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Go Not to Aunt Dora for Advice, for She Will Give It at Great Length...
Trewsday, 27 Rethe, S.R. 1389
Greenbriars, The Hill
My Dear Cousin Bilbo,
I cannot begin to Express my Joy at the News contained in your kind Invitation! That at last you have seen the Wisdom of my Advice, and decided to bring Drogo's dear Son back to dwell near his close Kindred once more is Most Welcome tidings! I will most certainly arrive at Bag End after Luncheon on Highday next in order to be Present at the Signing of the Certificate of Adoption. I think it is a Fine Idea to make a Party of the Occasion-- it will be all the more Memorable to those who are Privileged to Witness it, and will give Certain Others pause should they try to Create Trouble.
As Daisy and her Family are here now, I am quite certain they will also be Pleased to Accompany me, but I am sure you know that Dudo's health will not Permit him to Attend. He is, however, also Pleased at the news, and has expressed the Wish that young Frodo will come down the Hill to visit him soon.
I must say that I am very Glad you have Finally come to this Decision! It is only Right and Proper that a son of the Baggins name be reared among Bagginses. I daresay that the Brandybucks Mean Well. I have no Doubts of their Affection for Frodo; but the Wilds of Buckland can not be a Safe place for a Young Hobbit to grow up. I know that Menegilda and Esmeralda do their Best, but Buckland is scarcely Civilised! Not to mention the Dangers of that River which already claimed the lives of his dear Parents! Scarcely a day goes by that I have not Feared for his Safety, lest he suffer the same Dreadful Fate!
You know that I have great Regard for Menegilda, but Frodo belongs Here! The Reports (dare I say it, the Gossip!) that have Come to My Ears of Frodo's Wild Behaviour have been Alarming! While I do consider The Source (Lobelia can scarcely be called a Disinterested Party, and the Dreadful Behaviour of her own son, Lotho, does not give her Alarums much Credibility) I have heard some Things from others as well. Not all of it can be a Tempest in a Teapot and there is No Smoke Without Fire; It was our own Cousin Peony who told me of his Encounter with Farmer Maggot in the Marish after all, and she should know if any would. I cannot Imagine what Esmeralda and Saradoc were thinking to have Allowed him to be Gallivanting around like that with No Supervision!
He is, however, a Lad and a Tween, both of which Unfortunate Facts often lead to less than Stellar Behaviour!
You will, of course, now be Responsible for his Proper Upbringing! I hope that you know what that Entails! You must now set an Example of Respectable and Predictable Behaviour yourself. It is most Unfortunate that you Allowed yourself to be dragged off into the Wilds and embroiled in the Affairs of Dwarves and Wizards so long ago, and you know as well as I that the Repercussions of such a lapse remain with you even to this day! The name of Baggins is now as often as not a matter for Jests, and while I certainly do not agree with those who call you "Mad", it must be said that you Brought it On Yourself! You must take care that your own Reputation does not sully that of young Frodo.
I trust that you know his presence must Curtail those wanderings of yours! Rambling about the Shire and Sleeping Rough, like a common Vagabond, should not be thought of at your Age and Station! And I am quite sure that you should not be Dragging Frodo about on any such Expeditions!
It is a shame that there are not more young Gentlehobbits of Frodo's age living in this area. Sadly, most Bagginses have scattered in recent generations, and while young Lotho is near to Frodo's age, I most certainly would not Recommend him as a Companion! His actions are Far Worse than any I have heard of Frodo getting up to, and the lad has been Dreadfully Spoilt by Lobelia's indulgence and Otho's carelessness! And I certainly hope you do not intend to Expose him to the Took side of the Family at this time! No disrespect intended towards your Dear Mother's kin, but Tooks are unpredictable At Best, and under Lalia's thumb, have become Haughty and Unpleasant! Your late Grandmother Adamanta would be Most Distressed at the State of Things at the Great Smials these Days!
I also hope that you will Take Care as to whom you bring into your Home once Frodo is sharing it. I am not Unaware that even now you are harboring that very Wizard Gandalf who was Responsible for your Disgrace (not to mention one of the Dwarves you went off with), at Bag End! I do realise that you Owe Hospitality to these Unfortunate Acquaintances, but I hope you will discourage them from Frequenting the Shire hereafter! I know that the Wizard once made a habit of visiting your Grandfather Gerontius, but Hobbiton is not Tuckborough! And you know how those visits Turned Out! Why, your own Uncle Hildifons was never seen again after one of Gandalf's visits! And even Lalia has the sense to keep him away from the Great Smials now! As for Dwarves, they are all well and good when it comes to Trade, but the presence of this one only serves to stir up the old and unpleasant Gossip from your Regrettable Lapse.
I hope you realize that I am telling you These Things out of my own Regard for you, as well as my Affection for you and for Frodo. It is important that the lad have a Stable Home, with no Unsettling Influences! The Poor Child has been through more than Enough Difficulties at his Tender Age!
I have given some Consideration as to the best thing to do for Frodo once the Adoption has been Signed and Sealed. As Family Head for the Bagginses, it is your duty to Strengthen the Ties of Family. Therefore, I think as Soon as Possible you should arrange to have a Family Reunion. Frodo knows the Brandybuck side of his family very well, but It Is Time for him to begin to know the various Bagginses, Boffins, Bolgers, Goodbodies, Chubbs, Grubbs, Proudfoots, and dare I say it, even the Bracegirdles as well! Such a gathering would allow you to Officially Introduce him as your Heir. I daresay it will Annoy Lobelia and Otho. I am certain that so far as you are concerned that would Entertain you!
You must also Consider other aspects of Frodo's Education. I know that you will be his Tutor yourself ( you were always an Excellent Teacher), and I know that among the Brandybucks he has learned to ride, and has taken lessons in Art. But I am not so sure that a Bachelor such as yourself is best Fitted to teach him Proper Comportment. I will be Most Pleased to Undertake such a task. He must learn that there are Differences here in Hobbiton from the free and easy ways of the Brandybucks! And I do not recall any reports that Frodo was given any instruction in Music and Dance while he lived at Brandy Hall. Such omissions must be Clarified.
Frodo will also need regular and Proper Meals while under your Roof! I know that you often Take Liberties with the proper times of Meals! But he is a Growing Lad and will need his Nourishment on a regular basis.
Finally, I should mention that while I know your own Health is Remarkably, and some say Unnaturally, Robust, you may not realize the various Ailments and Accidents the Young may be prone to. You will need to consider what Healer to call when Frodo takes Ill, or should come to some Regrettable Harm through the sorts of activities Tweens undertake. I recommend Mistress Salvia Gawkroger. She is a Family Connexion, through her aunt on her mother's side, Columbine Goodbody, Cousin Tollo's late wife. She is an Excellent and Sensible Practitioner, who has dealt Sensitively with Dudo's various Ailments, and has on Occasion treated me as well. She has the further Advantage of living at the foot of the Hill-- quite nearby in the case of any Emergency-- and she has a very good Apprentice in the event that she is Otherwise Occupied when called.
I look forward to seeing you and young Frodo on Highday! Please give to him the Loving Regards of his old Aunt!
Your Affectionate Cousin,
P.S. Please tell Frodo that I should very much like to see him wearing the Embroidered Waistcoat with which I gifted him on my Last Birthday!
P.P.S. When planning the Menu for the Occasion, do not forget that Daisy's husband Griffo has an Unfortunate Reaction to Cucumbers, and that Cousin Ponto cannot abide Mutton. Also, I suggest Strongly that you have a Separate Table for the younger children!
P.P.P.S. I shall take it as a given that the Sackville-Bagginses will not be Invited. While I normally Do Not Approve of such slights to Family, I think that on this Particular Occasion it is the Wisest Course! I am afraid that their Presence would be Disruptive to the Purpose of the Party; I shall take particular care not to mention the Invitation to Lobelia should I have any reason to Encounter her between now and Highday next.
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