Fellowship of the Ring
1-2-3. A Conspiacy Unmasked
[A door opens]
Well, here we are! What do you think of it? I've done my best to make it look like home.
[The door closes and silverwear is pulled out]
It's, eh - it's perfect, Merry. I hardly feel I've moved at all. What do you say, Sam?
Just like Bag End is is, Mr. Frodo. I - I'll make some supper.
[Sam rummages through the kitchen, preparing the meal]
Oh, good! Now, then. What have you three been up to? And... and what was the matter with Old Maggot? He sounded scared.
We've all been scared. And you would have been, too, if you'd been chased by Black Riders.
Black Riders? What are they?
Black figures riding on black horses. Cousin Frodo knows something more, but he's being close.
Very well. I can't keep it to myself any longer. I've got something to tell you, but - well, now I see how pleasant and comfortable and welcoming you've made this little place, Merry... I - I don't know how to begin.
I think I can help you.
By telling you some of it myself.
What do you mean?
Well, just this, my dear old Frodo: you are miserable, because you don't know how to say good-bye. You meant to leave the Shire, of course. But danger has come sooner than you expected, and now you are making up your mind to go at once. And you don't want to.
But! How, how...? I mean...?
Dear old Frodo! Did you really think you'd thrown dust in all our eyes? You have not been nearly careful or clever enough for that!
Good heavens! I thought I had been both careful and clever. I don't know what Gandalf would say. I mean... is all the Shire discussing my departure?
Oh no! No, no, don't worry about that! The - the secret won't keep for long, of course; but at present it is, I think, known only to us conspirators.
Anyway, the conspiracy has now been unmasked. And we're not going to let you escape so easily!
But I must go. It cannot be helped. It is wretched for us all, but - but please help me and don't hinder me!
You don't understand! Of course you must go - and therefore so must we.
What do you mean?
I mean that Merry and I are coming with you. Sam is an excellent fellow, and would jump down a dragon's throat to save you, if he didn't trip over his own feet first.
But you'll need more than one companion in your dangerous adventure.
My dear and most beloved hobbits! But I couldn't allow it. You speak of danger, but you do not know how deadly is that danger.
Of course we know. And that is why we have decided to come. We know the Ring is no laughing matter.
Y - yes, we know about the Ring. And we're going to do our best to help you against the Enemy.
But how...! How... I mean, is nothing safe?
Not too safe, I should say. But if you want to be introduced to our chief investigator in our little conspiracy, I can produce him.
Where is he?
Step forward, Sam.
Here's our collector of information!
And he collected a lot, I can tell you, before he was finally caught. After which, I may say, he seemed to regard himself as on parole, and dried up.
Yes, sir! Begging your pardon, sir! But I meant no wrong to you, Mr. Frodo, nor to Mr. Gandalf, for that matter. And he has some sense, mind you.
What is that supposed to mean?
Why, sir, when you said go alone, he said no! Take someone as you can trust.
But it doesn't seem that I can trust anyone!
Well, now, don't say that, Mr. Frodo, sir.
Look, Frodo. It all depends on what you want. You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin, to the bitter end.
And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours, closer than you keep it yourself.
But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone.
Anyway: there it is. We know most of what Gandalf has told you. We know a good deal about the Ring. We are horribly afraid - but we are coming with you.
Or follow you like hounds.
You are a set of deceitful scoundrels! But... but bless you! Oh, I had so dreaded this evening.
- - - - -
The next morning, the hobbits rose early and prepared to set out. They saddled up four sturdy little ponies for riding and loaded their baggage onto a fifth.
[A bird sings]
Well, Frodo. All is ready.
Which way are we to head?
For Rivendell, and the House of Elrond Half-elven. But we must not go by road. The Riders will be watching for us. So the only safe thing to do is to go of in a quite unexpected direction.
Then, we must go through the Old Forest and then on to Bree.
And Merry must lead us, for he knows the Forest better than any of us.
That's settled, then.
Still! I wish Gandalf were with us, all the same.
Well, come on! Gandalf or no Gandalf, the sooner we leave the Shire and those Riders behind, the better.
To Rivendell, where Elves yet dwell...
[Their ponies walk swiftly]
In glades beneath the misty fell,
Through moor and waste we ride in haste,
And whither then we cannot tell.
With foes ahead, behind us dread,
Beneath the sky shall be our bed,
Until at last our toil be passed,
Our journey done, our errand sped.
[The ponies' footsteps are heard]
To Rivendell, where Elves yet...
Oh, that's Bree, up ahead!
Ah! Is there anywhere there we can stay?
Eh, there's an inn, Frodo. The Prancing Pony, if I remember rightly.
I must say it will be good to find a fire and put a door between us and the night.
Well, it may be all we could wish, Pippin. But it is outside the Shire, all the same. Now, don't make yourselves too much at home. Oh, and please, remember, all of you that the name of Baggins must not be mentioned.
I am Mr. Underhill, if any name must be given.
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