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AUTHOR’S NOTES, CHAPTER FOUR
Here is the link to pictures of some of the items in the box:
Following are the full texts of three of the letters quoted in chapter four.
The full text of Esmeralda’s letter to Bilbo:
My dear Cousin Bilbo,
In response to your kind invitation, I must let you know that of course young Frodo will be coming, as well as Saradoc and Father Rory. Mother Menegilda, as you know, will not be there--I am quite sure you have of necessity invited the S.-B.s, and she will not take any chances of encountering them. Since it would create a painful scene, I believe that is just as well.
I will not be attending your Birthday this year however. I do not plan to be doing much travelling for the next several months, as sometime in mid-Solmath, Saradoc and I will be expecting the arrival of our first child!
Frodo is doing somewhat better. He is still far too melancholy for his age, and it has been nearly a year and a half since we lost Primula and Drogo. However the knowledge that he would be going to see you in Hobbiton has piqued his interest, and he is very much looking forward to the visit.
Since I will not be seeing you, I take this opportunity to wish you a very Happy Birthday and many more happy returns of the occasion.
With fondness I remain,
I thank you so much for promptly informing us of Frodo's whereabouts.
We had been frantic at discovering that he was missing, and my father had already ordered dragging the River, fearing the worst.]
We were furious to discover what he had done until we read his own letter, and realized how hurt he must have been. I am still a bit upset that he did not feel he could confide in me, however that has never been an easy thing for him to do--I was very angry indeed at Aunt Asphodel and Uncle Rufus. They had no business interfering, nor saying things of that sort to Frodo.
Da and I spoke to them, however, and showed them Frodo's letter, and they were appalled to realize the effect their careless words had on the lad. I am afraid that Uncle Rufus has never been terribly insightful or tactful of people's feelings, and Aunt Asphodel has always been one to think she knows more of things than she actually does. And not living here at the Hall, they had never before seen how distressed poor Frodo becomes near the anniversary of his parents' death. They meant no harm, but I am afraid that Esme and I will never quite feel the same about them after this. Most especially Esme was infuriated that Aunt Asphodel would seek to keep Frodo away from Merry.
At any rate, if you really do not mind having him there, we are certainly glad to consent to his remaining for a couple of months. We will work out the exact length of his stay later. And by all means I will abide by any punishment you care to set him, as I am not certain whether I would hug him or thrash him or both were I to have him in front of me now, I am so torn between relief and anger. However, I must say that extra lessons will not be much of a hardship to him, unless they are sums!
My mother wishes to remind you that she would prefer you keep him away from the Sackville-Bagginses. Knowing how you avoid them like the plague, I scarcely think you need such a reminder! And I know that in Hobbiton it may not be possible for him to avoid them altogether. However, I can with a clear conscience let her know that I have passed on her message.
Once again, thank you so much for letting us know our lad is safe!
Thirty-three years ago today, your father sent me a letter saying that I had given he and your mother the finest birthday gift I could have ever given them – you. I must say that your father was quite right.
My own adventure lies on a path outside the Shire now. Do not be sad, Frodo; I shall always love you.
But one hundred eleven years in any place is long enough. Gandalf stirred something inside me when he forced me out of my bright green door at Bag End and out into the world beyond the Shire. Oh, I don’t blame Gandalf, he knew the adventurous sort when he saw it. Call it the Took foolish spirit of adventure I inherited from my mother or call it Baggins’ determination, but with all of the hobbits of my age gone, I am determined now to go live the remainder of my days outside the Shire with my dear friends I made on my journey long ago.
I have never forgotten the great friends and acquaintances I made on that journey to the Misty Mountains. Frodo, it’s a large world out there, a world full of wonders beyond our imaginations. You may recall when Balin visited us the spring that you finally came to live at Bag End and how he wished for me to go with him to the Mines of Moria. I felt the old tug of longing to go beyond the Shire once more that summer and I have felt it every time Gandalf has visited us or I have seen a Dwarf or an Elf pass through the Shire. But I would not go then, for I had you – my dear lad, someone special that a confirmed old bachelor such as me could never have hoped to have the opportunity to raise. Do not feel bad for me, Frodo. I do not regret my decision to remain for an instant, for I am much the richer for having you live with me. You are worth much more to me than all the jewels of Moria and the Misty Mountains combined.
Ever since you came to live with me, my life has been filled with warmth and laughter. While I have had plenty of young lads, including your own father, in my charge as a teacher, it pales in comparison to the joy you have given me day in and day out. We are kindred spirits with the same love of learning and sense of adventure. I could not have asked for a finer young hobbit to be as my own. Raising you was my greatest and grandest adventure.
But now that adventure has come to an end, for you are an adult no longer needing the care of a guardian. You have grown up into a caring, intelligent hobbit with sound judgment that would make your parents proud. You are ready to become Master of Bag End. And Master of Bag End is an adventure that I wish for you – you are still in love with the Shire, and deserve the chance to *be* your own master for a while. Otherwise, and make no mistake, I would have loved to have your company on this last adventure. But I cannot be that selfish.
And so, I leave Bag End and all of my possessions to you, dear Frodo, as I go now to whatever adventure may next await me. Perhaps we shall meet again, but if not, know that I love you, my dear cousin, as if you were my own son.
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