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Fashion Statements  by Grey Wonderer

Chapter 4 Close To The Vest

"Wonder where Frodoís got to?" Bilbo frowned surveying the room.

Beside him, Saradoc smiled and said, "If heís smart, heís found somewhere to hide."

"Oh, well, he," Bilbo fumbled confused by Saradocís remark. "Hide?"

"Yes, if I were dressed like a May garden, I think Iíd be hiding now," Saradoc said.

"Are you insulting the waistcoat that my dear mother made?" Bilbo said, turning slightly red and glaring up at Saradoc. Merryís father was a very imposing hobbit, but Bilbo Baggins had fought off dragons and trolls and giant spiders so Saradoc didnít frighten him in the least.

"Yes, Bilbo, I am afraid that I am doing just that," Saradoc sighed and put his arm around the older Hobbitís shoulders. "You see, I think that Frodo is just being nice. I believe that the lad is dying of embarrassment even as we speak."

"Why whatever would make you think that? Everyone says that it is a lovely waistcoat. You even said as much. Now you seem to be insinuating that it is something to be ashamed of," Bilbo frowned.

"Do you remember when you got that waistcoat?" Saradoc asked.

"Why of course I do! I may be old, but Iím not feeble," Bilbo retorted. "Why my mother made it for me on the occasion of my twentieth birthday as a gift. I was a bit stouter than Frodo is by the time I was his age, but at twenty, I think my Took side was still in charge of my weight." The Tooks were normally a bit taller and thinner than other hobbits.

"And did you wear it to the party or did she give it to you after the party?" Saradoc prodded.

"Why she gave it to for the party. I remember that she presented it to me and that she was so proud of the work that she had put into it," Bilbo reflected. Saradoc could tell that the old hobbit was remembering his mother and he almost stopped what he was about to do. For Frodoís sake, he felt he had to go forward.

"And you were thrilled to receive such a well-thought-out and beautiful gift. You couldnít wait to show it off," Saradoc said, looking at Bilbo who was becoming a bit pale now.

"Thatís right. I, oh dear," Bilbo moaned. "I believe that I spent most of my twentieth birthday hiding from the lads that were teasing me. Your father told me that I looked like an embroider sofa cushion in it!"

Saradoc smiled and nodded. "Things made with love by those we love can sometimes be dreadfully ugly, canít they?"

"Oh, poor Frodo!" Bilbo sighed. "Maybe I am a bit feeble after all. I have to find him and tell him to take that dreadful thing off before he misses the entire party."

"If I were you, Iíd look in very dark corners and maybe the pantry," Saradoc suggested.

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