Samwise, September 21, 1482 SR........
How the wind sighs and moans. Such a lonely sound, the wind. I’ll just fasten this shutter again, it’s rattling something fierce. A look at the sky…… There. Ah, it’s clearing nicely, there is Earendil over the hills, and the wrack of sea-clouds flying away. I’ll just sit here by the fire and toast my toes awhile. I’m sleepy, yet I don’t like to go down the hall to that empty bed, it’s cold without my Rose……
Look at the clock! I’ve slept a good while, and now I’m wide awake again. I won’t drop off for awhile, now…..The book, where is the blasted Red Book? I must just put this note in it: For Elanor. She’s the one to take care of it. Here it is, ninnyhammer, right where you put it. Old Bilbo’s writing, and Frodo’s. Mine, my clumsy hand. Here, Rose wrote this part, she put down what I said. Her fine handwriting, so clear and neat, the lines not straggling away as mine always did…..Everything she did, she did neatly. She wrapped her neat little fingers right around my heart the first day I laid eyes on her, did Rose.
It ain’t right, that she’s gone! All our long happy years together, and she’s gone and left her Sam alone. Yes gone without even her Sam. That’s hard, cruel hard! I can’t bear it, and that’s that.
A mug of beer. The last of Rose’s brewing, this beer. The last of so many things….everywhere I look in this house I see her touch. Those curtains. That shaky table, that we got as a wedding gift. Her knitting basket on the shelf. Every little thing she did to make our home pleasant…….This was Frodo’s house and Bilbo’s before him, but then it was Rose’s house, and mine, all those happy golden years. All our children ran through these rooms. Such a racket they made! Still a mark on the wainscoating there, where our young Frodo thumped his head, fighting with his brother Pippin. Head like a boulder, that boy had. The window over the kitchen sink, cracked by someone chucking an apple. None of them would ‘fess up to that. How they stuck together! One for all, all for one, dear little fellows that they were…..
‘Course the book puts me in mind of Frodo, and days long gone. The Quest of the Ring. Yes, those were great days, great days. We went adventuring, and nearly had too much of it. A year out of our lives, we spent on the Quest. Elves and Orcs and the King of Men….dear old Strider. I wonder how he’s getting on? A year, we walked, there and back. again. All the way to Mordor, with Frodo bearing the Ring. A year. Well, it seemed like a long time, then.
But Rose and I were wed for sixty-two years this past Spring. Why, that’s a lifetime! We had a lifetime together, Rose and me. What’s a year to that?
And it all seems like a dream, anyway, the Quest and all. That young Sam that set out with Frodo, it’s hard to think that I was ever that lad, truth to tell. Gandalf’s eyebrows, and threatening to turn me into a toad….It was dark in Moria, I mind, darker than any night here in the Shire. It was just plugging along, then, putting one foot in front of the other and trusting Gandalf and Strider to get us through….Merry and Pippin and Gimli the Dwarf. Boromir with his sharp sword. Legolas Greenleaf, stepping so lightly….Frodo beside me. He was a good friend to me , was Frodo. I was lucky, to have such a friend. We went through a lot together, Frodo and me. No one ever seemed to understand just what a great thing he did…… Yet it don’t seem real. I think, sometimes, that it must be that I dreamed it all. All of it, except the Lady. Now, I do remember the Lady Galadriel. Queen of the Elves, they said. And she gave me that little box, I have it still. Precious as Rings, to me.
All that long way. I couldn’t think of home, when we were a-journeying. I couldn’t think of the Shire and I couldn’t think of Rose. I had to think of Frodo then, and the job we had to do. Oh, she was there, in the back of my mind and at the bottom of my heart, but I couldn’t think of her then. Why, if I had, I could never have stuck it out. No, no, I had to shut that all up tight and keep it hidden safe…..but I knew she was here, waiting for me. Every night, she said, she would look up at Earendil, hoping I was safe and on my way home. Bless her. The same stars were shining on us even behind the clouds…
The children think I’m doing fine. Oh, Dad’s doing fine, they say. He misses our Mum, for sure, but he’s doing fine. They get together and they talk, and they settle what’s to be done with me and then they say, He’s doing fine. Because I don’t go about weeping and wailing and tearing out my hair, I guess. Because I eat my bacon and eggs and drink my tea and go to bed and get up in the morning. Doing fine.
But it’s like my arms or my legs have up and left me. It’s just like that, waking up one morning to find your legs have got up and walked off without you. Life without Rose ain’t life, it’s misery. Her smile was my sunshine. We would sit here, before the fire and she would be knitting something, or maybe reading to me….her dear voice…..never a hard word did Rose say about anything, ever. Thirteen bairns, and hard times and too much work, and always a smile for her Sam, and a loving word…… Well, maybe a sharp word, betimes…..and didn’t I need a sharp word, now and again?
Still, we had a good life. Mayor Samwise, and Mistress Rose. I’m glad we was raised up like that, so all the folks could see the quality of her. Good as gold, my Rose, and the finest lady in the Shire. Fit for anything and anyone. Why, even Queen Arwen was proud to know my Rose…..
They think I’m going to the Havens. That I’m going to sail away to the West. They have it all settled, the children and grandchildren. Except Elanor. She’s the only one who looked at my face, when they arranged it all. Going to go where Frodo is, the Ringbearer. You were a Ringbearer, too, Elladan said. The ship is waiting, Sam.
Well, I won’t go. What? Go to Elevenhome and not go where my Rose is? We belong together, me and Rose. Sixty-two years of loving kindness and joy, and I’m to put it all aside to take ship to a place that ain’t even mine? It’s fine for Bilbo and Frodo and Gandalf and those folks, why, it’s their place. Master Elrond and all. Sitting about as they do, singing Elven songs. Beautiful, beautiful. Just the memory of the voices in Rivendell, why it brings tears to my eyes yet. But Rose ain’t there.
No, this is my place. Here, in the Shire. Lying beside Rose, down there under the Greenwood…..Elanor will know…..how the wind moans. Such a lonesome, heartsick sound…
In the Appendix, we are told that Mistress Rose died on Mid-Year’s Day in 1482 SR. We are also told that Master Samwise rode out of Bag End on September 22 of that year, and that tradition holds that he sailed to the Uttermost West, the last of the Ringbearers.
I could never believe that. I think Sam left Middle Earth on September 22, sure enough. But I think if you go to the old cemetery under Greenwood near Hobbiton in the Shire, you will find the grave of Samwise Gamgee beside that of his beloved Rose. A rambler rose climbs over and about the old stones, but you can still read the inscriptions.