Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
Action Front Boyd Cable

The Fear Of Fear

Page 3 of 10

Table Of Contents: Action Front

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

"How are you feeling?" he asked, leaning forward and speaking quietly. "This is your first charge, isn't it!"

"Yes," said Toffee, "I'm all right. I--I think I'm all right."

The other moved slightly on the firing-step, leaving a little room, and Toffee took this as an invitation to sit down. Halliday continued to speak in low tones that were not likely to pass beyond his listener's ear.

"Don't you get scared," he said. "You've nothing much to be scared about."

He threw a little emphasis, and Toffee fancied a little envy, into the "you."

"I'm not scared exactly," said Toffee. "I'm sort of wondering what it will be like."

"I know," said Halliday, "I know; and who should, if I didn't? But I can tell you this--you don't need to be afraid of shells, you don't need to be afraid of bullets, and least of all is there any need to be afraid of the cold iron when the Hotwaters get into the trench. You don't need to be afraid of being wounded, because that only means home and a hospital and a warm dry bed; you don't need to be afraid of dying, because you've got to die some day, anyhow. There's only one thing in this game to be afraid of, and there isn't many finds that in their first engagement. It's the ones like me that get it."

Toffee glanced at him curiously and in some amazement. Now that he looked closely, he could see that, despite his easy loungeful attitude and steady voice, and apparently indifferent look, there was something odd and unexplainable about Halliday: some faintest twitching of his lips, a shade of pallor on his cheek, a hunted look deep at the back of his eyes. Everton tried to speak lightly.

"And what is it, then, that the likes o' you get?"

Tired of reading? Add this page to your Bookmarks or Favorites and finish it later.

Halliday's voice sank to little more than a whisper. "It's the fear o' fear," he said steadily. "Maybe, you think you know what that is, that you feel it yourself. You know what I mean, I suppose?"

Toffee nodded. "I think so," he said. "What I fear myself is that I'll be afraid and show that I'm afraid, that I'll do something rotten when we get out up there."

He jerked his head up and back towards the open where the rifles sputtered and the bullets whistled querulously.

"There's plenty fear that," admitted Halliday, "before their first action; but mostly it passes the second they leave cover and can't protect themselves and have to trust to whatever there is outside, themselves to bring them through. You don't know the beginning of how bad the fear o' fear can be till you have seen dozens of your mates killed, till you've had death no more than touch you scores of times, like I have."

"But you don't mean to tell me," said Toffee incredulously, "that you are afraid of yourself, that you can't trust yourself now? Why, I've heard said often that you're one of the coolest under fire, and that you don't know what fear is!"

Page 3 of 10 Previous Page   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
Action Front
Boyd Cable

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004