Annie Fellows Johnson Scrapbook - Newspaper "clippings" 1918

Annie Fellows Johnston Scrapbook
Newspaper "Clippings" 1918

In the Louisville Courier-Journal, September 29, 1918:

(A Fairy Tale Made In America.)

By ANNIE FELLOWS  JOHNSTON, Author of "The Little Colonel." Etc.

Once there was An Ogre with two faces and the heart of a  spider. One face was good and one was bad, but as he had always worn the good one on the outside, few people knew that he was an Ogre. He was thought to be just a friendly giant  On account of the spider heart of him his chief occupation was Spinning webs. When asked why he sat all day in his tower at such idle pastime, his answer was "It is written in the stars that I should do this."

Of course, that was answer enough for anybody, so people took no further notice of the webs which went floating out from his window and blew to the four corners of the earth. Some of them were so fine that they were finer than the filmiest gossamer, and so light one could float across the eyeballs of a man and he would not know it was there.  While it dimmed his sight to some things It brought to his vision others which he had never seen before. Some of the webs, falling across rivers or swinging from mountain peaks, turn to ropes as strong as steel, bridging spaces which never before had been bridged, and binding together things which never before had been bound. 

In time the meshes of the Ogre's webs spread over the whole earth, but as they hindered no one's coming and going and hampered no one's happiness nothng was thought of it. Then suddenly one day the Ogre looked out of the window with his other face on, and the people stood transfixed with terror. For it was like the face of Beelzebub, the god of the dung-heap, who feeds upon flies. Only it was a thousand times more cruel, for it was the face ,of a monster who demands human victims.

"Stand still and be bound," he commanded, "or I shall instantly devour you. It is written in the stars that the universe shall be mine. Nothing shall escape me." 

*   *   *

Web's Mesh Tightened.

At that he began to tighten various meshes In his great web, till the people saw they were being ensnared and fled to their homes. They could not have done so in time, however, had not a beautiful maiden sprung forward in his path, struggling against him till her frail arms gave way.

But when they looked back and saw her fair body all mangled and torn, and the Ogre drinking her heart's blood, they thought no longer of their own safety. Gathering up all the bludgeons and broad-swords in the land, they hastened back to tear her from his clutches. Even those in far islands of the sea heard their cries and came to help them. Then began the most awful combat that ever was or ever shall be.  For thirty and six moons it raged till there was death in every home and dole in every heart, and the rivers of that hemisphere ran blood.

Now it happened there was a fair and mighty domain across the waters called "The 'Land of the Torch," which took no part in the fray. It was the domain over which the Ogre's gossamer webs had drifted most thickly; and thousands of eyeballs were dimmed till they could no longer tell light from darkness. Thousands of' tongues were tied which never before had been bound, and which otherwise would have cried out in lusty protest. Thousands of ears were held in snares of the Ogre's own fashioning and one-snare said: "This Is destiny. It 'is written in the stars that these things, shall be." And the other snare said: "Ye are the keepers of the torch which your forefathers gave into your hands, and your mission is to hold it aloft for all to see, that the light of peace and liberty may not perish from the earth." 

So they held it up, higher than ever before, convinced that to bear it aloft, in calm and steady hands was their sole duty. But after awhile the flame, blown upon by the winds of war, began to waver, flaring up and flickering till they feared it would be quenched in its socket.  Then those who were neither blinded nor bound cried out that the torch was in danger; and unless the winds of war could be stopped it would be blown out. When these had helped set free those who were bound, they all arose of one accord to make the world a safe place for their sacred torch, so that it might burn on undimmed  forever. 

*   *   *

Law Makers Called.

They called together the law makers of the land and laid the matter before the chief torch keeper and he, being an astrologer, wise in reading the signs of the times as well as the signs of the zodiac, pointed out what course they should take. Then they cast lots and divided all the people into two portions, some to go and some to stay, and those who went forth to offer sacrifice said: "The last drop in our veins will we give to do this thing." And those who stayed at home to sacrifice said: "The last coin in our coffers will we give to do this thing."

When the Ogre heard that the Keepers of the Torch were searching the heavens, hoping by some chance to discover some constellation of evil import hitherto unknown to astrologers, which would change his boasted horoscope to an ill-starred one, he laughed in scorn. Sending for the chart which had been cast for him him at his hour of birth, he gloated over it, saying triumphantly, "I am invincible. From my cradle have I known my destiny, which is to make all creatures subject to my power."

So busy was he with dreams of conquest that he did not notice what was coming to pass. When forces from overseas joined the forces battling against him he said, "it is nothing. When word came that they were preparing shackles with which to bind him and his millions of vassals he said. "It is nothing." And he would not give ear when one brought rumors that a new firmament had come into sight, filled with countless stars, never before visible to the eye of man.

But such a thing had come to pass, for the Torch, passing from home to home across the continent, left a light in every window where a man went forth to defend its sacred flame. And each light became a star, and they called them "Service Stars," and the blacker the world grew with the night of war, the farther the stars shone out in the darkness, and the more new ones appeared. It was the Ogre's hand which made them visible, for had he not brought such night upon the world, they never would have shown out to proclaim his doom.

When so many stars blazed from the windows that the myriad lights reached the outposts of the Ogre's province, many of his vassals saw and trembled, and their heats sank within them. Then the chief Torch-keeper said to those whose lot it was to sacrifice at home, "Open now your coffers that we may have wherewithal to make strong bonds with which to bind those who have waxed fearful at the sight of the evil portent of our stars." And they did so, and the, power of the monster was weakened thereby.

*   *   *

Ogre Is Bound.

And again they did so, and yet another time when the Chief Torchkeeper bade them and there was great need, and the monster was stronger than they at first had reckoned him to be.

"When forty and nine months had looked down on the field of battle the Chief Torchkeeper said to the people: "Lo, it has grown so dark that the light of our service stars reaches now to the battlements of Beelzebub. Behold now is the time to open up your coffers once again, that we may have wherewithal to make strong bonds and take the monster himself. For the heart of him which feared no man, but was like the heart of a spider for cunning and cruelty and greed, has become as wax. He reads what is written in the firmament of the world's sacrifice and service, and for the first time he trembles. Let us bind him hand and foot and cast him into outer darkness.

Then they all arose gladly and in haste to give of their substance. And because they gave freely, in such great measure, pressed down and running over, there was no lack of bonds wherewith to encompass the ogre. And the doom of the monster came to pass, as it was written in the stars, and the sacrifice of bleeding hearts was not in vain. For the safety of the Torch was made sure throughout all the earth, and in every corner thereof its light was set to burn on undimmed forever.


Louisville Courier-Journal, November 11, 1918

Mrs. Johnston has long since avowed and demonstrated her belief in the presence of Prince Charming in stories written for young girls. To banish him from books is not to banish him from thoughts and dreams, and presently from life; so the "Little Colonel's Knight Comes Riding"' and Georgina who is 16 when she reappears in Mrs. Johnston's new story, meets the great adventure before her nineteenth birthday. They are very gentle and idealistic, these romances of youth, and well adapted to the gossamer fancies of their destined readers. They present the course of true love as it should be, and is; no doubt, in rare and happy cases.

But Georgina's account of her "misunderstood teens" is far from being all love story. There is plenty of humor in these "memoirs," thoughtfully provided against the day of fame which Georgina feels entitled to expect, "being the granddaughter of such a great Kentucky editor as Col. Clayton Shirley." The extravagances of adolescence --- so amusing to older, colder eyes, so real and tragic to 17 --- are given place without being caricatured, for Mrs. Johnston has too true a sympathy with youth to overemphasize its transient vagaries. Too much literary ridicule may work havoc in the china shop of adolescent dreams --- those dreams on which the future is founded. Mrs. Johnston gently indicates the danger of sentimentality, but she allows Georgina to achieve for herself a prompt and wholesome reaction. Never does she imply that youth's precious ideals are things to be outgrown and discarded; she reiterates, instead the truth that of such is the kingdom of heaven on earth.

The story of Georgina's friendships, her pleasures, her war service, her romance with its sacrifice and its promise, is designed especially for young girl readers, but, like Mrs. Johnston's previous books, it will doubtless find many adult admirers.

GEORGINA'S SERVICE STARS. By Annie Fellows Johnston. Britton Publishing Company, New York.


Georgina's Service Stars
By Annie, Fellows Johnston.

Louisville Post, December 7, 1918

The time for Prince Charming (which varies with varying princesses) has come now to Georgina --- whom we knew, such a short while ago, as a little girl in pinafores, and interested chiefly in her own Barby and the old bell-man.  The Prince, moreover --- O, rapture! --- has come to 'Georgina as a soldier. He comes, it is true, in plain, dull American khaki, with a plain, broad, dun-colored hat, sans braid, sans plume, and sans even buttons --- but, pray you, shy princesses, what is a little thing like that? The point is, he comes as a soldier, and one, also, who is fighting ,for a just and holy cause.

Georgina, it is needless to say, is the same dear child that she has always been. She thinks, to be sure, that she is greatly changed. Boarding school, she says, has matured her wonderfully --- In fact, she does not know herself for the little girl that she was --- but for us, as for Barby sale-lms.only grown taller, lengthened her, skirts, and changed the fashion of doing her pretty hair.  Mrs. Johnston, however, is the painter par excellence, of all this budding youth. She puts on airs with Georgina, she patronizes Barby (just at first); she is alternately philosophic and sentimental, and she treasures the thought of the Prince --- who turns, quite properly, to be none other than Richard!

All this, however, is merely to be expected.   Had we had, from Mrs. Johnston, only one charming speech --- the one which she made last year, at the meeting of the Library Association --- we should know her as the chronicler for youth, of all such springtime blossoming.  She has proven herself, however, not once but many times; she is the children's historian of childhood, but she paints, also; the very young girl --- that dear, egotistical creature, at once so hard and so tender, so foolish and so very sweet, so unlearned of life and of all living things the most lovely!

New York: The Britton Publishing Company.

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