BBC Transcript - Lord of the Ring -

[Their ponies come to a stop]

Sam: Well, is this the inn?

Merry: Yes, Sam. Why? What's the matter?

Sam: Well, surely we - we aren't going to stay here, are we, sir? I mean - it's got three stories!

[Frodo and Pippin laugh]

Frodo: Never mind. It will have to do. And I - I daresay it's homelike enough inside.

[He knocks. The group shivers. He knocks again, louder]

Butterbur: All right! All right! I'm coming.

[The door opens]

Butterbur: Now, what's all this... oh, good evening, little Masters! What may you be wantin'?

Frodo: Eh, beds for four, and stabling for five ponies, if that can be managed. Oh, are you Mr. Butterbur?

Butterbur: That's right. Barliman's my name. Barliman Butterbur, at your service. And you're hobbits from the Shire, eh?

Frodo: Yes.

Pippin: Yes.

Frodo: Ehm...

Butterbur: Oh! Now, now, what does that remind me of? Might I ask your name, sir?

Frodo: Ehm, Mr. Took and Mr. Brandybuck.

Butterbur: How do you do?

Pippin: How do you do?

Frodo: And - and this is Sam Gamgee.

Butterbur: Evening.

Sam: How do you do?

Frodo: And, ehm - my name in Underhill.

Butterbur: Now, Mr. Underhill! Oh - oh, now. Oh, there now! It's gone again. But it'll come back when I have time to think. I'm run off my feet; but I'll see what I can do for you. There is such a crowd in the house tonight as there hasn't been for long enough. Still, it never rains, but when it pours, as we say in Bree. Hi! Nob! Where are you, you wolly-footed slow-coach? Nob!

[Frodo laughs]

Nob: Coming, sir, coming!

Butterbur: Now, where's Bob?

Nob: Oh, I don't know, Mr. Butterbur.

Butterbur: You don't know? Well find him! Double sharp!

Nob: Oh, ah...

Butterbur: I haven't got six legs, nor six eyes neither! Now tell Bob there's five ponies that have to be stabled and he must find room somehow. Well, off you go!

Nob: Oh, y - yes, Mr. Butterbur!

Butterbur: Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! Well, now, what - what was I going to say, now? Oh, I don't know. The trouble is: one thing drives out another, so to speak. And I'm that busy tonight, my head's going round.

[He laughs]

Butterbur: Anyway, it's a good job you're hobbits. Or I doubt if we could house you. But we've got a room or two in the north wing that were made special for hobbits. On the ground floor with round windows and all. I hope you'll find them comfortable.

Frodo: Happy now, Sam?

Sam: Oh yes, Mr. Frodo. That sounds most comfortable.

Butterbur: And you'll be wanting supper, I don't doubt, as soon as maybe?

Pippin: Yes, please!

Sam: Yes, please!

Butterbur: Well... well, come in, come in! You can go into the parlour. It's quiet in there.

Frodo: Oh, thank you!

Butterbur: Well, you'll have to excuse me now. I'm that busy.

[A fire roars. Dinner-dishes are handled. Merry stretches]

Frodo: More cheese to fill up the corners with, Merry?

[Merry pats his stomach]

Merry: No corners left, I'm afraid.

[They laugh. The parlour door opens]

Butterbur: Oh, begging your pardon for disturbing you, Mr. Underhill!

Frodo: That's all right, Mr. Butterbur. Eh, we've - we've just finished. And it was an excellent meal.

Pippin: Hear, hear!

[The other hobbits express their agreement]

Butterbur: Oh, good. I'm glad. But what I was wondering was whether you'd care to join the company when you'd supped? I mean, they'd be very pleased to welcome you, if you had a mind. We don't often get Outsiders - travellers from the Shire, I should say. And we like to hear a bit of news, or any story or song you may have in mind. So... so join us! Or not, as you please.

Frodo: Oh, well, thank you, Mr. Butterbur. Perhaps we will!

Butterbur: Well, now. I must be getting on again.

[He opens the door]

Butterbur: Nob! Nob!

[The door shuts]

Frodo: Hm, I think it might be quite pleasant to join the company for a while. What do you fellows say?

Pippin: Ah, I daresay we could give them a song or two if they like.

Sam: Well, I've got a tale or two.

Frodo: What about you, Merry?

Merry: Oh, no, no. I - I shall sit here quietly by the fire for a bit and perhaps go out later for a sniff of the air. And mind your Ps and Qs now, and don't forget that we are supposed to be escaping in secret, and we are still not very far from the Shire.

Pippin: All right! And you mind yourself! Don't get lost, and don't forget that it's safer indoors.

[Many people talk amongst themselves, drinking and eating]

Frodo: Mr. Butterbur?

Butterbur: Hm?

Frodo: Who's that strange-looking weather-beaten man, sitting by the wall? Smoking a pipe. I don't think you introduced him.

Butterbur: Oh, him! I don't rightly know. He's one of the wandering folk - Rangers we call 'em.

Frodo: Ah.

Butterbur: He disappears for a month, or a year, and then pops up again. What his right name is I've never heard: but he's known round here as Strider.

Frodo: Stri... why is that?

Butterbur: What, on account on his going about at a great pace on those long shanks of his. Though he don't tell nobody what cause he has to hurry. You know, Mr. Underhill, it's funny you should ask about him, because...

Patron: Barliman! Barliman!

Butterbur: There's no peace for a body, and that's a fact. Half a minute, Mr. Underhill. I'll be back. Nob! Where are you, lad?

Nob: Coming, sir.

Strider: Master Underhill! Will you join me for a moment?

Frodo: Oh! Thank you. Eh...

Strider: It is Underhill, isn't it? Only I wasn't sure if old Butterbur got your name right.

[Someone begins to play a fiddle in the background]

Frodo: Yes, he did.

Strider: Well, Master Underhill. I am called Strider and I am pleased to meet you. You know, drink, fire, and chance meetings are pleasant enough, but - ehm, well, this isn't the Shire and there are queer folk about. Though I say it as shouldn't, you may think.

[He laughs]

Strider: And there have been even stranger travellers through Bree lately. So, if I were you...

Pippin: So, as soon as the Feast was over...

Strider: ...I should stop your friends from talking too much.

Pippin: ...and then last of all that he had an Announcement to make!

Strider: You had better do something quick!

Pippin: Anyway. Then he gets up and gets on the table...

Frodo: Ehh! My friends! ...And I! Uh. Hello?

[The Pony patrons at first express disappointment at the interruption but soon are hushed to attention]

Frodo: We would like to thank you all for your warm and most hospitable welcome to Bree.

Patron: Ah, it looks like Mr. Underhill's had too much of old Barliman's ale!

[The crowd laughs]

Pippin: Frodo! I was in the middle of telling a story.

Frodo: Ah, we are all very much gratified...

[Pippin sighs in disgust]

Frodo: ...by the kindness of your reception, ehm, and I venture to hope that our brief visit will help to renew the old ties of friendship between the Shire and Bree.

[He coughs]

Patron: Ah, well. Let's have a song, then!

[The crowd excitedly agrees]

Patron: Come on, Mr. Underhill. Hop on the table; sing us a song.

[Members of the crowd bang on the tables]

Frodo: Ah, well...

Patron: Come on, now, Master! Sing us something that we haven't heard before.

Frodo: Oh, well...

[A fiddle begins to play]

Frodo: Well, very well! Eh, perhaps this will be new to you?

     There is an inn, a merry old inn
     beneath an old grey hill,
     And there they brew a beer so brown
     That the Man in the Moon himself came down
     one night to drink his fill.

[The crowd laughs their approval]

Frodo:

     The ostler has a tipsy cat
     that plays a five-stringed fiddle;
     And up and down he runs his bow,
     Now squeaking high, now purring low,
     now sawing in the middle.

Patron: Sawing in the middle!

[The patron is hushed]

Frodo:

     The Man in the Moon was drinking deep,
     and the cat began to wail;
     A dish and a spoon on the table danced,
     The cow in the garden madly pranced,
     and the little dog chased his tail.

[They laugh]

Frodo:

     The Man in the Moon took another mug,
     and rolled beneath his chair;
     And there he dozed and dreamed of ale,
     That in the sky the stars were pale,
     and dawn was in the air.

     The cat and the fiddle played hey-diddle-diddle,
     a jig that would waken the dead:
     He squeaked and sawed and quickened the tune,
     And the landlord shook the Man in the Moon:
     "It's after three!" he said.

     With a ping and a pong the fiddle-string broke!
     the cow jumped over the Moon,
     And the little dog laughed to see such fun,
     And the Saturday dish went off at a run
     with the silver Sunday spoon.

[The crowd cheers and claps]

Frodo: Thank you!

Patron: Let's here that last verse again!

Frodo: Oh... all right.

     With a ping and a pong the fiddle-strings broke!
     the cow jumped
- Oh!

Patron: Look out!

[Frodo crashes to the floor]

Patron: You jumped too high, Mr. Underhill!

[The crowd laughs, but suddenly falls silent]

Patron: Where'd he go?

Patron: He - he went slap through the floor! I seen him! Here, Barliman! Barliman, quick!

[The crowd mutters quietly]

Butterbur: Now then, now then. What's all the rumpus about?

Patron: I saw him! Or leastways, I didn't see him, if you take my meanin'. Mr. Underhill just vanished into thin air, in a manner of speaking.

Butterbur: You don't say, Mr. Mugwort?

Patron: I do say.

Butterbur: Well, there's some mistake somewhere! There's too much of that Mr. Underhill to go vanishing into thin air.

[He laughs nervously]

Patron: Well, where's he now, then?

Butterbur: How should I know? He's welcome to go where he will, so long as he pays in the morning.

Patron: Well, I say I saw what I saw, and I saw what I didn't.

Butterbur: And I say there's some mistake.

Frodo: Of... of course there's a mistake!

[The crowd again falls silent]

Frodo: I - I haven't vanished! Well, here I am.

Butterbur: Now, what you've been doing, Mr. Underhill? Frightening my customer and breaking my crocks with your acrobatics!

Frodo: Yes, I - I'm very sorry. I - it was quite unintentional, I assure you. A - a most unfortunate accident.

Butterbur: All right. All right, everybody! All right. Excitement's over. There's plenty of ale still to be drunk!

[He laughs]

Butterbur: And I'll ask you, Mr. Underhill, not to be doing any more tumblin' or conjurin' or whatever it was without warning us before-hand.

Frodo: I shan't be doing anything of the sort again, Mr. Butterbur. I promise you.

Butterbur: I hope not, Mr. Underhill! We're a bit suspicious around here of anything out-of-the-way. Nob!

Strider: Well, Mr. Underhill. You have put your foot in it! Or should I say your finger?

Frodo: I don't know what you mean.

Strider: Oh yes, you do. But we had better wait until things have settled down. Then, if you please, Mr. Baggins, I should like a quiet word with you.

Pippin: But Frodo, who is this stranger, and what's he to do with us?

Strider: My name is Strider and I want to talk to you.

Sam: What about?

Strider: A matter of some importance, although, of course, I have my price.

Frodo: What do you mean?

Strider: Don't be alarmed! I mean just this: I will tell you what I know, and give you some good advice - but I shall expect a reward.

Frodo: Hm. And what will that be, pray?

Strider: No more than you can afford. All I ask is that you take me along with you.

Frodo: Oh, indeed! Is that all? Well, even if I wanted another companion, I shouldn't agree to any such thing, until I knew a good deal more about you, and your business.

Strider: Excellent! You seem to be coming to your senses again, and that's all to the good. You have been much too careless so far. Very well! I will tell you what I know, and leave the reward to you.

Frodo: All right. What do you know?

Strider: I know you are a Frodo Baggins and I also know what you are carrying out of the Shire.

Frodo: What!

Strider: Now, now, don't mistake me! I shall take more care of your secret than you do. And care is needed! Black horsemen have passed through Bree. And believe me, they will return. And more are coming. There are others; I know these Riders and I know their number. There are folk in Bree who are not to be trusted, and it seems all too likely that, by morning, these Riders will know of your little prank.

Frodo: It was sheer accident!

Strider: I wonder. Anyway, that accident has made your position dangerous.

[Frodo sighs]

Frodo: I don't know why we behaved so foolishly. We ought to have stayed quiet in here.

Pippin: Yes...

Strider: It would have been better. And I would have stopped you going in there if I could, but the inn-keeper would not let me go in to see you.

Frodo: Do you think he knows anything?

Strider: No, I don't think any harm of old Butterbur.

Frodo: Well, in any event, I intend to leave Bree at first light.

Strider: But you dare not go by the open road, for the horsemen will watch it day and night. And even if you escape from Bree, you won't go far. They will come on you in the wild, in some dark place where there is no help. Do you wish them to find you? They are terrible, Frodo. Terrible! But trust Strider and he will take you by paths that are seldom trodden. Well? Will you have him?

Sam: With your leave, Mr. Frodo, I'd say no! This Strider here, he... he says take care; and I say yes to that, and let's begin with him.

Frodo: Hm... I think, Strider, that you are not really as you choose to look. Still, as Sam says, I - I don't see why you should warn us to take care, and yet ask us to take you on trust. Why the disguise? Who are you? What do you really know about - about my business; and how do you know it?

[There is a knock at the door]

Strider: Wait! Let me get out of sight.

Frodo: Quick! Ready?

[He opens the door]

Butterbur: Eh...

Frodo: Oh, eh - good evening, Mr. Butterbur. Ehm, I'm sorry about the commotion.

Butterbur: Oh, oh, that's all right, Mr. uh, Underhill. I - I... I've just come to bid you good-night. Ehm, Nob! Take the water to the rooms!

Nob: Yes, Mr. Butterbur.

[Butterbur closes the door]

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