How Fred, Terry and Evelyn
returned to Texas.
The other passenger also handed his
roll of bills to Miss Elon, and, looking at Terry,
“Now, go ahead.”
“Wait a few moments,”
said Terry, “until one flies over the deck, so
that he will drop down in order that the ladies may
examine his wings.”
“All right; take your time,”
and, while he was standing around waiting he asked
the young lady who was holding the money who the young
“Why, he is Mr. Olcott. Haven’t you
heard of him?”
“No, I never did. At least not that I can
The young lady seemed to be quite
surprised, and asked him if he had ever heard of Fred
“Oh, yes, I’ve heard of him in the public
press many a time.”
“Well, Mr. Olcott is Mr. Fearnot’s
partner, and they are both said to be the best shots
in the United States.”
The fellow looked straight at Terry
as if trying to size him up. He hadn’t
really ever heard of Olcott to his recollection but
shooting a gull on the wing with a revolver was such
an extraordinary feat that he was willing to take
the chances. He had seen him bring down one gull
and like the majority of men who take chances, decided
that it was impossible for it to be done very often.
By and by he looked up and saw a gull
sailing over the deck and sung out:
“There’s a good shot. Try him.”
Terry raised his gun and fired so
quickly that none of the spectators thought that he
had even taken aim. The bullet struck the gull
squarely in the breast, and, of course, the bird came
tumbling down right into the group of passengers.
Exclamations of surprise burst from
nearly every man on the deck.
The loser didn’t seem to care
anything about his loss, so Fred end Terry sized him
as a professional gambler.
“Would you like to try another shot?”
“Well, no; not at that price.”
“Well, I’ll give you odds of two to one.”
“No, I’ve got enough,”
was the reply, and Terry laughed rather sarcastically.
“I’ll give you odds of a hundred to one,”
“Great Scott!” exclaimed
another passenger. “Will you give me such
“Yes if this gentleman refuses.”
“All right, I refuse,” said the gentleman
who had lost.
“Then I’ll take it and put up a hundred
dollars,” said the second man.
“Well, that calls for ten thousand
from me,” replied Terry, and again he waited
for a good shot.
Finally another gull came flying over,
about twice as high as the first two.
Terry was going to wait for another
chance, when the bettor angrily exclaimed that he
must want a bird to alight on the muzzle of his revolver.
“Why, surely you don’t
expect to have me shoot at a bird that is really out
of range, do you?”
“No, but that wasn’t out of range.”
“My friend, you don’t
know anything about distance on either land or water.
That gull is at least a hundred yards above us,”
and nearly every man on the deck agreed with Terry,
but the bettor became rather sarcastic and asked if
he expected the bird to knock his hat off with one
of its wings.
“Here comes another one,”
sung out somebody, and, looking up, they saw another
gull about the same height from the deck. The
“Oh, he’s too high.”
Everybody recognized the sneer in
his tone. Terry, however, raised his revolver
and fired, and the gull came fluttering, down with
one of its wings actually cut off.
The bettor’s friends at once
began sympathizing with him, but he looked at Terry
and asked if he considered that a good shot.
“Yes, I consider that pretty
good,” said Terry. “I brought him
down, and the bet was that I couldn’t hit him.
I consider it a good shot because he was up so high
that he could scarcely have been brought down even
with a shotgun.”
Neither side had put up any money
in that last bet, but the gambler insisted that it
wasn’t a fair shot, and that he thought Terry
ought to make another trial.
“No, sir,” said Terry,
“not for ten thousand dollars. I never play
with a man of your stripe.”
“Oh, you don’t like my stripe, eh?”
“No, I don’t. All
marksmen will agree that I brought the bird down fairly.
I didn’t agree to shoot his head off as I did
the first one, but simply to bring him down.
Now, if you will take the vote of the passengers and
they don’t agree with me ten to one it is no
The gambler tried to argue about it
rather than take the vote, but Terry walked away and
refused to talk with him. He was a big six-footer,
weighing pretty nearly two hundred pounds.
When Terry turned his back on him
and refused to talk with him he placed his hand on
Terry’s shoulder and turned him square around
so as to face him telling him that if he meant to
insult him he would throw him overboard.
Quick as a flash Terry said:
“To be frank with you, sir,
I do mean to insult you. I denounce you as a
dishonorable man, who won’t play fair if it costs
you a few hundred dollars.”
With that the man aimed a blow at
Terry’s face with his big fist, but Terry easily
parried it and gave him three or four blows in rapid
succession on his chest in return, causing him to stagger
back against another man, who kindly held him up.
said Terry. “Hold him up,” and in
the next few seconds Terry put in three or four more
blows on his solar plexus, and down he sank on the
deck scarcely able to breathe.
Some friends of the man took him up
and carried him into the main saloon, where others
assisted him to his cabin. The captain heard of
the trouble and came out on the deck to make inquiries
as to whom was to blame.
He soon got the straight story of
it, and at once went to the fellow’s cabin and
told him that if he made any more trouble on board
his ship he would have him put in irons until they
reached the end of the voyage.
Quite a number of gentlemen then asked
Fearnot if his friend was a professional fighter.
“No,” Fred replied.
“He is a Wall Street broker, and is also my partner
in a ranch down in Texas.”
Both the Elon girls expressed their
amazement at his fighting qualities.
“Oh, that’s nothing,”
said Evelyn. “He hasn’t been whipped
since he was fifteen years old. I knew that that
big fellow would be severely punished if he struck
brother. Now, if he had struck Mr. Fearnot, he
would have fared even worse; for Fred is probably one
of the strongest men of his size in the United States,
so far as physical abilities are concerned.”
Of course, there was no more shooting
that day. The ship’s surgeon said that
the man who had tackled Olcott would not be able to
appear on deck that day.
That evening, as Evelyn and the elder
Elon girl were standing out on the forward deck, gazing
at the stars, Terry came up and joined them.
“Mr. Olcott,” said the
New Orleans beauty, “you are just the kind of
a man that I have been looking for for three or four
years. Please tell me how I can induce you to
“Too late,” laughed Terry, “I’m
“Oh, my! Just my luck.”
laughed Terry. “You have perhaps heard the
old saying that there are just as many fish in the
sea as were ever caught.”
“Oh, yes. There are plenty
of good men; but no more like you. I don’t
believe in fighting, but when I marry I want my husband
to be able to whip any other man.”
“All right,” he laughed,
“if you want me to lick a man for your husband
just to please you I will do it if you will send for
“Oh, that wouldn’t do.
If my husband had to have another man to do his fighting
for him, I would soon get so disgusted that I would
sue for a divorce.”
“Well, that shows that every
man ought to learn how to defend himself. If
you ever fall in love with a fellow and he wants you
to marry him, insist upon his taking boxing lessons.
But let me tell you the majority of boxing men are
generally rough fighters, who like to get into trouble
just to show their skill as pugilists. Avoid all
“Say, Olcott,” a passenger
asked Terry, “are you going to let Connolly
euchre you out of the hundred dollars you won?”
“Oh, if he wants to keep it
in the face of the passengers on board who heard the
bet, he is welcome to it as far as I am concerned.
He is no gentleman, and as such I dismiss him from
my thoughts altogether. I’ve been up against
such men before. It’s a debt of honor, and
can’t be collected by law, and dishonorable
men never pay such debts.”
The big fellow remained in his cabin
to the end of the voyage, not caring to come out where
he would be likely to face Terry or some of his friends,
who thought he was acting disgracefully. The fact
is, he didn’t have the half of one hundred dollars
During the remainder of the voyage
Fred, Terry and Evelyn, with the two Elon sisters,
had splendid concerts every evening in the main saloon,
to the great enjoyment of the other passengers.
The captain said that he had never
heard such music, even when he had had an opera troupe
on board and the New Orleans ladies requested all
three of them to visit them at their residence.
They thanked them for their invitation,
of course, but, stated that they would not spend more
than twenty-four hours in the city, as they were anxious
to reach Texas; and that they would be very busy all
the rest of the season looking after their ranch.
Some of the ladies did not believe
it possible that such refined young men could be ranchmen,
so when the ship entered the mouth of the river all
the passengers crowded out on the deck to view the
scenery as they passed up the great “Father
Fred and Terry had fished and hunted
down in the country, and they explained to Evelyn
all about the mode of life in the lagoon region.
Evelyn had fallen in love with the
two Elon sisters, and their father became such an
admirer of Fred and Terry that he insisted that they
should not go to any hotel, but during the twenty-four
hours that they spent in the city they should be his
guests; so when the steamer landed at the wharf in
New Orleans, he divided the party so that his wife
and one of his daughters should drive home in the
family carriage with Evelyn and Terry, while he and
Fred and his other daughter should remain on board
the steamer until the carriage returned for them.
When they reached his residence they
found that it was one of the finest and most beautiful
homes in the city, and that everything about it told
of great wealth.
The next day Fred and Terry accompanied
Mr. Elon downtown to visit certain friends, and the
Creole gentleman soon learned that his guests had
many other friends there, too.
But for the fact that they were in
a hurry to reach Crabtree, they would have remained
in the city as their guests for at least a week.
As it was, they spent another day
there, and had a royal good time.
Then they took leave of their newfound
friends, boarded the train for Texas, and were soon
whirling westward. It was a long ride from the
Crescent City to Crabtree, for that place was way down
on the western side of the State, and it was late
in the night when they reached there; in fact, long
Fred had wired to the clerk of the
hotel for him to reserve comfortable quarters for
them, and when he arrived he found that the best rooms
in the house had been assigned to them.
When they appeared in the breakfast
room the next morning at quite a late hour for that
meal, all the ladies stopping at the hotel were on
the lookout for them. Those of them who knew Evelyn
rushed into her arms.
“Great Scott, Fred!” said
Terry. “Here we are with our arms ready
to receive them, and not one will even put up a pucker
“Well, what show can we expect
to get with such a rival as Evelyn?”
Many of the ladies had already had
their breakfast, but they went in and sat with Evelyn,
and their tongues rattled like those of so many magpies.
Of course, they all shook hands with
Fred and Terry, and talked freely with them.
They wanted to know when Miss Hamilton was going to
“Oh, she’ll come down
some time,” laughed Evelyn, “probably on
her bridal tour.”
“Oh, she wouldn’t come down as you did,
“No, we begged hard for her
to do so, but she wouldn’t. Brother will
have to go up some time and bring her down. Then,
too, we will have two brides down at the ranch, for
young Mr. Cameron has a sweetheart up in New York,
and she is waiting for him to build and furnish a big
house, for her.”
“Well,” said one of the
ladies, “work on that house is going on fast;
but, look here, Miss Olcott, are you going to stay
down there on that ranch, or are you going to stop
here at the hotel?”
“Oh, she’ll do both,”
put in Fred. “She is very fond of the actual
life of a ranch. She often came down to our ranch
in Colorado with four or five other girls, and she
delighted in nothing so much as dashing over the prairie
on horseback, chasing coyotes and jack-rabbits, or
else feeding the pigs, chickens, and the milch-cows,
all of which we had in abundance around us there.
We have some fine milch-cows on the ranch now, and
I expect to see her out every morning with her sleeves
rolled up and a big apron on, milking them and looking
after the pigs and chickens. She pets every animal
on the place.”
Whereupon Evelyn invited several of
the ladies to come down and visit her on the ranch
and help her feed the pigs and chickens and milk the
“But I’ll have to ask
you to wait until I see what sort of quarters brother
and Mr. Fearnot have for me.”
“We have nothing but a plain
ranch house, but there are plenty of them, for we
haven’t put in the improvements we intend to.
Men, you know, can rough it; but sister will have
a neat room fixed up for her. We will get the
best furniture that can be found in this place, carpets
and everything necessary for a lady’s comfort.”
“No, brother,” said Evelyn,
“I want to rough it, and you promised that I
could do so.”
“Oh, yes; but I know you girls,
and you get tired of roughing it very quickly.”
“Well, let me rough it until
I do get tired, and when I feel that I have had enough
I’ll let you know.”
“All right; that’s a bargain.”