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Watch the Clouds Go Sailing By
Chapter 20: Wedding Plans and Matchmaking
If Goldilocks and Faramir expected the three years before they wed to pass slowly, they were to be proven very wrong. They were kept so busy that the years passed in a flash.
Aside from planning the wedding, there were many other important events. Goldi’s cousin, Lily Cotton celebrated her coming of age not long after they returned from their adventure. Pippin’s was the next important birthday, a little over a year after their return. He did not wish for quite so grand a party as Merry’s had been. Instead, he invited all of his close friends and family to Bag-End (which still made for a rather large group). Unfortunately, Miss Rosemary Bolger was unable to attend. Pippin had hoped to talk to her.
After Pippin’s birthday, Merry admitted that he was courting Lavender Boffin, daughter of Folco. Both families were very pleased by this arrangement.
A little while later, Frodo and Pansy Gardner had their first (to be only) child, son Holfast. Samwise and Rose were immensely pleased to have a new grandchild. Rose playfully told her eldest children that she wanted a granddaughter next.
Despite all that was happening, everyone managed to focus their attention on the upcoming wedding of Faramir and Goldilocks. As Merry Gamgee had once predicted, it was going to be one of the biggest events in Shire history, and all involved wanted to make sure that it would be perfect.
The venue was easy enough to choose – Peregrin and Diamond had been married in the Party Field, despite some complaints from their families (many thought that a marriage between two Tooks, especially the son of the Thain, should have been held at the Great Smials). Peregrin had suggested the venue before either Faramir or Goldi had asked. It certainly made things easier for the Gamgees. It never was easy travelling with such a large family.
Since Goldi had chosen Legolas to be her witness, Faramir had to choose a female witness (it was a tradition at hobbit weddings for the witnesses to join the couple in their first dance, and thus, the two witnesses had to be of differing genders). He chose his Aunt Pervinca, who was deeply honoured, but also seemed a little nervous. Faramir did not ask her why.
Something that was somewhat more difficult to decide upon was Goldi’s dress. Faramir’s uniform – the livery of Minas Tirith – arrived around a year before the decided date of the wedding, and there was no way he would wear anything but it. This proved a problem for Goldi. If Faramir was to wear black and silver, what colour could her dress be so as not to clash? Elanor’s wedding dress had been green, and Pansy (Frodo’s wife) had worn blue. Goldi did not think either of these colours would go well.
Eventually, Diamond was called upon. Since Peregrin had also married in his livery, Rose and Goldi thought that Diamond might have been able to offer some advice. Diamond’s dress had been silver, to match Peregrin uniform, but she did not think that would suit Goldi.
“Your hair is gold,” she said. “I don’t think that silver would sit well on you.”
However, she had thought of a solution. Diamond suggested that since Faramir would be wearing black and silver, Goldi should wear white and gold. “Opposites often match very well,” she said.
And she was right. The tailors were asked to make a white and gold wedding dress for Goldilocks.
Faramir’s coming of age was the next important event. His birthday was in February, and the wedding was planned for April (the mallorn tended to flower at the beginning of April). Faramir and Goldilocks were not separated from one another the whole day.
After the party, Peregrin took his son and future daughter-in-law to Whitwell, where his family owned a farm. Paladin and Eglantine Took had lived there during the first few years of their marriage, as had Pervinca and Everard. Peregrin thought that the newly-weds would prefer to spend their first few years together away from the crowded halls of the Great Smials. He and Diamond had not moved back to the Smials until after Faramir had been born!
Goldi loved the smial that had been prepared for them. She thanked Peregrin many times, before he had to beg her to pay it no mind. After all, it was the least that he could do.
As April approached, it was time for serious business. Legolas and Gimli came to Bag-End in March, much to Goldi’s delight. Legolas handed her a box.
“A gift from the King and Queen,” he stated. “They ask that you not open it until the morning of your wedding.”
Goldi took the box with a nod. She noticed that Elanor seemed to be smiling, knowingly, but when pressed by her younger sister for an explanation, Elanor simply replied, “You shall just have to wait, dear sister.”
It was a good thing that Legolas had arrived before the wedding. He still had no idea what was expected of him as a witness, and Pervinca Took had to teach him everything there was to do. He had paled when she told him, somewhat hesitantly, that they would have to dance together. The hobbit-maid was barely half his height. Gimli had made the situation even worse by laughing heartily.
“I am certainly pleased that I agreed to come along to this wedding!” he said.
The Tooks and the Brandybucks stayed at Bag-End the evening before the wedding itself. With Legolas and Gimli staying there too, and Elanor, Fastred and Elfstan, the hobbit-hole was rather crowded, but no one seemed to care.
Finally, the morning of the wedding dawned clear and bright. Faramir was not able to see Goldilocks for very long – she was bustled into a room by her sisters to be dressed and readied. He dressed in his livery, impressed by how well it suited him.
“I’m very proud of you, Faramir,” said Peregrin, standing in the doorway.
“Thank you, Father,” Faramir replied, and he meant it. As an only child, his parents were especially important to him. “How do I look?”
“Like the Ernil i Pheriannath.” Peregrin grinned. “If you’re ready, you might want to join me listening to Meriadoc practice his speech.”
Faramir had asked Meriadoc to conduct the wedding for him. It was not the first time that the Master of Buckland had had to do so, but it was going to be difficult for him. Faramir was like a son to him.
“Sounds like fun,” Faramir laughed, walking to Sam’s study with his father.
* * * * * *
In her bedroom, Goldi was being fussed over by Elanor, Diamond, Estella and her mother. She had the dress on, and now they were doing her hair. Rosie stood to the side, watching.
“Now you all understand why I don’t wish to be married,” she snorted. “Far too much effort, for very little reward.”
“You say that now, sister,” laughed Elanor, “but you may one day change your tune. There are bound to be plenty of handsome bachelors at the ceremony today.”
“Don’t say that so loudly,” Goldi said, with a grin. “Daisy and Prim might hear you.”
“Oh, Goldi, have you opened the gift from the King yet?”
“I completely forgot!” Goldi rushed to her cupboard and retrieved the box. Sitting on her bed, she opened it and gasped.
Inside were bunches of elanor and niphredil. The other hobbit-maids in the room looked to see them. They had all seen the flowers before. Estella and Diamond had travelled to Lothlórien with their husbands on numerous occasions, on their way to Gondor and Rohan, and Elanor had been blessed with a similar gift for her own wedding.
“How did they manage to last so long?” Goldi finally asked. None of the flowers had wilted, yet they must have been gathered at least a month earlier.
“They come from Lothlórien, Goldi,” answered Elanor. She picked up one of the pale niphredil flowers. “Niphredil – that’s exactly what I wanted.”
Elanor lowered her voice so that only Goldi would hear her. “Fastred and I are trying to have another baby. Mother-Rose said she wanted a granddaughter, and I was trying to think up a name if I do have a little girl. What do you think of ‘Niphredil’?”
Goldi grinned and nodded. It may have sounded outlandish, but so did Elanor, and Faramir for that matter. Elanor returned the grin, and started to pin the flowers in Goldi’s hair.
“Oh, don’t they look lovely!” Diamond cried. “We will have to send a letter to the King and Queen thanking them!”
It took some time, but eventually, Goldilocks was ready. Faramir, Sam, Meriadoc and Peregrin were sitting around Sam’s study when the hobbit-maids entered.
“You look amazing,” Faramir breathed, kissing her forehead.
“So do you,” Goldi replied. She looked at her father. “Can we go to the field now?”
“I don’t see why not,” answered Sam. “We can watch to see the guests arrive.”
The rest of the Gamgees, along with some of their Cotton cousins, were already in the field, making the final touches. Goldi and Faramir were made to sit down.
Some of the first guests to arrive were Faramir’s aunts and their families. Faramir left Goldi for a moment to greet them, especially his cousin, Peregrin Burrows. Though he was a fair bit older, Pegs, as he was usually known, got along very well with Faramir. Pegs was not yet married, though he was a very successful lawyer, taking the family business over from his father, Orlando.
“Congratulations, cousin,” he greeted, with a grin. “You have certainly made a fine catch. I don’t suppose your lovely bride has any available relatives.” Pegs had not been present at Faramir’s coming of age party, and this was the first time he had seen Goldilocks.
“Well, as a matter of fact,” said Faramir, “Goldi has several sisters, though none quite so beautiful as her – or so I think anyway.” He motioned to where Rosie was helping Merry and Pippin put up a banner. “Rosie is the second eldest, and not married. In fact, I don’t know that she has her eye on anyone either.”
Pegs grinned. “Then perhaps I shall have to speak to her and change that.”
Rosie turned and caught them looking at her. She blushed, and turned away, but not before noticing how handsome Faramir’s cousin was.
Goldi had not seen any of this. She had been watching the road for approaching carriages. She smiled broadly as she recognised the cart coming up the road. From the front, Abe Maggot waved. “Good mornin’ to ye, Miss Goldi!”
“Glad you could make it, Mister Maggot!” she called back, running to greet them.
Faramir followed her. “You invited the Maggots?”
“Of course I did!”
Farmer Maggot was helping his wife from the cart as Goldi and Faramir ran up. Mrs. Maggot embraced Goldilocks and smiled warmly at Faramir. “My goodness, Master Faramir! Just look at you!”
Faramir returned her smile. “The King made me a knight, so that Mayor Samwise would know that I was good enough to marry his daughter.”
“Faramir!” Goldi scolded. “Actually, the King decided that he would make every Thain a knight of Gondor.”
“Congratulations, Miss Goldi!” Harry cried, as he jumped from the cart. Ed was right behind him.
“Thank you for invitin’ us, Miss Goldi,” added Ed. “Oh, and Master Faramir! Didn’t notice ye there.” Ed handed Goldi a potted plant. It looked to be a young apple tree, and it was already in bloom. “To brighten your new home.”
“There was no need for this!” said Goldi. “Your presence was gift enough, but I thank you.”
“Go on and tell them the good news,” Mrs. Maggot urged, while her husband helped their daughters from the cart.
Harry grinned. “Me and Ed have decided that, when Dad leaves us, we’ll run the farm together. There’ll be two Farmer Maggots!”
“That’s wonderful news!” Goldi exclaimed, hugging each brother in turn.
“Our plan now is to find ourselves a pretty pair of sisters to be our Mrs. Maggots,” Ed joked.
Faramir laughed, but stopped when he saw the odd look on Goldi’s face. He was certain that he had seen that same look on his father’s face, when Peregrin was up to something.
“Harold, Edmund, would you like to come with me?” Goldi asked sweetly, but she had a mischievous gleam in her eye. Faramir thought to himself, The prospect of marrying a Took has turned her into one!
Goldilocks lead Harry and Ed into the field, where guests were mingling and preparing for the ceremony. On a table by themselves, Daisy and Primrose Gamgee were scanning the crowd, and giggling. Faramir now understood.
“Daisy! Prim!” Goldi called.
The younger Gamgee sisters looked up to see their sister leading two young hobbits towards them, and Faramir close behind.
“Harold and Edmund Maggot,” Goldi announced, “I would like to introduce Daisy and Primrose Gamgee, my sisters. Daisy, Prim, these are some friends of Faramir, Pippin and I.”
“Good day to you, sirs,” Daisy greeted, curtsying. Primrose followed suit.
“Gracious,” Ed mumbled, turning beet red.
“A pleasure to meet you both,” Harry managed to stammer. Daisy had caught his eye. With her golden curls, she looked much like Goldi, but there was something a little saucier about her smile and the twinkle in her eye.
Though Ed also thought Goldi beautiful, it was dark-haired Primrose that he now found enchanting. And her deep brown eyes rendered him almost speechless.
“Daisy, Prim, would you mind keeping Harry and Ed company,” Goldi asked. “They’ve come all the way from the Marish, near Buckland.”
“Not at all,” Daisy replied, her eyes never straying from the eldest Maggot brother.
Faramir waited until he and Goldi were a safe distance away before he started laughing. “That was beautifully done, my sweet.”
She smiled back at him. “When Ed said that he and Harry wanted to marry sisters, what else could I do? Besides, as an elder sister, it is my duty to make sure my younger sisters find suitable husbands. I can think of no one better than Harold and Edmund.”
Faramir kissed his bride on the cheek. “It’s our wedding, and we’re spending all of our time organising potential suitors for your siblings.”
“Who have you been organising for?”
“I was trying to help Pippin overcome his shyness around Rosemary Bolger. And my cousin, Peregrin Burrows, asked me about Rosie.”
“Rosie? Oh, really?” Goldi knew that her elder sister usually shunned affections, but she was certain that she had caught the older lass gazing at Faramir’s lawyer cousin.
“Faramir! Goldilocks!” Pervinca Took called. “There you are.” She smiled at them. Legolas was with her, looking somewhat uncomfortable. “We’re ready to start.”
Faramir lightly kissed Goldi. “So are we.”
* * * * * *
A/N: As far as I can work our elanor and niphredil still grew in Lothlórien at the time I’ve set this story. In fact, I’m sure they continued to until the passing of Arwen. The wedding itself will be the next chapter. Nearly there!
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