It’s September 22nd, Happy Hobbit Day!

In recognition of Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday, here is a portion of Bilbo’s farewell speech.

“First of all, to tell you that I am immensely fond of you all, and that eleventy-one years is too short a time to live among such excellent and admirable hobbits.” Tremendous outburst of approval.

“I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.” This was unexpected and rather difficult. There was some scattered clapping, but most of them were trying to work it out and see if it came to a compliment.

“Secondly, to celebrate my birthday. Cheers again. I should say: OUR birthday. For it is, of course, also the birthday of my heir and nephew, Frodo. He comes of age and into his inheritance today.” Some perfunctory clapping by the elders; and some loud shouts of ‘Frodo! Frodo! Jolly old Frodo,’ from the juniors. The Sackville-Bagginses scowled, and wondered what was meant by ‘coming into his inheritance’.

“Together we score one hundred and forty-four. Your numbers were chosen to fit this remarkable total: One Gross, if I may use the expression.” No cheers. This was ridiculous. Many of the guests, and especially the Sackville-Bagginses, were insulted, feeling sure they had only been asked to fill up the required number, like goods in a package. ‘One Gross, indeed! Vulgar expression.’

“It is also, if I may be allowed to refer to ancient history, the anniversary of my arrival by barrel at Esgaroth on the Long Lake; though the fact that it was my birthday slipped my memory on that occasion. I was only fifty-one then, and birthdays did not seem so important. The banquet was very splendid, however, though I had a bad cold at the time, I remember, and could only say ‘thag you very buch’. I now repeat it more correctly: Thank you very much for coming to my little party.” Obstinate silence. They all feared that a song or some poetry was now imminent…

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

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