When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be
celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special
magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.
‘But I reckon it was a nasty shock for those Sackville-Bagginses. They
thought they were going to get Bag End, that time when he went off and
was thought to be dead. And then he comes back and orders them off; and
he goes on living and living, and never looking a day older, bless him!
And suddenly he produces an heir, and has all the papers made out
proper. The Sackville-Bagginses won’t never see the inside of Bag End
now, or it is to be hoped not.’
Bilbo was very rich and very peculiar, and had been the wonder of the
Shire for sixty years, ever since his remarkable disappearance and
unexpected return. The riches he had brought back from his travels had
now become a local legend, and it was popularly believed, whatever the
old folk might say, that the Hill at Bag End was full of tunnels stuffed
with treasure. And if that was not enough for fame, there was also his
prolonged vigour to marvel at. Time wore on, but it seemed to have
little effect on Mr. Baggins. At ninety he was much the same as at
fifty. At ninety-nine they began to call him well-preserved, but
unchanged would have been nearer the mark. There were some that shook
their heads and thought this was too much of a good thing; it seemed
unfair that anyone should possess (apparently) perpetual youth as well
as (reputedly) inexhaustible wealth.
- make out 辨认、填写
‘There’s a tidy bit of money tucked away up there, I hear tell,’ said a
stranger, a visitor on business from Michel Delving in the Westfarthing.
‘All the top of your hill is full of tunnels packed with chests of gold
and silver, and jools, by what I’ve heard. ‘
‘It will have to be paid for,’ they said. ‘It isn’t natural, and trouble
will come of it!’
- tuck away 妥帖保管、隐匿
- on business 因公
“ 他会付出代价的，” 他们这么说。“这不自然，会推动劳动的”。
‘Then you’ve heard more than I can speak to,’ answered the Gaffer. I
know nothing about jools. Mr. Bilbo is free with his money, and there
seems no lack of it; but I know of no tunnel-making. I saw Mr. Bilbo
when he came back, a matter of sixty years ago, when I was a lad. I’d
not long come prentice to old Holman (him being my dad’s cousin), but he
had me up at Bag End helping him to keep folks from trampling and
trapessing all over the garden while the sale was on. And in the middle
of it all Mr. Bilbo comes up the Hill with a pony and some mighty big
bags and a couple of chests. I don’t doubt they were mostly full of
treasure he had picked up in foreign parts, where there be mountains of
gold, they say; but there wasn’t enough to fill tunnels. But my lad Sam
will know more about that. He’s in and out of Bag End. Crazy about
stories of the old days he is, and he listens to all Mr. Bilbo’s tales.
Mr. Bilbo has learned him his letters – meaning no harm, mark you, and I
hope no harm will come of it.
But so far trouble had not come; and as Mr. Baggins was generous with
his money, most people were willing to forgive him his oddities and his
good fortune. He remained on visiting terms with his relatives (except,
of course, the Sackville-Bagginses), and he had many devoted admirers
among the hobbits of poor and unimportant families. But he had no close
friends, until some of his younger cousins began to grow up.
- be free with 直爽坦白
- a matter of 大约
- have up 请某人来访问
- in the middle of 在…中间
- mark you 你听好了
‘Elves and Dragons’ I says to him. ‘Cabbages and potatoes are better for
me and you. Don’t go getting mixed up in the business of your betters,
or you’ll land in trouble too big for you,’ I says to him. And I might
say it to others,’ he added with a look at the stranger and the miller.
The eldest of these, and Bilbo’s favourite, was young Frodo Baggins.
When Bilbo was ninety-nine, he adopted Frodo as his heir, and brought
him to live at Bag End; and the hopes of the Sackville-Bagginses were
finally dashed. Bilbo and Frodo happened to have the same birthday,
‘You had better come and live here, Frodo my lad,’ said Bilbo one day;
‘and then we can celebrate our birthday-parties comfortably together.’
At that time Frodo was still in his tweens, as the hobbits called the
irresponsible twenties between childhood and coming of age at
Twelve more years passed. Each year the Bagginses had given very lively
combined birthday-parties at Bag End; but now it was understood that
something quite exceptional was being planned for that autumn. Bilbo was
going to be eleventy-one, 111, a rather curious number and a very
respectable age for a hobbit (the Old Took himself had only reached
130); and Frodo was going to be thirty-three, 33) an important number:
the date of his ‘coming of age’.
- mix up 和…厮混
But the Gaffer did not convince his audience. The legend of Bilbo’s
wealth was now too firmly fixed in the minds of the younger generation
‘Ah, but he has likely enough been adding to what he brought at first,’
argued the miller, voicing common opinion. ‘He’s often away from home.
And look at the outlandish folk that visit him: dwarves coming at night,
and that old wandering conjuror, Gandalf, and all. You can say what you
like, Gaffer, but Bag End’s a queer place, and its folk are queerer.’
Tongues began to wag in Hobbiton and Bywater; and rumour of the coming
event travelled all over the Shire. The history and character of Mr.
Bilbo Baggins became once again the chief topic of conversation; and the
older folk suddenly found their reminiscences in welcome demand
No one had a more attentive audience than old Ham Gamgee, commonly known
as the Gaffer. He held forth at The Ivy Bush, a small inn on the Bywater
road; and he spoke with some authority, for he had tended the garden at
Bag End for forty years, and had helped old Holman in the same job
before that. Now that he was himself growing old and stiff in the
joints, the job was mainly carried on by his youngest son, Sam Gamgee.
Both father and son were on very friendly terms with Bilbo and Frodo.
They lived on the Hill itself, in Number 3 Bagshot Row just below Bag
- add to 增强
‘And you can say what you like, about what you know no more of than you
do of boating, Mr. Sandyman,’ retorted the Gaffer, disliking the miller
even more than usual.” If that’s being queer, then we could do with a
bit more queerness in these parts. There’s some not far away that
wouldn’t offer a pint of beer to a friend, if they lived in a hole with
golden walls. But they do things proper at Bag End. Our Sam says that
everyone’s going to be invited to the party, and there’s going to be
presents, mark you, presents for all – this very month as is.’
That very month was September, and as fine as you could ask. A day or
two later a rumour (probably started by the knowledgeable Sam) was
spread about that there were going to be fireworks – fireworks, what is
more, such as had not been seen in the Shire for nigh on a century, not
indeed since the Old Took died.
- hold forth 侃侃而谈
- queerness 奇妙、古怪
- a pint of 一品托