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Eglantine Took eyed the platter that lay on the table before her, empty now save for a few crumbs, with distaste. Intent on filling that one last corner, she’d intended to have that one last walnut pastry. However, that had been snatched up by Odo Proudfoot as he walked by, and even now he was biting into it with gusto.
She turned to her left, where Pippin was still sitting turned away from her, listening to the talk between Will Whitfoot, Saradoc Brandybuck, her Paladin, and Samwise Gamgee. Where Frodo was she couldn’t begin to guess, for he’d disappeared earlier immediately after the speeches given by those running for Mayor, and he hadn’t bothered to come to the tea offered the Family Heads and their immediate families. She tapped her son on the arm—really, his shoulder was absurdly high since he’d returned from his travels, and he immediately turned to her attentively. “Yes, Mum?”
“I was wondering if there were any more of the walnut pastries left on any of the other tables,” she said.
He half rose as he looked around, and smiled. “Oh, yes—over at the table where the Smallfoots were seated. Would you like one?”
“Oh, yes, dearling!”
“I’ll go fetch the platter over,” he said, straightening to his (rather alarming) full height.
She, however, grabbed his wrist and indicated he should sit again. “You don’t have to go fetch it yourself. You are the Thain’s son, after all. Just send Sam to bring it.”
Pippin, however, was shaking his head. “Send Sam? Oh, I don’t dare do any such thing—he’s busy talking with the Thain, the Master, and the Mayor. Frodo would have my head. He didn’t even allow me to order Sam about before we left the Shire, you know.”
“And why would he do any such thing? Sam is Frodo’s gardener, after all, and you are, as I pointed out, the Thain’s son.”
Pippin gave a snort. “The Thain’s son, am I? Well, perhaps I am, as well as being a Captain of the Guard of the Citadel and a Knight of Gondor. But Sam is now the Lord Perhael of all of the Free Peoples of Middle Earth, and that outranks me by a long shot. In fact,” he added as he again rose to his feet, “considering who named him that, I suspect he may well outrank the King himself. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be right back with those pastries….”
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