Bell

- jan-u-wine

Bell

Folk ask me,
sometimes....

they ask me
if I remember her.

Not much more than a faunt,
I was,

yet still I remember.

Working up Hill,
we were,

Da and I
and all the roses

full-hipped and lazy-lopped
in the last of autumn's heat.

I remember thinking how pretty May looked,
hair flying unbound about her heated face.

And she pulled Da aside and I could see then
that she were crying.

Da was n'er one to forget a thing,
but he forgot somewhat that day:

he left me there -

there within the heavy heat
and the late drone of the bees.

I were so very little.

I did not think what it all might mean,
I did not think to run down-Hill.

The young Master found me,
(and never have I told him, and never shall, how the sight and smell of roses,
dying in the sun, still makes me cry)

he found me, and May's hair-ribbon, fallen and held tight in my hand.

I remember
he almost smiled,

that odd, half-smile he has,
as though he knows a joke that no-one else  could unlock the sense of....

almost
he smiled,

until he saw the bit of ribbon.....

He didn't come inside,
the young Master,

just
took me up and ran from the crown to the chin of the Hill.

I remember I could feel his heart beating like bird's wings, fast and frightened,
as he set me to my feet.

And it weren't too late,

but
oh,

it weren't too soon,
neither.

And mum held me,
said my name,

just once

and then she was quiet.

And Da was taking me up,
pulling me from her arms,

and mumma was still looking
at me,

and her eyes were green, like mine.

Daisy closed them with a kiss.

Marigold cried then,
but she were just a faunt,
still,

kept close in her woven-basket by the bed.

She weren't crying for aught that she knew.

Not like us.

Somehow,
I could not get the sense of it all:

how it was
that
between one breath and the next,
she was gone.

I remember how busy they were about her,
then,

Daisy arranging her hair just so,
May washing her feet with tender care...

and Da....

he held her hand as though the world entire had fallen away...

I remember

the young Master still waiting outside
when I opened the door.

Without a word,
he lifted me
        
took me back up-Hill.

And all he knew, I think....

all

he knew to offer as comfort
were that which he knew as comfort
himself

And so it was we walked far into the night

so far

until the Row was almost a memory below us,

candles winking like fallen stars in night-hooded windows....

and he told me stories the like  I'd never heard before:

stories great and small,
nonsensical and serious

stories of Elves and Light
of  Trees and Stars
and the lands under-Sea.

At last,
his voice thinned,

stopped.....

dawn was coming up, all rose and gold.

And all the things which might have seemed,
in the cloak of night,

to be a dream
were not.

And I cried for knowing that they were real.

I remember
he cried, too.

Folk ask me
sometimes,

if I remember.

Aye.

I do.
________________________________________________________________
 AN:  In writing this piece, I am pre-supposing that Frodo arrived in the Shire before the death of Bell Gamgee.   Whereas we do not know the exact year of Bell’s death, we do know that her last child  (Marigold) was born in 2983.   Six years later, Frodo was adopted by Bilbo, and came to live at Bag End.  Samwise is but nine years old.   Bell is not mentioned again, but it is almost certain that she died before Frodo and Sam left upon the Quest, and likely even before Frodo’s coming-of-age in 3001.  (Surely Samwise, by then a tween-ager, would have made mention of such an important event in his life).  To my mind, then, Bell died somewhere between 2989 and 3001, with this account falling closer to the former date.


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