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[558] with startling effect when the ear was every moment expecting the clang of the alarm bell of death and destruction. The negro fiends who were wont to rush into the street to hurl foul imprecations upon the whites, were ensconsed in their hiding places, and made no sign. At length, after at least two hours of this intense calm, the ear caught sounds of footsteps, not quick and hurried like those of men engaged in desperate strife, but gentle and careless like those of men leisurely returning to their homes. The danger was over; the meeting had been held without disturbance, and dispersed without annoyance. Not a negro was on the street to insult or to outrage. The front presented by the whites had completely overawed them. But, though no more general riot was apprehended in Charleston, the political lessons taught by the Radicals did not remain unproductive. Negroes were defiant and self-assertive, and rarely missed an opportunity of insulting—often of outraging—whites who were out in the night. Women and children were kept at home, and aged men, now for the first time in their lives, found it necessary to furnish themselves with means of defence. It was rare to see a man, whatever his condition or profession might be, who did not carry a loaded pistol in his pocket.

All these things may be told, but narration can give an inadequate notion of the actual condition of things in Charleston. The situation can be but faintly conceived by those who were not living and moving about the scenes here recorded. It is shocking to read of a bombarded town, but what description can portray the feelings of those to whom the hurtling of bombs and the whistling of shells are familiar sounds, each of which fills you with terror; how depict the fearful tempest that rages in the mind of a man, always conscious that when he enters the door of his dwelling he may find that during his absence the destructive storm has been there and carried death and desolation with it?

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