Rosie's Confession

by DoctorGamgee
(A year to the day that Sam had sent the dust of Lothlorien scattering over the Shire)

"You did WHAT?" said Samwise Gamgee, startled out of his usually calm lunch and spilling his tea on the table. He couldn't believe his ears.

"You heard me." Rosie replied, as she got up and got a cloth to wipe up the tea. "I confess, one year ago last night, when you told me that you were planning to spread the last of the Elven earth on the four winds, I slipped into your room while you were out with Merry and Pippin, and took a pinch of your precious dust."

"Now Rosie, you oughtn't to have done that." Sam replied with a somewhat guilty tone. "I have been telling everyone that the garden out back looked so good because of my hard work. Now I find out that it was augmented by elven magic. I won't be able to set in the Green Dragon with my head held high again. And your father . . ."

"Relax, Sam. I didn't put any of the dust, not one grain, on our property. The garden out back is because of your hard work. You are the best gardener in Hobbiton, and even Dad says so. 'You married a good hobbit lad, Rosie' he says. 'Knows his way in a field as if he were made of roots and leaves.' And you know Dad, he is not one to go on about someone's skill with a hoe if it isn't him or his sons."

"Well then, where did you put it?" A sly grin played across his face. "You don't still have it do . . ."

"Of course not!" Rosie replied, watching as the hope drained out of Sam's face. "I couldn't tell you, because I knew you wouldn't understand. But now that you have seen to the reconstruction of the Shire, I feel you understand the aftermath of Saruman's evil, but not the evolution. You were just back, and had a lot on your plate already, getting Frodo back into Bag End, and all of the replanting. You didn't need more to worry about. But now that things are settling down again, it is time I told you what I did with it."

"Well . . . " Sam waited. "It must be pretty bad if you have to take this long to tell me. So let's have it. What did you do with it."

Rosie took a deep breath, and absently began twisting the tea-soaked towel. "Sam, dear, I . . ." She jumped,as the tea began to drip onto her foot. "Well, to be honest, I took the pinch of dust and spread it over the flowers at Lobelia's grave."

Sam stood up and looked at his wife, jaw dropped in amazement. Such a look of quizzical shock, dismay and surprise washed over his face, that Rosie giggled. "Sam, sit down. I will tell you the story, though some of it will sadden you, and other parts will surprise you. Grab another biscuit, and I'll begin. Do you want some more tea?"

Sam sat down. "I think so, though I may need something stronger if this story gets any stranger."

Rosie poured the tea and settled in to tell the tale.


II

Rosie smiled as she poured the tea. “Honestly, I meant to tell you long before now, but as time went on, there was no good occasion. Now that it is an anniversary, I guess it is time to let you in on what happened while you were gone.”

“The hard thing is finding a beginning. But there weren’t no sudden shadow falling on the land, as there is in so many stories. There was no sudden invasion, or great display of arms. Saruman was much more subtle, like the power of his voice I suppose. And it began innocently enough, everything going along as it should, and then, out of nowhere, a small piece of good fortune. A trader from Bree would come to Buckland and purchase a whole keg of ale for a party. Someone else would slip into the South Farthing and buy up all the pipeweed they could lay their hands on.”

“They were small pieces of good fortune, and no one thought to piece them together until it was too late. And they didn’t happen all at once. But a curious thing began to occur. Right before a large request from outside would come, old Lotho would send his mother into town and make a big purchase, and a few days later, a request by an outlander would bring them to the gate of Bag End, hoping to do business with the “master of Bag End.”

Sam gritted his teeth. “Call him ‘Master Pimple’ if you have to, but no one excepting Mr. Frodo is the ‘Master’ of Bag End.”

“Simmer down, Sam. This story is not about ‘old Pimple’ it's about his mother. She is the one that I felt sorry for.” Rosie replied calmly. “You weren’t here, so you don’t know everything that happened.”

Sam grabbed another biscuit and waited for his wife to go on.

“Lobelia could not believe that her son was doing anything wrong, and no ‘facts’ shown to her by folk who were ‘only jealous of Lotho’s shrewd business sense’ were going to change her mind. She had to find out for herself that he was involved with the ruffians, and by the time she did, she was locked up in the ‘hole’ and it was pride that kept her in there.”

“That and a few metal bars.” Sam smirked.

“No, Sam. It was her Pride.” Rosie said softly, her eyes brimming with tears. "I've got to get out of here and get some air. Walk with me, and I will explain the rest of the story."


III.

Rosie led Sam outside. Sam was so preoccupied with Rosie’s unexpected revelation that he didn’t notice which path they were taking.

“Sam, do you remember when Lobelia was released there were folks who cheered?”

“That’s not something I’ll soon forget!” replied Sam, “It’s not every day that Lobelia Sackville-Baggins gets an ovation. Most folks usually cheer only when she’s leaving, not when she’s coming.”

“True, and most of the ones who were cheering were congratulating her for applying her umbrella to the guards when she was arrested.” said Rosie. “But after seeing her in her cell, I was cheering her because . . .”

“You saw her in her cell? Rosie, what possessed you to do that?” Sam was dumbfounded.

“Now Sam, you know how I am. My father used to get so mad when I would let the field mice out of the traps he put in the barn to catch them. That is why he got me a cat for a pet. I can’t stand to think of something being trapped, and he couldn’t stand to think of what the mice would do to his grain. So I got a cute pet to cuddle, and he got a watchman that scared the mice away.”

Sam once again marveled at Farmer Cotton’s ability to find a clever solution to a problem, and tucked this solution away for future use with a little girl of his own. He was brought back from his thoughts as Rosie continued.

“So I went to see her, and what I discovered made me take stock of my opinion of Lobelia. I was not her first visitor, Lotho was. He was leaving just as I got there. He stormed right past me, muttering something about “hard-headed hobbits.” I figured that he was talking about himself, but I was wrong. I arrived with a plate of cookies for her, but the guard saw them so I had to bribe him with one before he let me in to see her. When she saw the half-eaten cookie in his hand, she refused to eat any of them. I tried to explain, but all she would say was, ‘Lotho couldn’t force me to change my mind, what makes me think you can?’

“Usually, I would have just left, but something in the way her face changed when she said, ‘Lotho’ made me ask her what she was talking about. It was almost as if she had finally allowed herself to see him for who he was.”

“Then she said the strangest thing. Her face clouded over, and she whispered, ‘I will never believe that my Lotho is involved with these ruffians. And yet . . . ’ and then she fell silent, and she opened her fist. In the palm of her hand, was a key to her cell.”

“She looked at me, begging me to come up with an excuse as to how someone who was not involved with her jailors could have gotten a key to the cell. I couldn’t do it. I just looked at her.”

“She told me, ‘I don’t need your pity, Rosie Cotton.’ She turned away from me as if I were gone. I left the cookies with her, but I doubt that she ate them.”

Tears were welling in Rosie’s eyes. Sam cradled Rosie in his arms, and as he did, he realized that she had been steering them toward the place where Lobelia was buried.

“That is why I took the dust, Sam. I hope you aren’t mad. She could have left at any time, but she knew if she left, that it would have been the same as admitting that Lotho was guilty as everyone knew him to be. So she stayed there, in that awful cell.”

“When she left, she took none of the money that his hands had been on. She just couldn’t. And when you were getting ready to spread the last of the dirt, I brought a pinch of it here. She saw so much that was ugly while she was alive. I wanted to remember that there is beauty to be found in all of us.”

Sam hugged her tightly. “I think you did the right thing, Rosie my love.”

Sam looked once more at the cairn. It was covered with flowering vines. As his eyes followed the winding of the vines, Sam saw at the center of the hill, the vines wound together to form a wreath. In the center, was a small iron key.