How do four hobbits scare scads of men off? Simply by being well armed and confident. These men are cowards.
And that summarizes the beginning of this page. A little forceful discussion is all it takes to send the ruffians running, but they do signal to other men with their horns. Something more is up.
This leaves Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin some time to themselves. They try to plan their next move, which perhaps might be finding someplace to spend the night. With more men about, a large group could easily overpower them. What is to be done?
-Tom Cotton: We heard of a Tom Cotton before, but this is the patriarch of the Cotton family. Father to Tom, Rosie, Jolly, Nick, and Nibs.
-South Lane: A road on which the Cotton family lives. Is it south of town? Yes.
Frodo has an interesting point today as he tries to plan out what they should do. This might come to fighting. In fact, there’s little doubt that it will come to fighting. However, no hobbits must be killed when that happens. Regardless of their stance (or forced stance), no hobbits will be drastically harmed in the battles to come.
More interesting is the fact that, apparently, no hobbit has ever murdered another. Never. Nope. No murder. “No hobbit has ever killed another on purpose in the Shire,” says Frodo. Sure, that leaves the door open to say that accidents have happened, but the Shire is a peaceful place. That sort of thing just doesn’t happen. Where else could you say that? It’s a nice place.
No one dies today.
“‘No, we have got to do something at once.'”