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(Written for Dana's birthday!)
(A/N: Wedmath, Halimath and Winterfilth are the Shire equivalent--sort of-- of August, September and October.)
I hope that this finds you and the rest of the family well and happy.
Things are going fairly well here at the Great Smials, all things considered. Of course, all of us miss Paladin dreadfully. Pippin was very worried about his mother, afraid that she would waste away after Paladin was gone. However, he insisted that she continue in her role as “The Took” rather than pass it over to him immediately. He asked her to continue for at least a year, in order for him to have time to get his duties as Thain in order before taking on the family duties as well. Eglantine was dubious about it. You know as well as I do that a widow keeping the family headship fell out of fashion--especially among the Tooks--after Lalia abused her position for so long. But Pippin managed to convince her. It was something to keep up her interest in life, truthfully, because of course Pippin could easily have taken both roles with no difficulty.
With Eglantine’s help, and Pearl’s, I am beginning to find my way among my duties as the Thain’s Lady. But I have to say, I miss our cosy little household at Crickhollow. All of these servants to manage, all of these Tooks to keep track of! It quite gets on my nerves at times. I had never really wanted anything but to be a simple healer. But I suppose I deserve my fate, since I allowed myself to fall in love with the famous Sir Peregrin Took! Pippin, however, is very encouraging, and says I’m doing a splendid job, so I allow myself to believe that I am not a complete disaster!
However, the children are thriving among all their Tookish cousins, though they miss Perry and Wyn.
Pippin has been very busy, of course. There are days when the only times I see him are at first breakfast and supper!
How are you and Merry getting on at Brandy Hall? I wish I could see you and talk to you!
Your fond cousin,
It was so good to get your letter. We miss you and Pippin and the children as well. Even after we had come here to Brandy Hall, we knew you were just up the road at Crickhollow. Now there’s half a Shire between us.
I am glad to know that Eglantine is overcoming the worst of her grief. It was very clever of Pippin to make her keep the responsibility of being The Took. Merry says he wishes he’d thought of that when Saradoc left us; you know how dreadfully worried we were over Esmeralda right after that. But she had to rally and be strong for Merry after the flood, which brought her out of the worst of her grief and melancholy over Sara.
With Merry’s duties as Master and Pippin’s as Thain, I don’t know when any of us will have a chance to get together anytime soon.
In other news, Celandine and Moro are expecting an addition to the family in late fall. And I’m sorry to say that Cousin Laburnum’s health is fading.
I saw Mistress Bluebell at the Bucklebury market the other day. She misses “doing” for us at Crickhollow, but is enjoying being a part of her son and daughter-in-law’s household. She said that I should give her good wishes to “Missus Diamond and Mr. Pippin--Thain Peregrin as I should say”, if I should write to you, and thus I have done so.
Let us continue to hope that things will get less busy, so that we may have time for one another soon.
I am really missing you and Merry and Crickhollow dreadfully. Pippin has been unaccountably cross lately, and I am convinced it is from missing Merry.
I think that it must have been that brief meeting at Michel Delving, with Merry and Sam--all business and no time at all for just visiting with one another. Pippin said it was almost worse than not seeing Merry at all.
In other news, little Primrose has a loose milk teeth, Pet and Pansy seem to be going through a stage of squabbling over their every possession, and Fam is running about, and leading us a merry chase. His aunts think it screamingly funny to watch Pippin chasing after his son--they seem to think it is some sort of justice for the way they had to chase after him as a lad.
Eglantine is doing very well. And Pimmie’s son Drogo is laid up with a dreadful rash after getting into some hogweed, poor lad.
And I’ve been dealing with an outbreak of tummy troubles in the Smials. I suspect that something served from the main kitchen had gone off, but have not tracked down the precise cause yet. It seems to be subsiding now, after three rather hectic and unpleasant days. I’ve had a stern talking-to with the cooks about storing food safely, and convincing them that it is better to “waste” food they are uncertain of than to keep it.
I do miss you dreadfully, dear! Please give mine and Pippin’s love to Merry and the children.
Your fond cousin,
I hope that this letter finds you and your family well. I have heard rumour that Mistress Rose is expecting again sometime next spring. This will be your ninth, I think! It does my heart good to think of the sound of children filling Bag End.
I know that you still keep up Cousin Frodo’s custom of honouring Bilbo’s (and his) birthday on the twenty-second of next month, and that most years you are joined by Pippin’s family and by Merry’s.
My son has been making noises to the effect that he cannot get away this year. I suspect that he has been using his duties as Thain to avoid thinking about his father. He tries to keep me busy, but he is not taking the time he needs for his own sorrow. As well, he misses Merry, and the simple life that they had at Crickhollow.
Merry too, is still grieving, not only for his father, but about the flood last year. Esmeralda writes to me that it still haunts him.
I hope you will lend the weight of your friendship to persuade them both to put aside their duties and make their customary fall visit.
Esmeralda has proposed an idea and I am going to try and help implement it.
You are a very good friend to Merry and Pippin. I know I can count on you!
Rosie and me would certainly be glad to have Merry and Pippin to come again this year, with all their families. I know they’ve had a hard time of it the last couple of years. I know Mr. Frodo counts on me to do right by his cousins what with him not here anymore, and you know they are good friends to me also.
I’ll write to them, and tell them that Rose will be dreadfully offended if they don’t come, what with her unchancey temper in her condition. That was her idea. She says that will make them come quicker than just me asking. But I’ll put my own inviting in too. If I tell them Mr. Frodo’d want it, I think they’ll come.
It’s kind of you to think of us, Mistress Took. You’ve been a good friend ever since I got home to the Shire.
I will write to Merry and to Pippin right as soon as I finish this letter to you.
Yr. Obedient Servant,
The Great Smials
Sam wrote that Rose will be upset if we don’t come to Bag End for The Birthday this year. Diamond and I will be there with the little ones. You’d better come too.
Yes, Estella and I will be there, along with Perry and Wyn. Mum says that she and Berilac can handle things at the Hall without us.
I have to say, it will be good to see you again when there’s no business to conduct. Still, we haven’t settled everything yet about the rebuilding of Newbridge, or the rest of the repairs to the Old Stonebow Bridge. Maybe we could get that out of the way while we are there.
At any rate, Estella is anxious to see Diamond again, and the children are excited over seeing their Took cousins again. We plan to leave Brandy Hall early on the nineteenth, and arrive at Bag End on the morning of the twenty-first.
I look forward to it.
The Great Smials
No. No Newbridge. No Old Bridge. No business. No Master, Mayor and Thain. Just Merry, Pip and Sam.
We’re going a few days early. We should already be at Bag End by the time you get there.
Dear Mother Eglantine,
We have had a delightful visit with the Gamgees. The children have been tumbling about Bag End like so many puppies, till you can’t tell Tooks from Brandybucks from Gamgees.
Rose, Estella and I have had plenty of time for talking. The day after The Birthday, Pippin, Sam, Merry and Tom took all the little ones down to the Water to go fishing, while the three of us and Marigold had a delightful visit. Of course the husbands came home as wet, dirty, sunburned and exhausted as the children.
They had a splendid time.
And Estella had a wonderful idea. Rose and Sam have offered to keep the children here for two weeks! Pippin and I are going back to Buckland with Merry and Estella and spend a couple of weeks at Crickhollow!
The house has been kept up, Merry said, and has gone back to its original function as a guesthouse, and we shall be the first “guests” to stay there!
Rose and Sam seemed a bit smug about it. I think they planned it out ahead of time. Sam seems to know when Merry and Pippin need a bit of comfort. I suppose it comes from all those years of looking after Cousin Frodo. I wish I'd had the chance to know Cousin Frodo better.
At any rate, you may expect us back in Tookland sometime during the second week of Winterfilth.
Your loving daughter-in-law,
We are having a splendid time. The four of us put our heads together, though--this was all yours and Aunt Esme’s idea, wasn’t it?
And we fell for it. I’m glad.
Your loving son,
I can’t tell you how grateful we all are for this time we are having together, with no responsibilities and no children to worry over--though Estella has written to Perry and Wyn nearly every day--just the four of us in our cosy Crickhollow once more.
Merry has enjoyed himself so much that he has proposed we make an annual event out of it, and Pippin was quick to second it. Just think of it--two weeks every year, just the four of us!
Thank you so much!
Your loving daughter-in-law
You’ve only been gone a few days, and already we are looking forward to next year.
And I have a suggestion about Yule--I know that you can’t abandon the Tooks every year, nor can we abandon Brandy Hall completely every Yule. But perhaps we can begin to take it in turns, all of us having Yule at the Great Smials one year, and at Brandy Hall the next.
We must make sure to visit one another frequently from now on, and not allow our duties and those of our husbands to keep us apart for too long. It's just too dreadfully dreary to be apart for months on end!
I look forward to seeing you again at Yule! I do believe that the Great Smials should get the first turn.
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