IT was election night in Camden, South Carolina. Down the dusty street came a mob--flourishing weapons, menacing, capable of almost anything. It was composed of Negroes ordinarily kindly, good-humored, obliging, but at the moment inflamed by carpetbag oratory and crazed by free whisky dispensed by scalawag politicians.
In a small house that the mob was nearing, a mother looked anxiously at her four young sons, whose father was away on an emergency sick call.
Grimly she opened the cupboard door, took out two ancient single-barreled shotguns, which she handed to the two oldest boys, and led the boys to the second-floor porch.
"Let them see the guns," she said, "but don't shoot unless I say so."
There was scarcely a Negro in the crowd who did not know and like Miss Belle, the mother. There were few of them whom the doctor, her husband, had not taken care of when sick or who had not been furnished with food and medicine when in need. Many of them knew the little boys, now standing guard so brave without and so fearful within. Some of the Negroes even knew that the boys were pretty fair shots for their age. They had hunted wild turkeys and ducks and quail with them.
Maybe the mob would never have bothered the house, anyway. Maybe the guns prevented trouble. But had those guns