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  • Chapter I AN UNEXPECTED PARTY

  • In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.

  • Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet

  • a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole,

  • and that means comfort.

  • It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob

  • in the exact middle.

  • The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without

  • smoke, with panelled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs,

  • and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coatsthe hobbit was fond of visitors.

  • The tunnel wound on and on, going fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hillThe

  • Hill, as all the people for many miles round called itand many little round doors opened

  • out of it, first on one side and then on another.

  • No going upstairs for the hobbit: bedrooms, bathrooms, cellars, pantries (lots of these),

  • wardrobes (he had whole rooms devoted to clothes), kitchens, dining-rooms, all were on the same

  • floor, and indeed on the same passage.

  • The best rooms were all on the left-hand side (going in), for these were the only ones to

  • have windows, deep-set round windows looking over his garden, and meadows beyond, sloping

  • down to the river.

  • This hobbit was a very well-to-do hobbit, and his name was Baggins.

  • The Bagginses had lived in the neighbourhood of The Hill for time out of mind, and people

  • considered them very respectable, not only because most of them were rich, but also because

  • they never had any adventures or did anything unexpected: you could tell what a Baggins

  • would say on any question without the bother of asking him.

  • This is a story of how a Baggins had an adventure, and found himself doing and saying things

  • altogether unexpected.

  • He may have lost the neighbours' respect, but he gainedwell, you will see whether

  • he gained anything in the end.

  • The mother of our particular hobbitwhat is a hobbit?

  • I suppose hobbits need some description nowadays, since they have become rare and shy of the

  • Big People, as they call us.

  • They are (or were) a little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded

  • Dwarves.

  • Hobbits have no beards.

  • There is little or no magic about them, except the ordinary everyday sort which helps them

  • to disappear quietly and quickly when large stupid folk like you and me come blundering

  • along, making a noise like elephants which they can hear a mile off.

  • They are inclined to be fat in the stomach; they dress in bright colours (chiefly green

  • and yellow); wear no shoes, because their feet grow natural leathery soles and thick

  • warm brown hair like the stuff on their heads (which is curly); have long clever brown fingers,

  • good-natured faces, and laugh deep fruity laughs (especially after dinner, which they

  • have twice a day when they can get it).

  • Now you know enough to go on with.

  • As I was saying, the mother of this hobbitof Bilbo Baggins, that iswas the famous Belladonna

  • Took, one of the three remarkable daughters of the Old Took, head of the hobbits who lived

  • across The Water, the small river that ran at the foot of The Hill.

  • It was often said (in other families) that long ago one of the Took ancestors must have

  • taken a fairy wife.

  • That was, of course, absurd, but certainly there was still something not entirely hobbitlike

  • about them, and once in a while members of the Took-clan would go and have adventures.

  • They discreetly disappeared, and the family hushed it up; but the fact remained that the

  • Tooks were not as respectable as the Bagginses, though they were undoubtedly richer.

  • Not that Belladonna Took ever had any adventures after she became Mrs. Bungo Baggins.

  • Bungo, that was Bilbo's father, built the most luxurious hobbit-hole for her (and partly

  • with her money) that was to be found either under The Hill or over The Hill or across

  • The Water, and there they remained to the end of their days.

  • Still it is probable that Bilbo, her only son, although he looked and behaved exactly

  • like a second edition of his solid and comfortable father, got something a bit queer in his make-up

  • from the Took side, something that only waited for a chance to come out.

  • The chance never arrived, until Bilbo Baggins was grown up, being about fifty years old

  • or so, and living in the beautiful hobbit-hole built by his father, which I have just described

  • for you, until he had in fact apparently settled down immovably.

  • By some curious chance one morning long ago in the quiet of the world, when there was

  • less noise and more green, and the hobbits were still numerous and prosperous, and Bilbo

  • Baggins was standing at his door after breakfast smoking an enormous long wooden pipe that

  • reached nearly down to his woolly toes (neatly brushed)—Gandalf came by.

  • Gandalf!

  • If you had heard only a quarter of what I have heard about him, and I have only heard

  • very little of all there is to hear, you would be prepared for any sort of remarkable tale.

  • Tales and adventures sprouted up all over the place wherever he went, in the most extraordinary

  • fashion.

  • He had not been down that way under The Hill for ages and ages, not since his friend the

  • Old Took died, in fact, and the hobbits had almost forgotten what he looked like.

  • He had been away over The Hill and across The Water on businesses of his own since they

  • were all small hobbit-boys and hobbit-girls.

  • All that the unsuspecting Bilbo saw that morning was an old man with a staff.

  • He had a tall pointed blue hat, a long grey cloak, a silver scarf over which his long

  • white beard hung down below his waist, and immense black boots.

  • Good Morning!” said Bilbo, and he meant it.

  • The sun was shining, and the grass was very green.

  • But Gandalf looked at him from under long bushy eyebrows that stuck out further than

  • the brim of his shady hat.

  • What do you mean?” he said.

  • Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it

  • or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”

  • All of them at once,” said Bilbo.

  • And a very fine morning for a pipe of tobacco out of doors, into the bargain.

  • If you have a pipe about you, sit down and have a fill of mine!

  • There's no hurry, we have all the day before us!”

  • Then Bilbo sat down on a seat by his door, crossed his legs, and blew out a beautiful

  • grey ring of smoke that sailed up into the air without breaking and floated away over

  • The Hill.

  • Very pretty!” said Gandalf.

  • But I have no time to blow smoke-rings this morning.

  • I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it's very difficult

  • to find anyone.”

  • “I should think soin these parts!

  • We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures.

  • Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things!

  • Make you late for dinner!

  • I can't think what anybody sees in them,” said our Mr. Baggins, and stuck one thumb

  • behind his braces, and blew out another even bigger smoke-ring.

  • Then he took out his morning letters, and began to read, pretending to take no more

  • notice of the old man.

  • He had decided that he was not quite his sort, and wanted him to go away.

  • But the old man did not move.

  • He stood leaning on his stick and gazing at the hobbit without saying anything, till Bilbo

  • got quite uncomfortable and even a little cross.

  • Good morning!” he said at last.

  • We don't want any adventures here, thank you!

  • You might try over The Hill or across The Water.”

  • By this he meant that the conversation was at an end.

  • What a lot of things you do use Good morning for!” said Gandalf.

  • Now you mean that you want to get rid of me, and that it won't be good till I move

  • off.”

  • Not at all, not at all, my dear sir!

  • Let me see, I don't think I know your name?”

  • Yes, yes, my dear sirand I do know your name, Mr. Bilbo Baggins.

  • And you do know my name, though you don't remember that I belong to it.

  • I am Gandalf, and Gandalf means me!

  • To think that I should have lived to be good-morninged by Belladonna Took's son, as if I was selling

  • buttons at the door!”

  • Gandalf, Gandalf!

  • Good gracious me!

  • Not the wandering wizard that gave Old Took a pair of magic diamond studs that fastened

  • themselves and never came undone till ordered?

  • Not the fellow who used to tell such wonderful tales at parties, about dragons and goblins

  • and giants and the rescue of princesses and the unexpected luck of widows' sons?

  • Not the man that used to make such particularly excellent fireworks!

  • I remember those!

  • Old Took used to have them on Midsummer's Eve.

  • Splendid!

  • They used to go up like great lilies and snapdragons and laburnums of fire and hang in the twilight

  • all evening!”

  • You will notice already that Mr. Baggins was not quite so prosy as he liked to believe,

  • also that he was very fond of flowers.

  • Dear me!” he went on.

  • Not the Gandalf who was responsible for so many quiet lads and lasses going off into

  • the Blue for mad adventures?

  • Anything from climbing trees to visiting elvesor sailing in ships, sailing to other shores!

  • Bless me, life used to be quite inter—I mean, you used to upset things badly in these

  • parts once upon a time.

  • I beg your pardon, but I had no idea you were still in business.”

  • Where else should I be?” said the wizard.

  • All the same I am pleased to find you remember something about me.

  • You seem to remember my fireworks kindly, at any rate, and that is not without hope.

  • Indeed for your old grandfather Took's sake, and for the sake of poor Belladonna, I will

  • give you what you asked for.”

  • “I beg your pardon, I haven't asked for anything!”

  • Yes, you have!

  • Twice now.

  • My pardon.

  • I give it you.

  • In fact I will go so far as to send you on this adventure.

  • Very amusing for me, very good for youand profitable too, very likely, if you ever get

  • over it.”

  • Sorry!

  • I don't want any adventures, thank you.

  • Not today.

  • Good morning!

  • But please come to teaany time you like!

  • Why not tomorrow?

  • Come tomorrow!

  • Good bye!”

  • With that the hobbit turned and scuttled