Travellers leave Bree for Weathertop
Event Type: General
Age: 3rd Age - Ring War
Date: September 30, 3018
An event in Frodo's Departure from the Shire and in the prelude to the Attack on the Camp at Weathertop; see either entry for an overview.
'Even if we are allowed to leave Bree unhindered, we can hardly hope now to leave it unnoticed.... I know one or two ways out of Bree-land other than the main road.'
The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 10, Strider
It was close on ten o'clock before they at last got off. By that time the whole of Bree was buzzing with excitement. Frodo's vanishing trick; the appearance of the black horsemen; the robbing of the stables; and not least the news that Strider the Ranger had joined the mysterious hobbits, made such a tale as would last for many uneventful years. Most of the inhabitants of Bree... were crowded in the road to see the travellers start. The other guests in the inn were at the doors or hanging out of the windows.
Strider had changed his mind, and he decided to leave Bree by the main road. Any attempt to set off across country at once would only make matters worse: half the inhabitants would follow them, to see what they were up to....
They said farewell to Nob and Bob, and took leave of Mr. Butterbur with many thanks....
They tramped off, anxious and downhearted, under the eyes of the crowd. Not all the faces were friendly.... But Strider seemed to be held in awe by most of the Bree-landers, and those that he stared at shut their mouths and drew away. He walked in front with Frodo; next came Merry and Pippin; and last came Sam leading the pony, which was laden with as much of their baggage as they had the heart to give it.... Sam was chewing an apple thoughtfully....
The hobbits took no notice of the inquisitive heads that peeped out... as they passed. But as they drew near to the further gate, Frodo saw a dark ill-kept house behind a thick hedge.... In one of the windows he caught a glimpse of a sallow face with sly, slanting eyes; but it vanished at once.
'So that's where that southerner is hiding!' he thought. 'He looks more than half like a goblin.'
Over the hedge another man was staring boldly. He had... dark scornful eyes; his large mouth curled in a sneer.... As they approached he took [a pipe] out of his mouth and spat.
'Morning, Longshanks!' he said. 'Off early? Found some friends at last?' Strider nodded, but did not answer. 'Morning, my little friends!' he said to the others. 'I suppose you know who you've taken up with? That's Stick-at-naught Strider, that is! Though I've heard other names not so pretty. Watch out tonight! And you, Sammie, don't go ill-treating my poor old pony...!' He spat again.
Sam turned quickly. 'And you, Ferny,' he said, 'put your ugly face out of sight, or it will get hurt.' With a sudden flick..., an apple left his hand and hit Bill square on the nose. He ducked too late, and curses came from behind the hedge. 'Waste of a good apple,' said Sam regretfully, and strode on.
At last they left the village behind. The escort of children and stragglers that had followed them got tired and turned back at the South-gate. Passing through, they kept on along the Road for some miles. It bent to the left, curving back into its eastward line as it rounded the feet of Bree-hill, and then it began to run swiftly downwards into wooded country. To their left they could see some of the houses and hobbit-holes of Staddle...; down in a deep hollow away north of the Road there were wisps of rising smoke that showed where Combe lay; Archet was hidden in the trees beyond.
After the Road had run down some way, and had left Bree-hill..., they came on a narrow track that led off towards the North. 'This is where we leave the open and take to cover,' said Strider.
'Not a "short cut", I hope,' said Pippin. 'Our last short cut through woods nearly ended in disaster.'
'Ah, but you had not got me with you then,' laughed Strider. 'My cuts, short or long, don't go wrong.' He took a look up and down the Road. No one was in sight; and he led the way quickly down towards the wooded valley.
The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 11, A Knife in the Dark
Elena Tiriel 20Jun08