Decisions, decisions. Frodo is bad at them.
Pippin has nothing to add after Sam’s disapproval of Aragorn, and Frodo admits that there is something honest about the Ranger, though he wants to know more about who he is. Aragorn understands, but scolds Frodo for taking so long to make up his mind. Just as he starts to explain everything we all want to know…
A knock at the door! It’s Butterbur, coming as he said he would to talk with Frodo. He has candles, and Nob follows with hot water. After sputtering a bit, Butterbur admits that he has been on the lookout for Frodo, being told to look for a hobbit named Baggins, but going by Underhill. He even has a description of Frodo. Naturally, Frodo wants to know where this description came from.
So we go back and forth about whether or not Frodo is going to let Aragorn come with him, and Butterbur’s appearance doesn’t help, actually forcing Aragorn to hide in a corner. Yes, we want Frodo to trust him, but is hiding from the jovial innkeeper going to further that process?
Need more proof of the strength of the characterization in this book? Just look at this differences in speech patterns between Aragorn and Butterbur. Aragorn is quick to get to the point. We saw that yesterday, and again today. Butterbur’s speech wanders around, eventually getting somewhere. “It’s like this,” he says. “If I’ve done any harm, I’m sorry indeed. But one thing drives out another, as you’ll admit; and I’m a busy man. But first one thing and then another this week have jogged my memory, as the saying goes; and not too late I hope.” Get to the point, Barley! He’s honest, sure, but certainly not reliable, as it takes him this long to remember or say anything.
The description given of Frodo is funny, however. Pippin laughs at first because it seems very generalized. Then, when it gets specific, I find it to be comical. It says that Frodo has a cleft in his chin, or, as the more crass of us would call it, a butt-chin.
We learn who gave this description tomorrow…
“‘He said it? And who was he?’ asked Frodo eagerly.”