The return of Sam! He bursts back in with his father, who seems to be alright. The Gaffer gives his greetings to Frodo, but scolds him for selling Bag End. That is, of course, the very reason why all of this trouble started in the first place. He then asks if Sam proved adequate in their travels. Frodo boasts about Sam’s accomplishments, both to sate the Gaffer and impress Rosie Cotton, who’s smiling right at Sam.
The group settles down for the night, and are woken by news of the ruffian movements. A messenger comes from Tookland to relay news of the fighting in that area, and that Pippin is coming back to Bywater/Hobbiton with hobbits that his father can spare. In contrast, Merry comes with news that ruffians are on their way here, close to 100 of them, adding strays as they go along.
If you can, picture the ruffians as a magnet. Where they go, straggling wayward men latch on. They form this huge clump of ne’er-do-wells, like a Katamari ball of evil. Does that make sense?
Don’t fret about the ruffians, though, because it’s much more fun to envision Frodo as the Shire’s best wingman. He’s just recently gotten home from a whirlwind journey that took him (and Sam) to the edge of death, and he still has the wherewithal to notice that he can score some major points for Sam with Rosie with some simple bragging. When you add in that it also functions to tell Sam’s father about his usefulness, Frodo kills two birds with one stone. Get that dude a high five.
Words My Computer Didn’t Like:
The Gaffer uses ruralisms, too! Runs in the family.
No one dies today.
“‘If Tooks don’t come sooner, we’d best get behind cover…'”