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A Not-So-Simple Misunderstanding  by Dreamflower

 (Part 4, by Celeritas of the Handy team)

As Pippin dolefully dug into his food (taking food in his room inevitably reminded him of being sick and so took some of the joy out of every meal), Pearl glanced at the essay he had written. "May I read it?" she said.

Pippin nodded, and tried not to let his thoughts fill with dreams of milk fresh from the cow and the steaming bread and hearty stews of the farm. It wasn't so terrible here at lunch, true, but for breakfast...

"Tut, tut," said Pearl.

"What? It's finished, isn't it?"

"Pippin, you write like a rainstorm, not a river."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

She pointed at the last few paragraphs, the ones where his writing had gotten small. "You only got to the point here, Pip. You're supposed to get to the point here," she said, gesturing to the first paragraph, "or here if you're very lucky," gesturing to the second.

"Well, I'm terribly sorry, but I'm bored."

"I didn't say Da wouldn't accept it. He does know you're sorry. Only--"

"Only I have to be made an example of here, I know, so no one thinks anyone's playing favourites..."

"Pippin!"

Pippin sighed.

"It'll be fine. In fact," she added, looking over the essay again, "I have a grand idea that I think will help. Do you mind if I talk to Da?"

"What is it?" said Pippin, slowly. He still remembered some of Pearl's other "grand ideas" and he did not know whether this was actually a good one in the long run.

"Peregrin," said Pearl, in her snobbiest voice, "clearly still has no idea of how to function in a Proper Society. And until he learns, he ought not to be at the Great Smials."

"Really? Could I go home, then?"

"He must learn," continued Pearl, "proper decorum. Preferably," she added, going down to a whisper, "with an older, respectable cousin."

Pippin's eyes widened.

"I can't guarantee anything, but I'll let Mum and Da know the idea, at least."





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