let me do the questioning."
"Ah--pardon me," remarked the hunter, rebounding from apprehension to easy assurance at sight of the girl's smile. "I would prefer to be third-degreed by the young lady. Permit me to salute the Queen of the Outlaws!"
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. "How about his drawing on me--and how about your yearling? That bullet went just where it ought to 've gone with his hat down on his head."
There was no jesting even of the grimmest quality in the puncher's look and tone. He was very cool and quiet--and his Colt's was leveled for another shot.
The hunter thrust up his hands as high as he could reac