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“You had best get your hands on it,” Pippin said, “before the scholars do,” to which Faramir had laughed and respectfully pointed out that all three of them could lay claim to that appellation.
“No, no, not that kind of scholar. I mean the loremongering types, the ones who in their rush to uncover the ‘truth’ lay waste to a thing of utter beauty. They’re going to have a holiday with this”—he gestured to the book that lay before him—“and you know it.”
“There’s nothing wrong in a search for objectivity and accuracy,” said Merry.
“Yes, and you can’t get too much more accurate than eyewitness testimony!”
Merry snorted at that. “You’ve had more than your fair share trying cases where two eyewitnesses swear on their grandmothers that the exact opposite thing happened.”
“Well, yes, but—” Pippin stopped. He had been about to pour himself another cup of tea, and simply froze with the teapot—a small, worn thing made for hobbit hands—tilted and steam coming out of the spout. “It’s different when it’s Frodo.” He poured the cup of tea. “He actually did his research, and he knew when to step out and let other voices take over.”
“There is still room for error,” said Faramir. “I know that Frodo did not part with my brother on the best of terms, and although even when I met him in the wilds of Ithilien he spoke favourably of his courage and nobility I could tell. I remember speaking with him, afterwards, about the entire matter.”
“Yes,” said Pippin, “and you were closeted away with him, telling him stories of when the two of you were younger, so that he could try to get a better impression of Boromir.”
“He did not ask me to stop, that is for certain,” said Faramir. “From what I recall of him, Frodo son of Drogo was nothing if not just.”
“So,” said Pippin, turning on his cousin, “what makes you think all these scholars of Gondor, generations after the fact, will do a better job of it than our cousin?”
“I never said that!” said Merry. “You know everybody here loves Boromir, and they’ll probably rip into Frodo for not being kind enough to him, actually. I was only defending their intentions. I don’t think anyone should hold a historical text—much less a private memoir—so sacred that they’re willing to put history itself on a shelf to defend it. Frodo was, after all, only a hobbit.”
“Is,” repeated Merry, and Faramir had to remind himself that Frodo may very well still be alive, among the Elves. Still, he did not think that Merry had implied that Frodo was dead—only that he had ceased to have a say in what people did with his writing. Merry, however, did not push the point, so neither did Faramir.
“Well,” said Pippin, “it’s our memories that these scholars are mucking around in—us and our friends—and I’ll be obliged if they leave them alone, just a little bit longer. I’d much rather have an imperfect memory than a dry old history that’s so true it’s lost all meaning.”
“Do you mind if I look at the book now?” said Faramir.
“Not at all,” said Pippin.
“Yes,” added Merry, “and you must forgive us for being so old and crotchety. We’re much too used to being in stories, and not out of them.”
“Indeed,” said Faramir, and he picked up the volume. “Listen, when we finally deposit this at the Archives, you may be interested in meeting my grandson…”
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