HITTY
PREBLE
Hitty's first hundred years home
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These are Hitty's adventures in the original book, Hitty, Her First Hundred Years, by Rachel Field.

With the Prebles

1827
to
1829

Chapter 1   Hitty is carved out of mountain ash wood (for good luck) by the old Irish peddler, and given to Phoebe Preble. (Many people believe Hitty's birthday is January 22.) One Sunday Phoebe sneaks her into church, drops her under the pew, and can't pick her up. She spends a miserable few days there, what with the extreme cold, and the frightful bats, until she is found by Andy and the peddler.

Chapter 2   Andy, Phoebe, and Hitty go on a picnic in the woods. The children see American Indians and run away, leaving Hitty behind. Soon a crow carries her to its nest in the top of a pine tree. Two days later Hitty finds that the tree is right next to the Preble house. That night she falls from the nest but is caught in branches high above the ground. After weeks dangling, Andy spies her in the tree. Captain Preble rescues her with a frying fork lashed to a long pole.

Chapter 3   Captain Preble makes a miniature cradle for Hitty. The captain and his family visit Boston to see about refitting his whaling ship. He finds that he must immediately sail the vessel, with his wife acting as cook. Phoebe, Andy, and Hitty will also go along.

Chapter 4   They sail from Boston on the Diana-Kate. Hitty experiences a severe storm at sea. The ship springs a leak and loses its topmast. Finally, the storm abates.

Chapter 5   Hitty sees her first whale being caught and rendered, and then several more. The mate encourages grumbling in the crew. In the South Seas, fire breaks out on the ship. The crew and the Prebles part ways, taking to different longboats. Hitty is accidentally left behind, but falls into the sea just before the fire reaches her.

Chapter 6   Hitty floats for days, until fetching up on an island -- the very one which also shelters the Preble family. Andy rescues her from a tidal pool. Natives come from a nearby island. They capture Hitty and take her to their camp.

Chapter 7   Hitty is placed in a bamboo temple and worshipped as an idol by the natives. Her only friends are the monkeys. Andy again rescues her just as the Preble family escapes the island in the one remaining longboat. They row all night towards a light from a passing vessel. Finally they are seen.

Chapter 8   They board the Hesper, bound for Bombay, India. They arrive there and go ashore. Phoebe gets her father to buy a coral nose ring just right as a necklace for Hitty. Phoebe, sleepy, drops and loses Hitty in Bombay.

With the Indian Snake Charmer

Hitty is found by a snake charmer, and is used in his act. She meets the cobra. A missionary couple sees Hitty and buys her for their daughter, Little Thankful.

With Little Thankful
(2 years)

Chapter 9   At Little Thankful's side, Hitty first learns reading, writing, and counting. Little Thankful falls ill, but recovers. She is sent to her grandparents for a change of air. She and Hitty sail to Philadelphia on The Rainbow. The grandparents welcome and pamper them. Little Thankful takes Hitty to a birthday party at the Pryces' house. The other girls tease them. Little Thankful is ashamed of Hitty and hides her in a horsehair sofa.

In the Pryces' sofa
(10 years)

Chapter 10   The sofa is moved to the Pryces' attic. Hitty spends a long, lonely, uncomfortable time cramped inside the sofa, visited only by mice and moths. Meanwhile the birthday girl grows up and gets married.

With Clarissa Pryce

Some children play in the attic and find Hitty. She is adopted by Clarissa Pryce, whose family are Quakers. She takes Hitty to school with her. Hitty perfects her writing skills. She gets a doll house with a tiny desk, braided rug, and china dog. Clarissa sneaks out of her house with Hitty to see opera singer Adelina Patti. Patti sings wonderfully. The crowd goes wild and sweeps Hitty and Claissa onto the very platform with the singer.

Chapter 11   Clarissa has her daguerreotype taken, and the photographer also takes one of Hitty. Poet John Greenleaf Whittier visits the Pryce family and admires Hitty and her daguerreotype so much, he writes a poem for Clarissa about Hitty. The Civil War starts and Clarissa plays with Hitty less and less.

Chapter 12   Towards the end of the Civil War, Clarissa is sent away to boarding school and Hitty goes into camphor for nearly two years. During that time, the box she is in is sent to cousins in New York City, but is delivered to the Van Rensselaer house by mistake.

With Miss Pinch

Miss Pinch, a seamstress for the Van Rensselaer family, finds Hitty while looking for lace. She keeps Hitty hidden in her room and makes a stylish outfit for her. Isabella finds Hitty in Miss Pinch's room and wants her. Mr. Van Rensselaer buys Hitty for Isabella.

With Isabella Van Rensselaer

Isabella makes Hitty her favorite doll, taking her everywhere. At Monsieur Pettoe's dancing school, Hitty closely watches the dancers, but later finds she cannot waltz because of her pegs. Walking on Fifth Avenue, they meet Charles Dickens. Isabella drops Hitty and the famous author picks her up.

Chapter 13   Late on New Years Eve, Isabella slips out of the house just because she is naughty. She is overtaken by a group of young toughs. Hitty is snatched from her hand and marched around on a stick as a prize. Her finery is ruined. One of the gang takes her for his visiting cousin, Katie.

With Katie

Katie and her mother take Hitty home to Pawtucket, Rhode Island on a steam train. Katie is delicate and stays home all day in the kitchen helping her mother. Katie falls sick and is sent, with Hitty, to a farm in the country to regain strength. There are six other children there. They all go on a hay ride. Hitty is lost in the hay wagon. She is pitched with the hay into a barn. The children can't find her. Katie grows stronger and forgets about her. Hitty spends years in the hay loft. She becomes friendly with the barn swallows and field mice that visit her. She loses her coral beads.

With Mr. Farley

Chapter 14  Hitty is pitched out of the hay loft and discovered. She is sold to Mr. Farley, an artist, for a quarter. He uses her as a prop when painting children. She travels with him for a good many years as he paints portraits. They go by paddle wheel steamer to New Orleans. It is close to Mardi Gras time, and the only room the artist can find is in an old house in the French quarter owned by Miss Annette and Miss Hortense Larraby. They see the festival. In summer the artist takes coffee with the Larraby sisters, and brings Hitty. They admire her. Soon after, the sisters are invited to exhibit their mother's embroidered gown at the New Orleans Cotton Exposition. They agree, and get the idea to dress Hitty in the fashion of their own younger days. The artist consents, and lends Hitty to the Miss Larrabys.

With Misses Annette and Hortense Larraby

The Larraby sisters take great care and make a magnificent white cotton wedding dress for Hitty out of their great-grandmother's wedding handkerchief. They send her to the Cotton Exposition.

At the Cotton Exposition

Hitty is placed in a glass case in a place of honor at the Cotton Exposition, and admired by all. One little girl comes back day after day to see her. When the key is accidently left in the cabinet one day, the girl steals her.

With Sally Loomis

Hitty was taken by Sally Loomis, the daughter of a riverboat captain. Sally keeps her hidden away in a sweetgrass basket. They travel on the Morning-Glory up the Mississippi River and stop at an old wharf near some cabins. Sally takes Hitty ashore in the basket. They attend services at a black church. The preacher touches on the sin of stealing, and Sally feels uneasy. A sudden and violent thunderstorm hits. Afraid of the lightning, Sally throws Hitty into the river, basket and all.

With Cooky

Chapter 15   Hitty floats down the Mississippi and is found by two black boys out fishing. She spends the day at the bottom of their boat with fish, frogs, and a furious snapping turtle. One of the boys, Cooky by name, decides to give Hitty to his little sister Car'line.

With Car'line

Car'line loves Hitty at first sight. They play together with the other children. Hitty enjoys the music and singing in the cabin. Car'line attends a Christmas Eve party at the plantation house. Miss Hope, the plantation owner's daughter, notices Hitty and recognizes her as the doll lost from the Cotton Exposition. Miss Hope swaps with Car'line, her own childhood doll for Hitty.

With Miss Hope
(a week or so)

Miss Hope washes Hitty's clothes and writes to a friend in New Orleans about finding the lost doll. She seals Hitty in a box and sends her to the friend, who apparently forwards her to the Cotton Exposition Officials.

With the Cotton Exposition Officials

The Cotton Exposition had been over for months. The Misses Larraby tell Cotton Exposition officials that Hitty belongs to the artist, Mr. Farley, but they don't know his address. Hitty spends some time in a desk drawer. Finally the officials learn the artist's last known address in New York City, and send Hitty there in a wooden box.

In the Dead Letter Office

The Post Office makes several attempts to deliver the box with Hitty inside, but the artist cannot be found anywhere. The box is sent to the dead letter office.

With Charlie the Postman
(part of a day)

The Post Office auctions off, unopened, items in the dead letter office, and Hitty's box is bought by a postman. He thinks little of the contents. After lighting his pipe in a tobacco shop, he accidentally leaves her and the box behind.

In the Tobacco Shop
(1 day)

The tobacco shop clerk leaves Hitty in her box, thinking the customer will come back for her. Next day, a different clerk accidentally wraps and sells the box with two other boxes, thinking all three contain clay pipes.

With Jim the Ticket Agent and his Wife
(1 month)

The buyer, a ticket agent at a railway station, opens the box and finds Hitty rather than pipes. He angrily calls her an ugly old doll and throws her down. His wife claims Hitty and turns her into a pincushion by wrapping her waist and legs with padded cloth. She sells her handiwork at a church fair.

With Maggie Arnold
(a short time)

Chapter 16   Maggie Arnold buys Hitty as a birthday present for her Great Aunt Louella, and sends her off to Louella, in Boston.

With Great Aunt Louella
(part of a day)

Louella receives the gift but neither needs nor wants a pincushion. That same day her friend Pamela Wellington, a doll collector, comes to tea and admires Hitty as a doll rather than a pincushion. Louella gives Hitty to her.

With Pamela Wellington
(some years)

Pamela removes Hitty's mummy-like wrapping, restoring her to a doll. She estimates that Hitty might be approaching 100 years old. Hitty gets a yellow rocking chair and becomes her most prized doll. Several years pass. Miss Wellington decides to spend summer in the country, and take Hitty with her. Hitty takes her first ride in a horseless carriage. She is bumped from the motorcar and lands among some tree roots. The chauffeur cannot find her, and she is finally left behind. A week later she is found by picnickers.

With the Picnickers
(part of a day)

The young men and women joke and fool with Hitty, but at day's end they return their rented horse-drawn wagon, leaving Hitty in it.

At the Rental Stable, 1913
(all summer)

Hitty remains seated in the wagon for a few days. She learns she is back in Maine. The stable man finds her and puts her on the office window sill. Hitty's dress fades in the sun and she is covered in dust. Bessie, the stable man's daughter, cleans the office. She finds Hitty and suggests giving her to Carrie, her married sister, who has children.

With Carrie
(2 or 3 years)

Carrie realizes that Hitty is old, and so she doesn't let her children play with Hitty. She learns that old things are popular, and sets up a sort of antique store in her front parlor. Hitty is eventually sold to an old lady for two dollars.

With the Old Lady
(a number of years)

The old lady puts Hitty in her back parlor, in a display case full of bric-a-brac. Hitty suddenly notices that the room is in the old Preble house where she was first carved! She has come home!

Hitty spends a quiet time there with the china animals in the what-not case. Sometimes she could hear the church bell ringing. The old lady leaves for the city each winter, and returns each spring.

Chapter 17   One year the old lady doesn't return. The house remains locked up all summer. In September, men come in and put tags on everything. Next day an auction is held. There is an exciting bidding war for Hitty, between a large lady and an old gentleman. The man wins with a bid of fifty-one dollars.

[There is a painting by Grandma Moses, "Sold at Auction", depicting this auction.]

With the Antiques Buying Agent
(a day or two)

The old gentleman is buying agent for an antique shop. He understands Hitty, both as a valuable doll, and as a personality. He puts her in his breast pocket and treats her to a walk down the old road she knew from her time with the Prebles. He takes her by train to an antique shop on Eighth Street in New York City.

In the Antique Shop

Last Remarks   Miss Hunter, the shop owner, puts Hitty in the shop window with her name written on a slip of paper pinned to her dress. The old gentleman often brings Hitty gifts when he returns from his buying trips. Hitty notices Rachel Field and Dorothy Lathrop admiring her through the window. She sees an airplane through the window. She looks forward to leaving the shop with a customer, and feels that many more adventures await her.

Hitty's new adventures

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