The Eviction of Hamfast Gamgee
All that is necessary for Evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.
January 1419 SR
The timid inquiry drew an upraised finger, and Reginald Grubb remained
in the doorway. Twisting his cap, he cast apprehensive glances down the
long hall to the open front door.
But the Chief was never one to be rushed. "Unreasonable haste leads to
unnecessary error" was one of Lotho Sackville-Baggins' favorite
sayings, especially when it came to tallying his accounts. Thus it was
a good while before the final tick was placed beside the last column
and a plump finger motioned Reginald to enter.
"Sir, you're needed down the Hill."
The Chief folded his hands across the tight expanse of his silk
waistcoat. "I would think Reginald, that a hobbit of your experience
could deal with the situation without my assistance. Your uncle
recommended you most highly."
"Oh, I am, sir, but…" Reginald hunched his shoulders against the
storm and plunged onward, "the Gaff…I mean, Gamgee has a contract
signed by Mister Frodo, and the shirriffs won't…"
A slight smile formed upon his pockmarked face as Lotho interrupted
coldly, "Frodo Baggins no longer owns Bag-End, or its adjacent
"Of course not, sir, however … well ... it seems there is a clause…
a condition … most unusual, but it was an addendum to the contract of
sale which Miss Lobelia signed…" Reginald swallowed loudly, then
finished weakly, "I discussed this with Miss Lobelia two weeks ago."
"Your services, Reginald, were contracted to me, not my mother."
"Sir, she is the owner of record."
"As is fitting for a lady of her standing, she entrusted me with
all her business matters. I assume you have read that contract as
"Yes, sir. You were away when the matter came to light, and I … I…"
"Have proven yourself incompetent," Lotho finished for him. "You can be certain your uncle will be informed."
"Yes, sir," Reginald replied with equal parts relief and misery.
Uncle Bolliver's wrath, not to mention Aunt Gertrude's reaction, while
horrible, would be far easier to endure than continuing as the Chief's
"However, being fully aware of the addendum to the contract of sale, I have made provisions."
From the drawer of the desk, Lotho took a paper Reginald recognized
as the original bill of sale and tapped one carefully manicured nail
upon the relevant phrase. "As written, Hamfast Gamgee and the others
residing in Bagshot Row are granted tenancy for life without increase
in rent. Correct?"
"Does it state anywhere in this contract that location of the tenancy must continue to be Bagshot Row?"
Reginald's eyes widened as he accepted the contract from Lotho's
hand and pored over it. "Why, no, sir. While it would be natural to
assume that they would remain in Bagshot Row, the contract requires
only they be granted occupancy of some property."
The cold smile returned to Lotho's lips.
"The houses recently completed on the outskirts of By-Water are vacant. I believe they will serve."
Reginald could not prevent a shudder. Built atop a rocky hillock,
the houses, only slightly larger than many garden sheds, stood exposed
to the uncertain mercies of the north wind. However, the accommodations
would meet the terms of the contract, and that was what he, as
representative of Messrs. Grubb, Grubb and Burrowes, had been hired to
do. Whether he liked it or not.
As Lotho raised an inquiring eyebrow, Reginald responded hastily, "Yes, sir. An excellent solution, sir."
"I'm glad you approve." Lotho waved toward the door. "I trust you can handle the matter from here."
For a brief moment, Reginald imagined throwing his cap in the
Chief's face and refusing to be a part of any more underhanded
dealings. However, to be a hero required more courage than he could
Heartily ashamed, Reginald muttered, "Yes, sir. I'll have them removed from the premises by nightfall."
"See that they are."