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The hobbits have been summoned to speak with Elrond this afternoon. I know that he means to name each member of the company, and so do they. I know that both Meriadoc and Peregrin will not be among the ones whom Elrond appoints; we have had long discussions over the past few days regarding the said Fellowship. He and I cannot agree if Meriadoc and Peregrin should accompany the Ring Bearer.
It pains me to watch Meriadoc pour over maps in effort to be among the chosen. He and Frodo together study the landscapes of the various countries and regions. They both appear quite haggard as they have been up since before dawn drinking mugs of tea and coffee to stay awake. All of us find mirth when Meriadoc grimaces at his first taste of coffee. He abides it only because it will become the primary drink of the Company once the provision of tea is gone. I look around the table; Peregrin’s chair is empty.
I find Peregrin sitting alone in his and Meriadoc’s room. He is quiet and downcast.
I enter and ask, “Why are you not reading maps with your cousins?”
It is a long minute before he replies, “I’m thinking.”
“What are you thinking about?”
He sighs deeply, “My mother...and my father. I never told them where I was going. I never said goodbye.”
I see Peregrin is aching for his family--his innocence betrays him. I begin to judge that maybe Master Elrond is correct in his theory.
I say, trying to comfort him, “Then perhaps you are ready to return home.”
His eyes widen and look in my direction. “Return home?” He shakes his head in dismay, “I can’t return home! Frodo and Sam are about to go on a long journey and probably never return. We won’t let them go alone! I won’t let them go alone!”
I find this very interesting in Peregrin; one minute he is a nearly grown hobbit in the sense of his love and loyalty, and then in the next he reverts back to his childhood. It was only yesterday that I reprimanded him for a foolish act. He was precariously standing upon one of the parapets while shouting into the open air. I have no doubt it was Peregrin who coerced poor Meriadoc into holding his feet so he wouldn’t plunge to his death. When I asked why he behaved so foolishly he replied to me, “I like hearing my voice echo.”
~ ~ ~
We are now in the Great Hall in the house of Elrond. He has made his choice for the Fellowship, expaining that the two younger hobbits do not understand the danger in the Quest. Once I make it clear that none of the hobbits understands the undertaking of such a journey, Elrond reluctantly names Meriadoc in the Fellowship. He goes on to say that his heart is against Peregrin being a part of the Company.
Peregrin steps forward. *“Then, Master Elrond, you will have to lock me in prison, or send me home tied in a sack. For otherwise I shall follow the Company.”
Elrond sees the earnest fire in Pippin’s eyes and relents. I close my eyes and worry for the lad. Did I speak rightly before this last outburst? Is Peregrin Took able to endure the Journey ahead? My heart has told me his love and loyalty will surpass any deed--or misdeed--he is capable of. I pray to the One that I am correct in my assumption.
* * * * * * * * *
A few years after Gondor is besieged by the Haradrim, there are a few Dunedain who are willing to aid Gondor in their battle. I will assist by leading them to the Grey Havens and arrange for Cirdan to sail them to Belfalas. It will be a long while before I will see my friend Gerontius Took again, so I pay him a brief visit before heading west to meet the Dunedain beyond the borders of the Shire.
Gerontius is no longer the youthful hobbit I encounter years ago. He is celebrating his 100th birthday this year. I have decided to give him a pair of diamond studs that will attach or release themselves upon the owner’s command. The poor old hobbit has difficulties with fastening buttons in his old age. This year I am also lighting off several fireworks special for him. One will write his name with fire as it shoots across the night sky. I find that I am not looking forward to my old friend departing this world, so I make every effort to make his birthdays a delightful experience for him.
~ ~ ~
A few days after the birthday party, I take my leave of Gerontius at Great Smials. My good friend nearly fills my cart with sacks of provisions for my long voyage.
Before departing, I inquire as to the whereabouts of young Isengar. He is the lad who has the tendency to follow me in my departures until I notice him running alongside the road in the underbrush. When that happens, I reprimand his behavior and return the willful youth directly to his father. On this particular occasion I cannot afford to discover him trailing me in my haste to the Tower Hills.
Gerontius does not know where his son is. Adamanta approaches and I ask her if she has seen Isengar.
“I just sent the lad to his room,” she answered me, slowly easing herself into her rocking chair. Then she went on, “He said my potato stew tasted horrible and it made him sick! I told him that if he was sick, then he could just march on to his room--and maybe I’ll serve him supper when he says he’s sorry!”
As unruly as Adamanta’s children were--none of them dared to cross their mother. If Adamanta sent her son to his room, then that is where he is. I breathe a sigh of relief knowing my journey will be unhindered.
I take up the reins in my cart and I hesitate. Yet in my mind I reason that Isengar is now twenty-eight-years old. Every one of his siblings began settling down at this age and perhaps he will do the same. I see now that I should have paid more attention to my instincts.
~ ~ ~
The following day, the Dunedain and I carried the provisions my generous friend gave me onto Cirdan’s ship for the long voyage at sea. The sacks were all filled with apples, potatoes, cheeses and salted meats. The leader of the this group of Dunedain, Darion, opened one sack that seemed to feel a bit strange.
“Hullo! What have we here?” He laughed, “I suppose everyone should keep an extra hobbit in his care!” He peeled away at the sack revealing more of it’s contents.
Standing there with a wide-eyed expression on his face was none other than Isengar Took. My jaw slackens to the point of my pipe clattering to the wooden deck.
I watch as a mischievous grin appears on the lad’s face. He knows that I am too far into this journey to take him back to the Shire. The young hobbit had tied himself into his own sack in order to gain passage on this trip. I reproach myself for speaking of this journey in his presence at Great Smials.
Isengar smiles--as he always does. I know he will not be able to contain himself now with the success of his own cunning. I believe he is actually smiling at my reaction. He steps out of the sack and approaches me.
“Hullo, Gandalf! Where’s bed and breakfast?”
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