‘Well, what do you think of it?’ asked Merry coming up the passage. ‘We have done our best in a short time to make it look like home. After all Fatty and I only got here with the last cart-load yesterday.’
Frodo looked round. It did look like home. Many of his own favourite things—or Bilbo’s things (they reminded him sharply of him in their new setting)—were arranged as nearly as possible as they had been at Bag End. It was a pleasant, comfortable, welcoming place; and he found himself wishing that he was really coming here to settle down in quiet retirement. It seemed unfair to have to put his friends to all this trouble; and he wondered again how he was going to break the news to them that he must leave them so soon, indeed at once. Yet that would have to be done that very night, before they all went to bed.
‘It’s delightful!’ he said with an effort. ‘I hardly feel that I have moved at all.’
The travelers hung up their cloaks, and piled their packs on the floor. Merry led them down the passage and threw open a door at the far end. Firelight came out, and a puff of steam.
‘A bath!’ cried Pippin. ‘O blessed Meriadoc!’
‘Which order shall we go in?’ said Frodo. ‘Eldest first, or quickest first? You’ll be last either way, master Peregrin.’
‘Trust me to arrange things better than that!’ said Merry. ‘We can’t begin life at Crickhollow with a quarrel over baths. In that room there are three tubs, and a copper full of boiling water. There are also towels, mats and soap. Get inside, and be quick!’
Merry and Fatty went into the kitchen on the other side of the passage, and busied themselves with the final preparations for a late supper. Snatches of competing songs came from the bathroom mixed with the sound of splashing and wallowing. The voice of Pippin was suddenly lifted up above the others in one of Bilbo’s favourite bath-songs.
Sing hey! For the bath at close of dayThere was a terrific splash, and a shout of Whoa! From Frodo. It appeared that a lot of Pippin’s bath had imitated a fountain and leaped on high.
that washes the weary mud away!
A loon is he that will not sing:
O! Water Hot is a noble thing!
O! Sweet is the sound of falling rain,
and the brook that leaps from hill to plain;
but better than rain or rippling streams
is Water Hot that smokes and steams.
O! Water cold we may pour at need
down a thirsty throat and be glad indeed;
but better is Beer, if drink we lack,
and Water Hot poured down the back.
O! Water is fair that leaps on high
in a fountain white beneath the sky;
but never did fountain sound so sweet
as splashing Hot Water with my feet!
Merry went to the door: ‘What about supper and beer in the throat?’ he called. Frodo came out drying his hair.
‘There’s so much water in the air that I’m coming into the kitchen to finish,’ he said.
‘Lawks!’ said Merry, looking in. The stone floor was swimming. ‘ You ought to mop all that up before you get anything to eat, Peregrin,’ he said. ‘Hurry up, or we shan’t wait for you.’
They had supper in the kitchen on a table near the fire. ‘I suppose you three won’t want mushrooms again?’ said Fredegar without much hope.
‘Yes we shall!’ cried Pippin.
‘They’re mine!’ said Frodo. ‘Given to me by Mrs. Maggot, a queen among farmers’ wives. Take your greedy hands away, and I’ll serve them.’
Hobbits have a passion for mushrooms, surpassing even the greediest likings of Big People. A fact which partly explains young Frodo’s long expeditions to the renowned fields of the Marish, and the wrath of the injured Maggot. On this occasion there was plenty for all, even according to hobbit standards. There were also many other things to follow, and when they had finished even Fatty Bolger heaved a sigh of content. They pushed back the table, and drew chairs round the fire.”
FROM The Fellowship of the Ring
by J.R.R. Tolkien