A Visit with Bell Gamgee, Sam's Mum

by Vison

Here we are at the end of the day. It does a body good to sit for a bit. I'm glad my Hamfast set this bench here, I can see any folk that pass, and hear the news.

The sunset is pretty, with the sky red like that. Now, if Sammy was here, he'd point it out to me, he always notices things of that nature. I daresay he will be doing up Mr. Frodo's dinner things the now, or maybe giving the pony his evening feed. Then he'll step along to Farmer Cotton's, I'm sure, to take that little Rosie out walking in the gloaming. Well, she's a likely lass, and has more than a bit of sense about her.

A letter from Hamson's Daisy today. In the family way again, bless her. Our Hamson did well, when he wed her. That bit of silver she brought with her just set him up, with a share of Andy's shop. Many lasses would have wanted that money spent on frills or furbelows for the parlour, but Daisy is clever enough to see which side her bread's buttered on. Hamson will be a warm man before long, and a credit to us all.

Hamfast is down at the Ivy Bush with Holman. It wonders me no end that he goes there to drink beer when he could drink it at home for free, but that's a man for you. A good man, but he has his ways, as they all do. I wish he'd be easy in his mind about Sammy. If he could only see it, our Sammy is the best of the lot of them. Now, maybe a Mother shouldn't say aught like that, but I believe in plain speaking, and that's what I think. Some boys just take longer to come into their own than others, and the fruit that ripens earliest is not always the sweetest.

He worries that Sammy will get above himself, and be discontented. I know that's what worries him, and no amount of talking will convince him otherwise. Cabbages and potatoes, he says, that's what Sam's fit for, not all this talk of Elves and suchlike. Well, there's nowt wrong with cabbages and potatoes, heaven knows, but there's more to life than your stomach. There's your heart, for one, and Sam's heart rules his head, always did and always will, if I know anything. He's such a loyal lad, our Sam. Once his friend, always his friend. And I mind how he stuck up for Halfred, when folk would have it that he had fallen into trouble up in the Northfathing -- he lit into Ted Sandyman something fierce, for saying ill of his brother. And the way he takes care of Marigold, as if his little sister was a princess, or something! She thinks there's no one like her brother Sam, that girl.

I admit I was leery of him going up to Bag End with that Frodo Baggins. A Bucklander by birth, and who knows what might come of that? Bilbo was fine Hobbit, and always did right by Hamfast, and we never had no complaints in all the years Hamfast did for him. Bilbo always understood that Hamfast had his bread to earn, and other gardens to care for besides Bag End, and he was always kind to the children. Too kind, sometimes, filling them up with candy and wild tales. That' s what caught our Sam up, in the first place, Mr. Bilbo's tales. Now, Mr. Frodo, he's a different kettle of fish, if you take my meaning. How well I remember when Mr. Bilbo went up and fetched him here, poor lad, after his mam and dad drownded. Bilbo did his best to bring the lad up decent, and he did a good job of it, by and large. But Frodo is not like an everyday Hobbit, and that's the truth of it. Whether it's that Buckland blood or what, I don't know, but he's the one out of step here, in Hobbiton. Not that he's a bad sort, for he's not. No, the fact is, he's too good for everyday wear, and many folk hereabouts take him for a bit of a fool.

Part of the trouble is that Mr. Frodo lives his own life in his own way, and never seems to realize that folk are curious about him. Mr. Bilbo, he was hail fellow, well met, with all and sundry. Mr. Frodo just goes along, in his own little world, offending half the Shire without knowing it, because his head is in the clouds all the time. Sam understands him, and as far as Sam is concerned, the sun rises and sets on Mr. Frodo. I can see why Sam feels that way, because I think Mr. Frodo is a wonderful Hobbit, and he is mighty good to my Sam. Kind, why he's as kind as can be. Now that Hamfast is laid up half the time with the rheumatism and can't get about so well, Mr. Frodo keeps right on paying him as if he was still doing all the work when it's really Sam that does it. He won't be thanked, either, going all red in the face when I tried, and sputtering like a kettle boiling over.

Take that famous Birthday party, now, the one where Mr. Bilbo exploded or whatever it was. Trust him to make a noise! Sam and the other lads had a grand time at that party, eating and drinking and dancing as if there was no tomorrow, but Mr. Frodo, who was still so very young, was like a little old Hobbit, with all the work and worry of it, after. It took days to tidy up, Hamfast got nowhere else for that whole week, and that's when Sam first went along, to help. There are those who say he fell under Mr. Frodo's spell, as if Frodo was a Wizard, or something, but the truth is that Frodo and Sam hit it off, plain and simple, right from when they was both lads, for all that Mr. Frodo is 12 years older, and a gentlehobbit to boot.

Speaking of Wizards, that old Gandalf hasn't been about lately. I have no complaint against him, except you'd think he'd trim those eyebrows, but folk who ought to know better say that he is going to lead Frodo into trouble the same way he did Bilbo. Now, it's my understanding that Bilbo did very well out of that "trouble", and he was not a child to be dragged off into the Wilds against his will, so what folks mean exactly I'm sure I can't say. I don't quite see Frodo being made to do aught he didn't want to do, either. He's gentle, but he's not soft. Not soft in the head, anyway!

There goes that Merry Brandybuck up the hill to Bag End. Whistling along like a blackbird, heedless of where he's walking, as usual. Right through the mud, and ruining a perfectly good pair of boots. Not that it matters to him, they're all rich, those Bucklanders. He's a handsome lad, too, and the pretty ones of this world can get away with anything. Now, my Sam is plain, and that's plain speaking even from his own mother, but beautiful is as beautiful does, I say, and Sam's goodness makes his face beautiful to me. Rosie Cotton, bless her, said her Mam taught her never to judge a book by its cover, and she knows my Sam's worth, she can read the pages of his heart quite well. I did worry, at first, that she was just fooling with my boy, trifling like. For she's a pretty thing herself, with those honey coloured curls and those big brown eyes -- she has half the lads in the Shire lining up to dance with her at any party. Mercy knows what it would have done to Sam, if he'd had his heart broken by a lass -- but Rosie's true blue, and his heart is safe in her keeping. How they will ever manage to get enough together to set up housekeeping, I don't know, but they neither of them is afraid of hard work, so I daresay they'll manage. Mr. Frodo talked of having Sam live up there, once, and mercy knows there's room enough for an army in that rambling old hole. Rosie would brighten the place up, for one thing, and it could use a woman's touch, after two old bachelors living in it for so long!

There, there's the first star. I always wish on the first star, always say that old rhyme. Star light, star bright.......but wishing is dangerous, they say. Be careful what wish for, because you might get it. So I try never to wish anything for myself. I need nowt, any road. So, tonight I'll wish for Sammy. Let's see..........Elves? Sammy is always going on about the Elves, even reading story books about them. Elves and adventures, like Mr. Bilbo. Now, there's a notion. Mr. Frodo is that set in his ways, and still so young, I don't see him running out the door with no hat, like Mr. Bilbo did! It would do him good, though, to get out and see a bit more of the world and maybe take Sam along. Give him a touch of travel bronze, as they say, him and Sam both. Oh, dear. There's more than one star, with all my blathering. No wish, I guess. The dew is falling, and I'm getting a bit of a chill, so I'm off indoors. Hark! I think I hear a horse, and cart -- out there, on the Bywater road. I wonder who on earth that can be? Oh, well. No doubt I'll hear all about it, in the morning.