She swung the puncher's lariat she carried hung from her saddle-bow with much expertness. She had practised lariat throwing on her previous trips to the West. But although she was able to encircle the bull's bleeding head with the noose of the rope, to drag the creature out of the morass was impossible. He was sunk in the mire too deeply, and he was too far gone now to help himself.
We were walking along the track of the Cheyenne and Northern, and looking out over the plain toward Fort Russell. "That is a cow-puncher and his bride," I answered, recognizing the couple. "Real cow-puncher?" "Quite. The puncher's name is Lin McLean." "Real bride?" "I'm afraid so." "She's riding straddle!" exclaimed the delighted Ogden, adjusting his glasses.
She could not understand why he was not on the range, or why Sam had sent the ne'er-do-well to meet the doctor. It puzzled her before the puncher's continued speech began to arouse her curiosity. "You'll sure find yourself in a skillet of hot water, old fellow," pursued Ratty, inhaling his cigarette smoke and letting it forth through his nostrils in little puffs as he talked.
She got off the pony and walked to the edge of the plateau, discovering that the valley was much shallower than she thought it would be, and that at her side, to the left, was the declivity that the puncher had told her about. She leaned over the edge and looked at it. It was not so steep as she had expected when listening to the puncher's description of it. But she thought it looked dangerous.
"I'll take my girl over and see for myself, Mr. Sabre." Surly, stupid old man! However, poor young Perch! Poor old Mrs. Perch! The very thing, if only it would come off. It came off. Sabre went up to Puncher's Farm on the evening of the day Mr. Bright, "to see for himself", had called with Effie. Young Perch greeted him delightedly in the doorway and clasped his hand in gratitude. "It's all right.
He bent over the fingers of one hand to raise his silver-banded sombrero by its high peak. It left his head and a bullet left the muzzle of the puncher's revolver. A hole appeared low down in the side of the sombrero. "That'll do, Kid," ordered the cowman. "No more hazing, even if he is a tenderfoot." "Tenderfoot?" replied Gowan, his mouth like a straight gash across his lean jaws.
"The editor of the Kicker," explained Slim, "called him that because of his legs bein' built that way." Mr. Price was forced to smile in spite of his efforts to be polite. The editor had grasped the most striking feature of the puncher's physical characteristics for a label. Parenthesis beamed on the minister. "I was born on horseback," he replied.
The puncher instantly covered him with his long-barreled revolver and snapped tersely: "Hands up!" "My ante!" gasped the hunter. "A a road agent!" But he did not throw up his hands. With the rash bravery of inexperience, he dropped his knife and snatched out his automatic pistol. On the instant the puncher's big revolver roared. The pistol went spinning out of the hunter's hand.
The yellow cur yapped its agony of fear; the nearest hundred and odd mangy monsters of the gutter took up the chorus; within five seconds of the start there was the Puncher's mascot racing after one abominable scavenger, and after him in just as hot pursuit there raced the whole street-cleaning force of Adra tongues out, eyes blazing, and their mean thin barks all working overtime.
Perch was fond of saying she had lived in nineteen houses "in her time", and Sabre had the belief that the previous eighteen had all been separately furnished and the entire accumulation, together with every newspaper taken in during their occupation, brought to Puncher's.