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“Merry! Frodo! I’ve been waiting for you ever so long! Papa--I mean Father--said I could stay with Cousin Bilbo till you came and I got to play with Sam and I got stinged by a bee and Sam fixed it with pipe-weed and Cousin Bilbo is making seedcake for tea and--”
Merry grabbed his tiny cousin and swung him about, and then pretending to throw him, held him up to Frodo, who, with one smooth move, plopped him atop his shoulders. Pippin squealed in glee, and tangled his fingers in Frodo’s dark curls.
“I thought you would *never* get here! Cousin Bilbo said you went to visit Cousin Fatty but he said you’d be home in time for tea and--”
The cousins came through the gate to Bag End, which Pippin had left swinging open, and Merry shut it carefully behind him.
“Cousin Bilbo wouldn’t climb the tree with me he said he is too old Frodo so maybe you will climb with me did you know that weeds can choke flowers? Sam said so--”
Sam stood by the path, grinning and shaking his head. “Hullo, Merry! Mr. Frodo! I’ve been keeping him company while Mr. Bilbo makes tea.”
“Father and Mother and Pearl and Pimmie and Vinca are going to be here for supper! Cousin Bilbo says we are having leg of lamb and mint jelly and potatoes and--”
Merry patted Sam’s arm sympathetically. Sam glanced up at the little one, who seemingly had yet to run out of breath. “Does he ever stop talking?”
“--we have new kittens at the farm Merry maybe you can come see them soon--”
Merry laughed. “Only when he’s asleep, Sam!”
The cousins headed into the smial. “--can Merry and me sleep with you tonight Frodo? I’d like that ever so--”
And as the green door closed behind them, Sam chuckled, and turned his attention to the flowerbeds.
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