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When the two hobbits had retired for the night—somehow their agedness seemed a worse blow even than his wife’s, for he had only seen it happen in fits—Faramir finally had the chance to open the book.
He recognised many the hands from his correspondence. It was mostly Merry’s handwriting, or Pippin’s, but a few times he thought he saw their wives’ hands, and once, that of Master Samwise.
He dwelt on that a moment; it was still odd to think of Sam as passed—not dead, necessarily, but sailed over to Elvenesse where Faramir hoped he had found healing for old wounds.
Then, there were other hands—friends, probably, that Faramir had never known, or children who had never written to him.
He didn’t even recall what Frodo Baggins’ handwriting looked like. But he knew it was not there.
The first thing that struck him, aside from the handwriting, was the use of person. Most of the historical texts that Faramir had read, for lore, pleasure, or both, had made use of the Elven tradition and used an objective point of view, in the third person. Even when the author had been present at the event, such as a military campaign, even when it was painfully obvious that he was distorting matters to make himself look like a tactical mastermind, there had always been that veneer of objectivity.
Not so with Frodo’s testimony. There were restrained discussions of personal feelings (though, Faramir was reluctantly grateful that there was almost nothing on the Ring-bearer’s actual burden), and, more obviously, for the parts where Frodo was present and lucid, it was told entirely in the first person. Even when he was absent there were a few comments here and there, where Faramir could hear the hobbit’s voice as if he were standing just there, behind his shoulder, peering over at the page—if logs can be contented—and so on.
Faramir was not a superstitious man, but it felt as if there were a ghost there, that night, one that he hadn’t seen in years, and he was brought back to conversations on the heights of Minas Tirith and laughter over distant shadows.
It may not have been history, but it was an old friend.
He read it in the time that he could spare, and when he was finished, he invited Merry and Pippin over for tea again.
“Tell me,” he said, “about your cousin.”
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