07 December 2018

The Gaffer should give lessons (FR 1.iii.69)

Gandalf's 'good morning' exchange with Bilbo in the first chapter of The Hobbit is rightly famous as much for its humor as for Bilbo's failure to get the wizard to go away and leave him alone. There is another scene, however, in which a hobbit outside Bag End succeeds in baffling the inquiries of an unwelcome visitor, and sees him off. In Three's Company, as Frodo, Pippin, and Sam are about to leave Bag End, Frodo overhears Gaffer Gamgee speaking to a stranger who proves to be one of Ringwraiths hunting Frodo.

[Frodo] turned to go back, and then stopped, for he heard voices, just round the corner by the end of Bagshot Row. One voice was certainly the old Gaffer’s; the other was strange, and somehow unpleasant. He could not make out what it said, but he heard the Gaffer’s answers, which were rather shrill. The old man seemed put out. 
‘No, Mr. Baggins has gone away. Went this morning, and my Sam went with him: anyway all hisstuff went. Yes, sold out and gone, I tell’ee. Why? Why’s none of my business, or yours. Where to? That ain’t no secret. He’s moved to Bucklebury or some such place, away down yonder. Yes it is – a tidy way. I’ve never been so far myself; they’re queer folks in Buckland. No, I can’t give no message. Good night to you!’ 
Footsteps went away down the Hill.
(FR 1.iii.69)

Bilbo was clearly too polite.

1 comment:

  1. It is about who is being looked for. One Baggins is at home and the other is not.