In honour of Dom on his birthday *gramma waves :)* Thank you Dom for giving Merry life, and breath, and voice! And now we get to see you every week on LOST! LOVE YOU, CHARLIE!
Cheers, kind sir :) Have a great day!
The Faces of Merry (Meriadoc Brandybuck)
...... "In the middle of the commotion the Sackville-Bagginses arrived. Frodo had retired for a while and left his friend Merry Brandybuck to keep an eye on things. When Otho loudly demanded to see Frodo, Merry bowed politely.
...... 'He is indisposed,' he said. 'He is resting.'
...... 'Hiding, you mean,' said Lobelia. 'Anyway we want to see him and we mean to see him. Just go and tell him so!'
...... Merry left them a long while in the hall, and they had time to discover their parting gift of spoons. It did not improve their tempers. Eventually they were shown into the study....
...... '...A little later Frodo came out of the study to see how things were going on and found her still about the place, investigating nooks and corners and tapping the floors. He escorted her firmly off the premises, after he had relieved her of several small (but rather valuable) articles that had somehow fallen inside her umbrella. Her face looked as if she was in the throes of thinking out a really crushing parting remark; but all she found to say, turning round on the step, was:
...... 'You'll live to regret it, young fellow! Why didn't you go too? You don't belong here; you're no Baggins---you---you're a Brandybuck!'
...... 'Did you hear that, Merry? That was an insult, if you like,' said Frodo as he shut the door on her.
...... 'It was a compliment,' said Merry Brandybuck, 'and so, of course, not true.'
...... There was a terrific splash, and a shout of Whoa! from Frodo. It appeared that a lot of Pippin's bath had imitated a fountain and leaped on high.
...... Merry went to the door: 'What about supper and beer in the throat?' he called. Frodo came out drying his hair.
...... 'There's so much water in the air that I'm coming into the kitchen to finish,' he said.
...... 'Lawks!' said Merry, looking in. The stone floor was swimming. 'You ought to mop all that up before you get anything to eat, Peregrin,' he said. 'Hurry up, or we shan't wait for you.'
......'...dear old Frodo: you are miserable, because you don't know how to say good-bye. You meant to leave the Shire, of course. But danger has come on you sooner than you expected, and now you are making up your mind to go at once. And you don't want to. We are very sorry for you.'
...... Frodo opened his mouth and shut it again. His look of surprise was so comical that they laughed....
......' ...The secret won't keep for long, of course; but at present it is, I think, only known to us conspirators. After all, you must remember that we know you well, and are often with you. We can usually guess what you are thinking. I knew Bilbo, too. To tell you the truth, I had been watching you rather closely ever since he left. I though you would go after him sooner or later; indeed I expected you to go sooner, and lately we have been very anxious. We have been terrified that you might give us the slip, and go off suddenly, all on your own like he did. Ever since this spring we have kept our eyes open, and done a good deal of planning on our own account. You are not going to escape so easily!'
...... 'Of course we understand,' said Merry firmly. 'That is why we have decided to come. We know the Ring is no laughing matter; but we are going to do our best to help you against the Enemy.'
...... 'The Ring!' said Frodo, now completely amazed.
......'Yes, the Ring,' said Merry. 'My dear old hobbit, you don't allow for the inquisitiveness of friends. I have known about the existence of the Ring for years—before Bilbo went away, in fact; but since he obviously regarded it as secret, I kept the knowledge in my head, until we formed our own conspiracy. I did not know Bilbo, of course, as well as I know you; I was too young, and he was also more careful—but he was not careful enough. If you want to know how I first found out, I will tell you.'
......'Go on!' said Frodo faintly.
......'It was the Sackville-Bagginses that were his downfall, as you might expect. One day, a year before the Party, I happened to be walking along the road, when I saw Bilbo ahead. Suddenly in the distance, the S.-Bs. appeared, coming towards us. Bilbo slowed down, and then hey presto! he vanished. I was so startled that I hardly had the wits to hide myself in a more ordinary fashion; but I got through the hedge and walked along the field inside. I was peeping through into the road, after the S.-Bs. had passed, and was looking straight at Bilbo when he suddenly reappeared. I caught a glint of gold as he put something back into his trouser-pocket.
......'After that I kept my eyes open. In fact, I confess that I spied. But you must admit that it was very intriguing, and I was only in my teens. I must be the only one in the Shire, besides you Frodo, that has ever seen the old fellow's secret book.'
......'You have read his book!' cried Frodo. 'Good heavens above! Is nothing safe?'
......'Not too safe, I should say,' said Merry. 'But I have only had one rapid glance, and that was difficult to get. He never left the book about. I wonder what became of it. I should like another look. Have you got it, Frodo?'
...... 'No. It was not at Bag End. He must have taken it away.'
......'Well, as I was saying,' Merry proceeded, 'I kept my knowledge to myself, till this Spring when things got serious. Then we formed our conspiracy; and as we were serious, too, and meant business, we have not been too scrupulous. You are not a very easy nut to crack, and Gandalf is worse....
...... 'But it does not seem that I can trust anyone,' said Frodo.
...... Sam looked at him unhappily. 'It all depends on what you want,' put in Merry. 'You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin—to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours—closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo. Anyway: there is. We know most of what Gandalf has told you. We know a good deal about the Ring. We are horribly afraid—but we are coming with you; or following you like hounds.'
...... [Haldir] '...It is said that there are still havens of the High Elves, but they are far north and west, beyond the land of the Halflings. But where that may be, though the Lord and Lady may know, I do not.'
......'You ought at least to guess, since you have seen us,' said Merry. 'There are Elf-havens west of my land, the Shire, where Hobbits live.'
......'Happy folk are Hobbits to dwell near the shores of the sea!' said Haldir. 'It is long indeed since any of my folk have looked on it, yet still we remember it in song. Tell me of these havens as we walk.'
......'I cannot,' said Merry. 'I have never seen them. I have never been out of my own land before. And if I had known what the world outside was like, I don't think I should have had the heart to leave it.'
...... Merry got up. 'Yes,' he said, 'I can manage it. Lembas does put heart into you! A more wholesome sort of feeling too, than the heat of that orc-draught. I wonder what it was made of. Better not to know, I expect. let's get a drink of water to wash away the thought of it!'
...... 'You seem to have been doing well, Master Took,' said Merry. 'You will get almost a chapter in old Bilbo's book, if ever I get a chance to report to him. Good work: especially guessing that hairy villain's little game, and playing up to him. But I wonder if anyone will ever pick up your trail and find that brooch. I should hate to lose mine, but I am afraid yours is gone for good.
......'I shall have to brush up my toes, if I am to get level with you. Indeed Cousin Brandybuck is going in front now. This is where he comes in. I don't suppose you have much notion where we are; but I spent my time at Rivendell rather better. We are walking west along the Entwash. The butt-end of the Misty Mountains is in front, and Fangorn Forest.'
......Even as he spoke the dark edge of the forest loomed up straight before them. Night seemed to have taken refuge under its great trees, creeping away from the coming Dawn.
......'Lead on, Master Brandybuck!' said Pippin. 'Or lead back! We have been warned against Fangorn. But one so knowing will not have forgotten that.'
......'I have not,' answered Merry; 'but the forest sees better to me, all the same, than turning back into the middle of a battle.'
......'Welcome, my lords, to Isengard!' he said. 'We are the door-wardens. Meriadoc, son of Saradoc is my name; and my companion, who, alas! is overcome with weariness'—here he gave the other a dig with his foot—'is Peregrin, son of Paladin, of the house of Took. Far in the North is our home. The Lord Saruman is within; but at the moment he is closeted with one Wormtongue, or, doubtless he would be here to welcome such honourable guests.'
...... 'Doubtless he would!' laughed Gandalf. 'And was it Saruman that ordered you to guard his damaged doors, and watch for the arrival of guests, when your attention could be spared from plate and bottle?'
...... 'No, good sir, the matter escaped him,' answered Merry gravely. 'He has been much occupied. Our orders came from Treebeard, who has taken over the management of Isengard. He commanded me to welcome the Lord of Rohan with fitting words. I have done my best.'
...... 'That is not surprising,' answered Merry; 'for it is an art which we have not practised for more than a few generations. It was Tobold Hornblower, of Longbottom in the Southfarthing, who first grew the true pipe-weed in his garden, about the year 1070 according to our reckoning. How old Toby came by the plant...'
...... 'You do not know your danger, Théoden,' interrupted Gandalf. 'These hobbits will sit on the edge of ruin and discuss the pleasures of the table, or the small doings of their fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers, and remoter cousins to the ninth degree, if you encourage them with undue patience.'
...... 'Are we riding far tonight, Gandalf?' asked Merry after a while. 'I don't know how you feel with a small rag-tag dangling behind you; but the rag-tag is tired and will be glad to stop dangling and lie down.'
...... 'So you heard that?' said Gandalf. 'Don't let it rankle! Be thankful no longer words were aimed at you. He had never met a hobbit before and did not know what kind of thing to say to you. He had his eyes on you.... ...A sneer from him, Meriadoc, is a compliment, if you feel honoured by his concern.'
...... 'Thank you!' said Merry. 'But it is a greater honour to dangle at your tail, Gandalf. For one thing, in that position one has a chance of putting a question a second time. Are we riding far tonight?'
Gandalf laughed. 'A most unquenchable hobbit! All wizards should have a hobbit or two in their care—to teach them the meaning of the word, and to correct them. I beg your pardon. But I have given thought even to these simple matters. We will ride for a few hours, gently, until we come to the end of the valley. Tomorrow we must ride faster....'
...... '...Nothing or a double helping is your way!' said Merry. 'I am afraid I was not looking beyond tonight's bed.'
......The king was already there, and as soon as they entered he called for Merry and had a seat set for him at his side.... '...Eat and drink, and let us speak together while we may. And then you shall ride with me.'
...... 'May I?' said Merry, surprised and delighted. 'That would be splendid!' He had never felt more grateful for any kindness in words. 'I am afraid I am only in everybody's way,' he stammered; 'but I should like to do anything I could, you know.'
...... '...I have a sword,' said Merry, climbing from his seat, and drawing from its black sheath his small bright blade. Filled suddenly with love for this old man, he knelt on one knee and took his hand and kissed it. 'May I lay the sword of Meriadoc of the Shire on your lap, Théoden King?' he cried. 'Receive my service, if you will!'
...... 'Gladly will I take it,' said the king; and laying his long old hands upon the brown hair of the hobbit, he blessed him. 'Rise now, Meriadoc, esquire of Rohan of the household of Meduseld!' he said. 'Take your sword and bear it unto good fortune!'
......'As a father you shall be to me,' said Merry.
...... 'For a little while,' said Théoden.
...... 'Farewell, lord!' said Aragorn. 'Ride unto great renown! Farewell, Merry! I leave you in good hands, better than we hoped when we hunted the orcs to Fangorn. Legolas and Gimli will still hunt with me, I hope; but we shall not forget you.'
...... 'Good-bye!' said Merry. He could find no more to say. He felt very small, and he was puzzled and depressed by all these gloomy words. More than ever he missed the unquenchable cheerfulness of Pippin. The Riders were ready, and their horses were fidgeting; he wished they would start and get it over.
......At times some Rider would lift up his clear voice in stirring song, and Merry felt his heart leap, though he did not know what it was about.
......All the same he had been lonely, and never more so than now at the day's end. He wondered where in all this strange world Pippin had got to; and what would become of Aragorn and Legolas and Gimli. Then suddenly like a cold touch on his heart he thought of Frodo and Sam. 'I am forgetting them!' he said to himself reproachfully. 'And yet they are more important than all the rest of us. And I came to help them; but now they must be hundreds of miles away if they are still alive.' He shivered."
......Merry was riding behind Dernhelm, clutching with the left hand while with the other he tried to loosen his sword in its sheath. He felt now bitterly the truth of the old king's words: "in such a battle what would you do, Meriadoc?" 'Just this,' he thought.: 'encumber a rider, and hope at best to stay in my seat and not be pounded to death by galloping hoofs!'
......Right through the charge Merry had been borne unharmed behind him, until the Shadow came; and then Windfola had thrown them in his terror, and now ran wild upon the plain. Merry crawled on all fours like a dazed beast, and such a horror was on him that he was blind and sick.
......"King's man! King's man!" his heart cried within him. "You must stay by him. As a father you shall be to me, you said." But his will made no answer, and his body shook. He dared not open his eyes or look up.
......And there stood Meriadoc the hobbit in the midst of the slain, blinking like an owl in the daylight, for tears blinded him; and through a mist he looked on Éowyn's fair head, as she lay and did not move; and he looked on the face of the king, fallen in the midst of his glory. For Snowmane in his agony had rolled away from him again; yet he was the bane of his master.
......Then Merry stooped and lifted his hand to kiss it, and lo! Théoden opened his eyes, and they were clear, and he spoke in a quiet voice though laboured.
......'Farewell, Master Holbytla!' he said. 'My body is broken. I go to my fathers. And even in their mighty company I shall not now be ashamed. I felled the black serpent. A grim morn, and a glad day, and a golden sunset!'
......Merry could not speak, but wept anew. 'Forgive me, lord,' he said at last, 'if I broke your command, and yet have done no more in your service than to weep at our parting.'
......To Merry the ascent seemed agelong, a meaningless journey in a hateful dream, going on and on to some dim ending that memory cannot seize.
......Slowly the lights of the torches in front of him flickered and went out, and he was walking in a darkness; and he thought: 'This is a tunnel leading to a tomb; there we shall stay forever.' But suddenly into his dream there fell a living voice.
...... Well, Merry! Thank goodness I have found you!'
......He looked up and the mist before his eyes cleared a little. There was Pippin! They were face to face in a narrow lane, and but for themselves it was empty. He rubbed his eyes.
......'Where is the king!' he said. 'And Éowyn!' Then he stumbled and sat down on a doorstep and began to weep again.
......'They have gone up into the Citadel,' said Pippin. 'I think you must have fallen asleep on your feet and taken the wrong turning. When we found that you were not with them, Gandalf sent me to look for you. Poor old Merry! How glad I am to see you again! But you are worn out, and I won't bother you with any talk. But tell me, are you hurt, or wounded?'
......'No,' said Merry. 'Well, no I don't think so. But I can't use my right arm, Pippin, not since I stabbed him. And my sword burned all away like a piece of wood.'
......Pippin's face was anxious. 'Well, you had better come with me as quick as you can,' he said. 'I wish I could carry you. You aren't fit to walk any further. They shouldn't have let you walk at all; but you must forgive them. So many dreadful things have happened in the City, Merry, that one poor hobbit coming in from the battle is easily overlooked.'
......'It's not always a misfortune being overlooked,' said Merry. 'I was overlooked just now by—no, no, I can't speak of it. Help me, Pippin! It's all going dark again, and my arm is so cold.'
......'Lean on me, Merry lad!' said Pippin. 'Come now! Foot by foot. It's not far.'
......'Are you going to bury me?' said Merry.
...... 'No, indeed!' said Pippin, trying to sound cheerful, though his heart was wrung with fear and pity. 'No, we are going to the Houses of Healing.'
...... 'Do not be afraid,' said Aragorn. 'I came in time, and I have called him back. He is weary now, and grieved, and he has taken a hurt like the Lady Éowyn, daring to smite that deadly thing. But these evils can be amended, so strong and gay a spirit is in him. His grief he will not forget; but it will not darken his heart, it will teach him wisdom.'
...... Then Aragorn laid his hand on Merry's head, and passing his hand gently through the brown curls, he touched the eyelids, and called him by name. And when the fragrance of athelas stole through the room, like the scent of orchards, and of heather in the sunshine full of bees, suddenly Merry awoke, and he said:
......'I am hungry. What is the time?'
...... 'Past supper-time now,' said Pippin; 'though I daresay I could bring you something, if they will let me.'
...... 'They will indeed,' said Gandalf. 'And anything else that this Rider of Rohan may desire, if it can be found in Minas Tirith, where his name is in honour.'
...... 'Good!' said Merry. 'Then I would like supper first, and after that a pipe.' At that his face clouded. 'No, not a pipe. I don't think I'll smoke again.'
...... 'Why not?' said Pippin.
...... 'Well,' answered Merry slowly. 'He is dead. It has brought it all back to me. He said he was sorry he had never had a chance of talking herb-lore with me. Almost the last thing he ever said. I shan't ever be able to smoke again without thinking of him, and that day, Pippin, when he rode up to Isengard and was so polite.'
...... 'Smoke then, and think of him!' said Aragorn. 'For he was a gentle heart and a great king and kept his oaths; and he rose out of the shadows to a last fair morning. Though your service to him was brief, it should be a memory glad and honourable to the end of your days.'
...... Merry smiled. 'Well then,' he said, 'if Strider will provide what is needed, I will smoke and think. I had some of Saruman's best in my pack, but what became of it in the battle, I am sure I don't know.'
...... 'Master Meriadoc,' said Aragorn, 'if you think that I have passed through the mountains and the realm of Gondor with fire and sword to bring herbs to a careless soldier who throws away his gear, you are mistaken....'
...... ...Merry seized his hand and kissed it. 'I am frightfully sorry,' he said. 'Go at once! Ever since that night at Bree we have been a nuisance to you. But it is the way of my people to use light words at such times and say less than they mean. We fear to say too much. It robs us of the right words when a jest is out of place.'
...... 'I know that well, or I would not deal with you in the same way.' said Aragorn. 'May the Shire live forever unwithered!' And kissing Merry he went out, and Gandalf went with him.
...... A hush fell on the hobbits beyond the gate. 'It won't do no good talking that way,' said one. 'He'll get to hear of it. And if you make so much noise, you'll wake the Chief's Big Man.'
...... 'We shall wake him up in a way that will surprise him,' said Merry. 'If you mean that your precious Chief has been hiring ruffians out of the wild, then we've not come back too soon.' He sprang from his pony, and seeing the notice in the light of the lanterns, he tore it down and threw it over the gate. The hobbits backed away and made no move to open it. 'Come on, Pippin!' said Merry. 'Two is enough.'
...... Merry and Pippin climbed the gate, and the hobbits fled. Another horn sounded. Out of the bigger house on the right a large heavy figure appeared against a light in the doorway.
...... 'What's all this,' he snarled as he came forward. 'Gate-breaking? You clear out, or I'll break your filthy little necks!' Then he stopped, for he had caught the gleam of swords.
...... 'Bill Ferny,' said Merry, 'if you don't open that gate in ten seconds, you'll regret it. I shall set steel to you, if you don't obey. And when you have opened the gates you will go through them and never return. You are a ruffian and a highway-robber.'
...... '...I've an idea,' said Sam. 'Let's go to old Tom Cotton's down South Lane!'
...... 'No!' said Merry. 'It's no good "getting under cover". That is just what people have been doing, and just what these ruffians like. They will simply come down on us in force, corner us, and then drive us out, or burn us in. No, we have got to do something at once.'
......'Do what?' said Pippin.
......'Raise the Shire!' said Merry. 'Now! Wake all our people! They hate all this, you can see: all of them except perhaps one or two rascals, and a few fools that want to be important, but don't at all understand what is really going on. But Shire-folk have been so comfortable so long they don't know what to do. They just want a match, though, and they'll go up in fire. The Chief's Men must know that. They'll try to stamp on us and put us out quick. We've only got a very short time.
......'Sam, you can make a dash for Cotton's farm, if you like. He's the chief person round here, and the sturdiest. Come on! I am going to blow the horn of Rohan, and give them all some music they have never heard before.'
......They rode back to the middle of the village. There Sam turned aside and galloped off down the lane that led south to Cotton's. He had not gone far when he heard a sudden clear horn-call go up ringing into the sky. Far over hill and field it echoed; and so compelling was that call that Sam himself almost turned and dashed back."