter for the Assembly, but that now he intended to
vote for Chapman for Congress and urge his friends to do so. That
provoked another great outburst of applause, and the old man continued:
"It isn't a question of party politics. It's one of common sense,
honesty and decency, and I propose that right here we organize a club in
the interests of this, young man, who has struggled to support a mother
and sister, while at the same time educating himself."
"So do I," sang out scores of voices in the crowd, and in less
than twenty minutes over two score of names had been handed up, every
one of whom had been Carter's supporters in former elections as ready to
form a club.
"Now, ladies and gentlemen," said Fred, "The success of this
meeting has exceeded our most sanguine expectations, and in return for
your kindness, I want to extend my invitation to every man, woman and
child in this audience to a big fish fry at Dedham Lake. There are
millions of fish there, and I'll have fifty thousand of them caught to
feed you, if necessary. Just set the day and everything shall be
provided for your comfort."
The crowd cheered.
"Furthermore," he continued, "whenever you want a good day's
fishing go to Dedham Lake for it. It's my property, and I am going to
invite my friends to come and fish whenever they please. But if a man
says he will come and fish there against my consent, he is the same as a
thief and robber, just as he would be if he went over into your
watermelon patches and your orchards without your permission."
Again they cheered him until the very walls trembled.
"Now, I've made a speech already to-night, and I ought to stop,
but I see so many pretty faces before me, among the mothers and
daughters of Pelham, that I am constrained to
pay my respects to them particularly," and his eulogy of woman
and her loving influences was like a poem.
The great audience was held spellbound, He ended with a song full
of sentiment and pathos. His clear, baritone voice thoroughly well
trained, completed his work for the evening making every one who beard
him his personal friend, regard less of party lines.
When the meeting was dismissed, scores of women, young and old,
crowded around him to shake hands with him. They surrounded Chapman,
too, who blushed like a schoolgirl.
Said one of the old mothers:
"The boy who stands by his mother is the one to be trusted. We
are going to work and pray for your success, young man."
Chapman was astonished. When he started out in the campaign he
was apprehensive that party lines would be drawn so closely he would
find but few supporters, but here in the second meeting it looked as
though every voter in the house was for him. Scores of men who had
supported Carter's party all their lives frankly declared that they were
going to oppose their own party and support Chapman, and as for the
women, young and old, they seemed to be unanimously in favor of his
election; and Fred's song had settled the question with every
marriageable girl in the house.
"Say, Fearnot," an old citizen asked, "you bought Dedham Lake.
Are you going to settle down and be a citizen of the county?"
"I may," he laughed. "If I find the people all over the county as
kindly disposed to me as you are to-night, I don't see how I can resist
"Well, if you do we'll send you to the Assembly, to congress, and
then make you Governor. Come up here and grow with us."
Headed by the brass band, the crowd from Ashton marched back to
the railroad station, followed by nearly everybody in the village; and
when the train started off the villagers cheered them at the top of
"Look here, Chapman," said Fred, as he took a seat by his side in
the car, "hanged if it don't look like an election."
"Well, I confess that I am surprised," returned Chapman. "I never
saw an audience so thoroughly captured in my life as that one to-night
"Well, I told Carter two weeks ago that I intended to camp on his
train, when he ordered me out of his office. The next thing will be to
try to buy you off."
"They've, tried that already," said Chapman. "I was offered one
thousand dollars day before yesterday, to withdraw from the field."
"Great Scott! man, why didn't you tell that to-night?"
"Didn't think of it," he laughed.
"Well, don't forget it again. It means a great deal. I wouldn't
like a thousand dollars myself for this bloody handkerchief of mine. I'm
going to exhibit it at every meeting in the district."
The next morning Fred was surprised when he heard that the
one-thousand-dollar bet he had put up had been covered by friends of
Carter, and Crenshaw had made two thousand dollars in persuading them to
"That's all right," said Fred, when Crenshaw himself told him
about it. "I'll put up another thousand at the same odds and pay you the
"I'm afraid I couldn't work it," was the reply. "It was pretty
hard work to drum up those that I did."
"Well, you've got a safe thing of it, anyway," said Fred. "No
matter which wins, you are two thousand dollars in."
"Yes, it's the best luck I've had in years; never picked up two
thousand dollars so easy in my life. I hear you had a big meeting at
Pelham last night."
"Oh, you ought to have been there," said Fred. "We just captured
the whole town. They tried to break up the meeting by stoning us on the
way from the train to the hall, and here's where a stone struck me," and
he took off his hat and exhibited the wound on his forehead.
"Well, I'm sorry for that," said Crenshaw.
"Well, I'm not," said Fred. "It will cost Carter one hundred
votes in Pelham. Do you see this handkerchief?" and he exhibited his
blood-stained handkerchief, saying, "You ought to have heard the
indignation of the audience, when I exhibited that handkerchief to them
last night," and he took a special delight in torturing Carter's
supporter with a recital of the incidents of the evening.
Crenshaw went away looking rather serious and at once hunted up
Carter to tell him about what he had heard. Carter had already heard it
and was still pretending to be unconcerned, but later in the day he
heard from one of his friends, at Pelham, that fully one-half of the old
party voters had gone over to the support of Chapman, and suggested that
if something was not done to counteract the impression made by Fearnot
and Chapman at the meeting there the night before the town would go
Carter and his friends began to hustle. He promptly wrote out and
published an appeal to his supporters in the district, not to interfere
with any Chapman meetings, but to recognize the right of free speech
everywhere and to pay no attention to assaults made upon his character,
which was too well-known to his friends and neighbors for any injury to
result to him. He urged them to fight for the principles of their party
and not upon any personal grounds.
Chapman immediately followed it with an appeal to the honesty of
the people or the district, and calling attention to the infamous Carter
bill as the stamp upon the character of its author. Of course Fred wrote
it, and its keen, cutting, sentences were, effective to a marked degree.
Fred and Chapman were about to take the train for the next
county, when a friend of Carter's came to Fred to give him warning that
any further attacks upon Carter's personal character would result in his
arrest for defamation of character.
"Good, good," said he, "that will add greatly to the hilarity of
the canvass. I'm going to continue the fight upon the line that I've
started it on. I've been very careful to touch only upon his political
actions, and those I'm going to continue to denounce as infamous,
dishonest and cowardly; and if I am arrested for doing so, and he fails
to make out a case against me, I'll proceed against him for malicious
prosecution. Tell Mr. Carter that I'm camping on his trail, and he has
made one so broad and plain that a blind man can follow it."
"I think you will find it to your interest to drop
personalities," suggested the politician.
"I'm not dealing in personalities, I'm dealing with records,"
Fred replied; "and, besides, I don't think you are quite the man to give
me any advice that is conducive to my interest. It's to my interest to
defeat Mr. Carter, and I don't think you're disposed to show me how to
do it," and with that he entered the car, along with Chapman, and was
soon whirling along in the direction of the next county, where they were
to attend a great meeting that evening, in the bustling little town of
On the way there the two exchanged views as to certain matters
that should be discussed in the speeches that night.
"You must be sure to make mention, and give the name of the man
who offered you one thousand dollars to withdraw from the canvass." said
"Yes, I will; but he will flatly deny it."
"Well, let him do so. Your reputation for veracity is just as
good as his, I guess."
"Oh, yes, but I dislike very much to raise a question of veracity
with an old citizen like him."
"Well, in this fight, neither age, color nor previous condition
are to be considered," laughed Fred.
"Very true. When we reach Homer I'm going to be subjected to a
very unpleasant interview with an old uncle of my mother. He is an old
partisan of Carter, and he wrote my mother a letter about my candidacy,
asking her if I had gone crazy, or had proved a traitor to the teachings
of my father."
"Well, just introduce me to him," laughed Fred.
"All right, but you want to be careful with him. He is a very
irascible man, and about seventy years of age."
"Oh, I'll be kind to him. Don't worry about that."
When they reached Homer there were quite a number of people at
the little station, brought there by curiosity to see the boy who was
making a fight on Carter, for the papers had said a good deal about him
and the fact that he had been wounded by a stone at Pelham had created
quite a sensation. There were two men there who had declared themselves
as Chapman men, and one of them stepped up and asked:
"Are you Mr. Chapman?"
"Yes," said the lawyer.
"Well, my name is Williams, and this is Mr. Crane." and he
"Glad to know you, gentlemen," said Chapman, shaking hands with
them. "I heard before I left Ashton that you were friends of mine in
this fight. This is Mr. Fearnot."
"Ah, this is the boy," said Williams, shaking Fred's hand in a
vigorous manner and looking him over from head to feet. "You seem to be
a pretty hard one to down."
"Yes," laughed Fred, "I haven't been downed yet, although the
other fellows have begun throwing stones."
"Is it really true that you were hit?" Williams asked.
"Yes," he replied, removing his hat and exhibiting the wound on
the upper left side of his forehead. "That speaks for itself,
doesn't it? The stone came rather glancing, or the blow might
have proved fatal."
"Why didn't you have the fellow arrested?"
"Because I couldn't swear to his identity, didn't see him when he
threw it. But really I'm really glad I got it. It's worth a thousand
votes to Chapman. What sort of a crowd are we going to have to-night?"
"We'll have a big one, for there is great curiosity in both
parties to hear you; but Carter's friends are angry at Chapman for
trying to split the party."
They went to the hotel, where quite a number of citizens called
on them, the majority being the political opponents of Carter who, of
course, were anxious to encourage Chapman's candidacy. In fact some of
them were willing to contribute financially to his campaign fund.
About in hour after their arrival, Chapman's great-uncle, a well-
to-do old citizen of the place, who owned quite a large farm out in the
country, called at the hotel to see him.
"Glad to see you, Uncle John," said Chapman, as he shook the old
"Well, I'm sorry to see you behaving so badly. What's the matter
with you, anyway?" and the old man looked as though he wanted to drag
him across his knee and spank him.
"Why there's nothing the matter with me, Uncle John. I'm all
"You're all wrong," said the old man. "You ought to be ashamed of
yourself. You've gone squarely back on the teachings of your father."
"There's where you are wrong, Uncle John," said Chapman, very
pleasantly. "My father taught me to be honest at all times and under all
circumstances, and that's the whole secret of my candidacy."
"Tut, tut; you're crazy."
"Well, maybe I am. Uncle John," he laughed. "There are a good
many people in this district going crazy, then, and I guess they'll
manage to keep out of the insane asylum."
"You don't expect to be elected, do you?" the old man asked.
"Well, I'm making friends so fast I really don't know what to
expect. I want you to come out to the meeting to-night and hear my
friend Fearnot, and, by the way, let me introduce him to you," and he
called Fred and introduced him to the old gentleman, who at first seemed
disposed to refuse to shake hands with him.
"You are the young man who has persuaded my nephew here to go
wrong," he said.
"Well, if You've got, that idea in your head all I can do is to
invite you to come out to the meeting to-night and hear my side of the
question. You know there are always two sides to every question,"
"Oh, yes, there's a right side and a wrong side," retorted the
old man, "and you've succeeded in getting George on the wrong side."
"Well, come out and hear him to-night. He's a fine speaker," said
Fred, in a very pleasant tone of voice.
"Oh, I don't want to hear either one of you."
"Oh, that isn't the way to do," laughed Fred. "Haven't you head
all our life that the man who is afraid to hear the other side is
extremely doubtful about whether his side is right or not? If you are
quite sure that you are right you wouldn't be afraid to bear the other
side. If a man can't give a reason for the faith that in him, the sooner
he gets rid of that faith the better it will be for him."
"See here, young man, I was a grandfather before you were born,
and have been voting for upward of fifty years; so you can't tell me
anything about my political duties."
"I wouldn't attempt to do so, Sir," replied Fred. "What George
and I are going to talk about to-night is our own political duties, find
ask those who agree With us to join in and help in the fight. You see,
when a man has heard both sides of a question he is better able to make
up his own mind clearly than if he only heard one side. It seems to me
that you should be proud of your nephew and try to push him along in the
world, for he is making a brilliant mark in this fight, and if he isn't
elected the people in the district will at least know him and respect
"Respect him! Why, they're mad enough to thrash him, and he ought
to be thrashed!" blurted out the old man.
"Oh, he's a little too old to be thrashed now," laughed Fred.
"This is a free country, you know and everbody who wants to can be a
candidate for any office in the gift of the people, and every man is at
liberty to vote for or against him."
"But a man has no right to injure his party."
"Yes, he has, sir," asserted Fred pluckily. "Every man has a
right to smash his party, if he thinks it's going wrong,"
"But a young man like George has no right to set his judgment up
against all of his party friends."
"There you're wrong again," said Fred. "A man has a right to be
guided by his own conscience, and the consciences of ten thousand men
are no guide for another, if his own conscience is not satisfied. We all
claim the right to worship God according to the dictates of our
conscience, and the same rule should apply In politics. The man who
thinks of nothing else but his party, taking no thought for his country,
is a very poor citizen, no matter if he's been voting a hundred years.
Mr. Carter is an unfit man to represent this or any other district in
Congress, and we are going to defeat him. He introduced a bill in the
Assembly to take from a man the right to control his own property, and
I'm in favor of taking away from any man who favors such a law the right
to vote even for they are dangerous to the community."