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Chapter 5. A Long-Expected Wedding
'It is a fine day for a wedding!' Pippin sang as he came out of one of the guest rooms at Bag End. His face was freshly washed, a towel hung about his neck, and his hair stood up wild and in need of a brush.
Merry appeared in the doorway of his own room, yawning. 'What are you doing up so early?'
Pippin's grin was mischievous as ever. 'I thought Master Samwise might need a little help in preparing.'
Frodo's hand came out of nowhere and suddenly fastened itself on his ear. 'O no, you don't, cousin!' the elder cousin said in a laughing tone, but it was plain that he meant his warning. 'You two have badgered him into this wedding and you are not going to make him miserable about it!'
'Miserable!' Merry protested. 'This ought to be the happiest day of his life!'
Pippin had his own protest to make. ' "We" badgered him into it? I had nothing to do with it!'
'Merry, then,' conceded Frodo.
'Aye, and proud of it!' Merry cried. 'At the rate Sam was going, I would have been a grandfather before I became an honorary uncle!' Frodo regarded him with satisfaction, glad at seeing Merry fully recovered and cheerful as he ever had been.
'Ah, but think of all the meat and mushroom pie you will be missing,' Pippin teased. 'You could have talked the lass into marrying you!'
'I will be missing no pie, as I am sure that Miss Rosie Cotton -- I mean, Mistress Rose Gamgee -- will invite me plenty of times for pie in gratitude for my services.'
'Services! Services! Badgering her every time you saw her, to marry yourself as if she were to take such a thing seriously, and going down on one knee before her entire family and Samwise to try to goad him into speaking...'
'It was only to move the poor benighted hobbit in the right direction a little faster than a garden snail...'
'I'm sure he would have asked her eventually... and probably sooner, without you plaguing the life out of the two of them...' Frodo felt moved to put in.
'Well it worked, did it not? Is there not to be a wedding today?'
Pippin and Frodo stared at Merry, for the moment rendered speechless. Merry smiled and preened, and returned to his original point. 'And so, I'm sure the lass will be happy to bake me my favourite of her delectables whenever I appear on the front doorstep...'
'And Samwise will make you sit on the back step to eat it!'
The teasing and joking went on as they all prepared for the wedding and party to follow.
It was a grand day for a wedding indeed, and even with Sam's shyness and Rosie's blushes, the ceremony went perfectly, despite Merry's copious eye-wiping and Pippin's elbow jabs to quell him.
A cheer went up as Mayor Frodo pronounced them hobbit and wife. All adjourned to the Party Field, where Rosie and Sam stood beneath the young mallorn tree as the guests toasted the happy couple. The feasting and dancing went on well into the night.
Rose even danced a dance with Merry, laughing as he gazed at her with lovestruck eyes and said, pretending wistfulness, 'Ah, Rosie, lass, and to think you could have married me had I only been a wee bit faster than Samwise in my courting!' He relinquished the flushed and laughing bride to her new husband and returned to where he and Pippin were sitting, to catch his breath and drain his cup of wine.
Pippin walked off rather unsteadily to refill his and Merry's winecups. When he came back he found his cousin scribbling on the snowy tablecloth with a stubby pencil. He was not too tipsy to realize that Mistress Cotton's wrath might descend upon them at any moment.
'Merry! What do you think you are doing?' he gasped, spilling some of the wine as he set the cups down.
'I do not think I'm doing something, I AM doing it,' Merry answered happily without ceasing from his scribbling.
Distracted, Pippin bent to read the writing... and began to grin. 'It's got a catchy enough rhythm,' he said. He picked up his flute and began noodling until he had found a tune to fit the words.
'Yes!' Merry cried, throwing down the pencil. 'That is it, exactly!' He stepped up onto the bench and jumped from there to the table. 'Hullo, everyone!' he cried, holding up his winecup. 'A toast!' A cheer went up.
'Merry, what are you doing?' Frodo cried, half amused and half alarmed.
Merry regarded him cheerfully. 'You are not the only member of the family who can dance atop a table, Frodo Baggins,' he crowed. 'Captains Peregrin Took and Meriadoc Brandybuck at your service, Mistress Rose Gamgee!' he said, bowing low to Rose and spilling a bit of his wine and nearly himself in the process. 'We have composed a little melody in your honor, just perfect for dancing at a wedding supper!' Pippin took his cue and began to play the tune. A few hobbits began to clap along and several couples got up to dance. The musicians quickly picked up the tune, and Merry began to sing.
Come all ye young lasses and lads, and lads,
There was a roar of appreciation from the crowd of merrymakers. Merry couldn't see Sam's face but Rosie was beaming.
The song went on to tell of how Samwise had braved countless adventures, yet on returning could not look his Rose in the eye...
Mistress Cotton suppressed a sigh at that great blundering Meriadoc Brandybuck dancing upon one of her best tablecloths. Ah, well. The lad was responsible for Samwise finally speaking to her Rose. She supposed a tablecloth was a small price to pay for gaining a fine son who had been like a member of the family all these years.
Mayor Frodo he had an idee, idee,
Cheers erupted from the crowd, 'Hooray for Frodo!' Frodo bowed from his place by the buffet.
Mayor Frodo and Peregrin Took, young Took
Pippin shouted, 'Yes, him too!' and everyone laughed as Merry took a bow.
All sat down to eat pie of mushrooms and meat,
Over at one of the groaning food tables, Fredregar Bolger turned to Frodo. 'Looks like he is on the mend.'
Frodo laughed, 'I would say he's completely mended!' Fatty Bolger nodded and turned back to the table. He was doing his best to live up to his name, though it would take a few more months of good eating to make up for the Lockholes.
Then Merry he took him a bite, a bite
Frodo's cup was empty and he put it down on the table. Fatty fixed him with an unsteady eye, 'So, cousin, tell me, when will I be dancing at your wedding?'
Sharp Mistress Cotton had heard the question and seen the shadow of pain cross Frodo's face, and suddenly she swept him into the dance, crying, 'You have not danced yet at my Rosie's wedding, Mayor Frodo! I am claiming this dance!'
Captain Merry, he turned then to Sam, to Sam
All the crowd was clapping, now, and when the song was finished the musicians kept playing. Merry saw Rose pull Sam into the dance, and the gardener's scowl soon changed to a smile as they spun about to the gay tune.
'Sing it again!' someone shouted, and Merry was happy to oblige. Pippin put down his flute and joined him in singing, and several other voices joined as well.
At the end of the happy dance the breathless hobbits clapped and, as soon as they could find the breath, cheered lustily.
The Courtship of Samwise Gamgee (see chapter 2)
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