Frederick Schiller Faust 3 Replies Crowds of men are like crowds of sheep. Not the best, but the first leader is usually followed.
マックス・ブランド（Max Brand、1892年5月29日 – 1944年5月12日）は、アメリカ合衆国の作家、脚本家。
本名、フレデリック・シラー・ファウスト (Frederick Schiller Faust)。他のペンネームに、ジョージ・オーエン・バクスター (George Owen Baxter)、マーティン・デクスター (Martin Dexter)、エヴィン・エヴァンズ (Evin Evans)、デイビッド・マニング (David Manning)、ピーター・ドーソン (Peter Dawson)、ジョン・フレデリック (John Frederick)、ピート・モーランド (Pete Morland) などがある。
ワシントン州シアトル生まれ。幼くして両親と死別し、中部カリフォルニアで育った。長じてカリフォルニア州サンホアキン・バレー(San Joaquin Valley)にある牧場の1つでカウボーイとして働く。カリフォルニア大学バークレー校に進学し、そこで執筆活動を開始する。ただし学校ではトラブルメーカーとみなされ、やがて中退する。
彼は西部劇の名キャラクター、デストリー (Destry) を生み出し、「砂塵の町」(1939)、「野郎! 拳銃で来い」(1955)として映画化された。また別のキャラクター、ドクター・キルデア (Dr. Kildare) は1940年代に映画化、さらにラジオドラマ化され、1961年からはNBCでテレビシリーズ化された（日本では1962年にテレビ朝日系で放映された）。
彼は古典的な詩作を発表するために本名の使用を控えていたのだが、悲しむべきことに、彼の詩は商業的に（おそらく芸術的にも）失敗に終わった。しかし彼が神話学に対して抱いていた愛情は、彼の作品に変わらぬインスピレーションを与える源泉であった。また彼の古典文学への傾倒こそがジャンル・フィクションにおける彼の成功の一因であると思われる。古典からの影響は、彼の最初の小説「The Untamed」（1920年、トム・ミックス (Tom Mix) 主演で映画化された）に強く見られる。
1930年代半ば、ファウストはアルコール使用障害となり、1938年にイタリアへ転居した。彼はイタリアを死に場所とするために転居したのだったが、多くの使用人のいるフィレンツェの別荘に住み、テニス、乗馬、スポーツカー (Isotta-Fraschini) でのドライブなどで大いに楽しみ、活躍した。こういった浪費的な生活が彼に更なる執筆を強い、浪費は相変わらず続けられた。
西部劇小説で得た名声とは逆に、彼は“西部”というものを心から嫌っていた。そのため1919年に『アーゴシー･マガジン (Argosy Magazine)』の編集長ボブ・デイビス (Bob Davis) から牧場への旅行を強制されたときには、烈火のごとく怒ったという。
In the Far West there is one thing which is more fabulously valuable then gold, even. And that is a story, whether it be truth or good, true-sounding fiction.
― Max Brand, The Max Brand Megapack
“Words,” said the host, at length, “is worse’n bullets. You never know what they’ll hit.”
― Max Brand, The Night Horseman
The Hair-Trigger Kid
Duck Hawk’s Master
Writing as George Owen Baxter
5. THREE-CARD STUMBLES
The watching population of Dry Creek had moved across the street to the house of Billy Shay.
It was not merely an interest in the welfare of the wounded man who had been groaning inside the place, but rather an inescapable curiosity to be on the site of the Kid’s latest exploits. They were anxious to pick up first-hand details with which to furnish the stories which each and all of them would one day find an opportunity of telling to strangers.
In the Far West there is one thing which is more fabulously valuable then gold, even. And that is a story, whether it be truth or good, true-sounding fiction. Stories in the West are of two varieties. The first is the openly and the humorously exaggerated. These are not greatly considered except when they are really funny. But the staple Western story is one which clings so closely to the truth throughout most of its telling, that the embroidering of the main truth with fancy in the vital point of the tale will be overlooked by the listener. If only one shot is fired, there is no good reason why two Indians, Mexicans, or thugs should not be in line with its flight; but the narrator is sure to express astonishment before he tries to arouse yours, and he will carefully explain, with a false science, just how the odd position came about. There is the story-teller who never speaks in his own person, too. All of his stories begin, end, and are supported in the middle by “they say.” “They” of “they say” is a strange creature. It has the flight of a falcon and the silent wings of a bat; it speaks the language of the birds and bees; it can follow the snake down the deepest hole, and then glide like a magic ray through a thousand feet of solid rock; it can penetrate invisibly into houses through the thickest walls, in order to see strange crimes; it can step through the walls of the most secretive mind in order to read strange thoughts. “They” has the speed of lightning, and leaps here and there to pick up grains of information, like a chicken picking up worms in a newly turned garden; “they” throws a girdle around the world in a fortieth of Puck’s boasted time. Those who quote “they,” who quote and follow and mystically adore and believe in “they,” sometimes do so with awe-stricken whispers, but there are some who sneer at their authority, and shrug their shoulders at the very stories they relate. Such people, when questioned, yawn and shake their heads.
“I dunno. That’s what ‘they’ say.”
You can take your choice. Believe it or not. Most people choose to believe, and therefore the rare information of “they,” thrice, yes, and thirty times watered and removed, is repeated over and over until it becomes a mist as tall as the moon and as thin as star dust.
There were gossips of every school in the crowd that poured into Shay’s house. The moment that they drew open the front door, they found a scene which was interesting enough to charm them all.
The furniture which first had been piled against the door to secure this point against the entrance of the Kid, was now cast helter-skelter back against the walls. Much of it was broken. The legs of chairs seemed knocking together, or else they bowed perilously out. And one chair, as if it had taken wings, had become entangled in the good, strong chains which suspended the hall lamp near the door. For this was a very pretentious house.
Some strong hand had flung that chair!
No wonder that chars had been thrown, though. For the ceiling, the floor, the walls, were ripped and plowed by many bullets. It looked as though half a dozen cartridge belts had been emptied here alone.
And at the foot of the stairs lay “Three-card” Alec, who no longer groaned, but had braced himself with his shoulders on the lower stair. His right leg extended before him with a painful ‘crookedness, but he had a cigarette between his fingers, and he was smoking with deep, almost luxurious breaths, his eyes half closed. For “the makin’s” is a greater thing in the West than whisky, chewing tobacco, and chloroform all rolled into one.
The crowd, entering, looked about with awe at that wrecked and ruined hallway. Turning, they could stare straight through the front wall of the house and see the little, white, round patches of daylight that streamed through the bullet holes. A long strip of plaster, loosened by raking shots from the ceiling of the hall, fell now with a noisy crash.
Some people grew afraid, and would not enter the place, even with such a crowd. There was a baneful influence still in the air, and the odor of gunpowder was severe in every room and hall from the cellar to the attic.
“Is there anybody else in the house?” asked the sheriff of the gambler.
“Say, whadya think?” replied Three-card Alec sneeringly. The sheriff went on by him.
So did every one else, waiting for the “other fellow” to take charge of the hurt man. The “other fellow” is well nigh as ubiquitous and certainly of far better character than “they.”
No one went near poor Three-card Alec to help him, until Georgia Milman squatted beside him and looked into his narrow, beady, winking, uncertain eyes.
Three-card looked like a bird—and a very bad bird, at that. His nose was long enough to make a handle for his whole face. Behind it his face receded toward the hair and toward the chin. The latter feature hardly mattered, and the face flowed smoothly, with hardly a ripple, into the throat. Three-card had two big buckteeth. Like all buckteeth, they were kept scrupulously white, but they looked, somehow, like the upper part of a parrot’s beak. His mouth was generally half open, and he had the look of being about to give something a good hard peck. Three-card had little, overbright, shifty eyes; and he had a yellowish skin, and on his receding brow there were a maze of lines of trouble, pain, greed and envy. His body was as bad as his face, for it was starved, crooked, hollow-chested, weak-backed, humped, skinny, and generally half deformed. His only redeeming feature was his hands, and these were beautiful objects for even a casual eye to rest upon. They were graceful, long, slender and white—which proved that they were kept scrupulously gloved except when there was a need of them in action. Those delicate and nervous hands of Three-card were in fact his fortune, whether they were employed with cards, dice, the handle of a knife, or on the grip of a revolver. Three-card was only a wicked caricature of a man. There was hardly any good about him, but he had been brave as he was wicked, and therefore he was respected in a certain way.
Georgia merely said: “Is it pretty bad?”
For reply he stared at her and puffed on his cigarette again. There was no decent courtesy in Three-card.
“Do you want any special doctor? Doctor Dunn has his office just across the street, you know,” said Georgia.
Three-card deigned to speak.
“I wouldn’t let that crook mend a sick canary for me, leave alone put a hand on my leg. That leg is bust. I’ll have Doc Wilton or nobody.”
Georgia pulled out of the passing file of the curious a sunburned young cow-puncher. His nose was toasted raw, which always makes young men appear cross but honest.
“Sammy, you go and get Doc Wilton like a good fellow,” said Georgia.
The face of Sammy fell at least a block. He was enjoying this battle site. But Georgia was not a girl to be refused. With a sigh, Sammy departed for the doctor, and Georgia impressed four more men to carry Three-card into the little adjoining room, while she gingerly, with a white face and compressed lips, supported the broken lee. She had him put on a table, and placed a cushion under his head. She borrowed a whisky flask from another puncher and gave Three-card a good swig of it. She wiped the sweat of pain from his face. She unloosed the shirt at his throat. With unexpected skill, she rolled another cigarette for him and lighted it.
“You’re a bit of all right,” said Three-card, his bird eyes glittering at her suddenly in an unwinking stare, like that of a hawk.
“Are you comfortable? More comfortable, I mean.” Three-card closed his eyes. He did not answer, but began to chuckle softly.
“You wouldn’t ‘a’ believed,” said he. “I guess that he never pulled the trigger.”
Georgia looked at the smashed window glass at the end of the room.
“You don’t mean the Kid?” she said.
“Don’t I?” snarled Three-card.
Then he seemed to remember that she had been kind.
“Yeah, that’s who I mean,” said he.
She tried to understand, but her mind whirled. With her own eyes she had seen the results of the explosion which occurred when the Kid had entered this house. She had seen men hurled out from it through windows and doors as if dynamite were bursting within.
“What did he use, if not a gun?” she asked.
“He used his bean,” said Three-card.
This answer he seemed to think sufficient, and he nodded in satisfaction.
“Aces will always take tricks,” said Three-card. “He was all full of aces.”
He chuckled again. He seemed to forget his own predicament.
“He was always in the next room,” said Three-card. “I wasn’t proud. I went down into the cellar, but the cellar window was too narrow to squeeze out.”
“Did the Kid follow you down there?” asked the girl.
She tried to make the picture bright in her mind, of the terrified men in the cellar, and the fear of the Kid upon them.
“All he done was to open the door at the head of the stairs and wait!” said Three-card, still chuckling in admiration of his enemy’s maneuvers. “Somebody said that he was gunna throw a can of oil down and a lighted match after it. Then we charged up those stairs and crushed out through the doorway—and found that he wasn’t in the upper hall at all! Then we bolted for the upstairs, because it seemed like the Kid was always just about gunna step through an open door and start shooting.”
She caught her breath. She understood that nightmare fear which had possessed all in the house.
“On the way up I heard a sound. I looked back. I was the last of the hunch going up, and there was the Kid in the hall right at the foot of the stairs, with his gun ready. I pulled mine and turned to shoot, and just fell down the stairs and busted my leg. The Kid goes on up. Hell busts wide open all over the house. Pretty soon there’s quiet. Down comes somebody walking, whistling. It’s the Kid. He stops and makes me a cigarette.
“‘Hard luck, Three-card,’ says he.”
Three-card paused. He looked into the face of the girl.
“You’d ‘v’ liked to see,” said Three-card.
“Yes,” said Georgia beneath her breath. “I would!”