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Sam had finished thinning a row of early spring radishes when he heard the sound of three hobbit voices raised in a snatch of a walking song.
That there was one of Mr. Bilbo’s songs, if Sam remembered rightly.
“…Perry-the-Winkle grew so fat
Sounds like Mr. Frodo’s back, and brought Mr. Merry and Mr. Pippin for a visit, he thought. He knew that Mr. Frodo was going to try his best to spend as much time as he could with them, seeing as how he thought he’d be leaving them behind, maybe forever. A good thing he didn’t know that one of them, anyway, was planning on not being left behind at all.
“Hullo, Sam,” said Frodo as they came up to Bag End. “Has all been going well here while I was away? Is Gandalf back yet?”
“Right as rain, Mr. Frodo. No, not yet; he wasn‘t sure how long you were going to be in Tookland, so he said he‘d be back in a week. He’s only been gone four days. Good afternoon, Mr. Merry and Mr. Pippin.”
“Hullo, Sam,” answered Pippin.
“It’s good to see you again,” was Merry’s response.
“Why don’t you come into the kitchen and take tea with us, Sam, and we’ll tell you all about Cousin Pimpernel’s newest little one,” invited Frodo.
“All red and wrinkly, smelly and noisy” said her fond Uncle Pippin. “I’m sure you want to hear all about her.”
“Well, I don’t mind if I do, Mr. Frodo. Just let me put away my tools, and I’ll be right up.”
“Why don’t I give you a hand, Sam?” said Merry, with a meaning look.
Sam shook his head, but Merry ignored him, and Frodo and Pippin had already gone inside.
“Mr. Merry, you know I can’t talk to you about you-know-what anymore.”
“I know that you can’t Sam, and I won’t press you. I just wanted to be sure you know I’m not angry at you; it couldn’t be helped. I think I know enough now to be able to get on without you, anyway.” Merry picked up Sam’s trowel, and handed it to him. “We’ll be here for a few weeks, and I don’t want there to be any awkwardness. But I had forgot until we came away that Gandalf is still visiting.” Frodo had explained to his cousins that the wizard did not wish to stay alone at Bag End while Frodo saw to his family obligations, lest it cause unpleasant talk, but that he would be coming back to stay right after Frodo had returned. “Will you be all right?”
“I think so, Mr. Merry. He wants me whole and able to go with Mr. Frodo when the time comes. He’ll not turn me into anything nasty, now, I don’t think.” But to Merry’s eyes, Sam still looked a bit nervous.
“All right, Sam. Let’s stash these away, and get up to tea before they begin to wonder what we’ve found to talk about. Or not.”
Pippin was pretty sure from what Fatty had said, that Merry wouldn’t be able to pump Sam for any more information. He gave a bit of a shiver. He certainly wouldn’t want Gandalf mad at him.
But on the other hand, Sam would have no reason to be wary of him. The gardener would have no reason to think that Pippin knew anything at all, and he might let something slip, if only the right questions were asked.
Also, Pippin knew he’d need to keep an eye on Frodo himself. Any plans he might be making, any changes in his routine. This was going to get complicated. And he didn’t dare let Merry suspect that he was on to anything. It was absolutely necessary to not let Merry find out what he was planning until the very last minute.
And he definitely did not want Gandalf to suspect anything.
*From “Perry-the-Winkle”, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil (The Tolkien Reader)
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