6. Boredom and Blessings
“Chasing its dreams,” Estella replied. She looked up from her mending to watch the ripples moving back and forth across Diamond’s frock-covered belly.
Solmath was half-way gone which meant that Diamond was part way through her fifth month of pregnancy. Her abdomen ached while the skin that was stretching across it felt dry and itchy no matter how much Diamond applied the lotion Mistress Calendula had given her.
“Well, if this babe is chasing its dreams, then they are rowdy ones to be sure.” Diamond scowled as she wriggled about in her chair in an effort to get comfortable. “Perhaps I should be making these buntings out of a broadcloth and the presentation gown of corduroy, instead of flannel and linen.” Diamond looked at the basket that held the results of the past few months sewing. She sighed and shook her head. “I’m a seamstress. One would think I would have more to show for my efforts. The knitted things keep finishing up more quickly than they ought, although I’m not that good a knitter, while the sewing is taking forever. I just don’t feel as interested in all of this as I did at first.” Her hand flew to her mouth. She blushed as she looked at Estella. “That sounded awful,” Diamond mumbled from behind her hand.
“It did.” Estella winked as she chuckled. “Imagine how I felt when I started getting tired of being pregnant with Theo.”
“You . . . you felt like this?”
“Oh yes. And with having lost our first baby . . . well, I felt wicked for it. I wondered how I could possibly be weary of carrying our new precious little one. How could I be such a horrible mummy?”
Diamond’s eyes took on a soft, sad look, her voice was gentle. “I didn’t know you ever felt this way. You seemed thrilled, nearly about to burst with excitement the whole time.”
“I was so ashamed. I would go and hide in the privy to weep until I could weep no more. I was going to the privy a lot anyway, I knew no one would think anything of my spending so much time in there. The feelings would come and go, but I always felt guilty for having them. It was Esme who finally noticed. She drew me aside and, after I admitted everything to her, told me all was well, that most expectant mummies feel that way at some time while they are carrying their little ones. We just end up forgetting about it after the babe is born.”
Diamond smiled now as another series of ripples chased across her tummy. She laid her hand where the movement had stopped and pushed slightly. A reassuring push came from the child within her. She moved her hand over a few inches and pushed again and once more she felt a push in response. “I know you aren’t ready yet, my dear little one,” Diamond said as she softly rubbed her belly. “But I can barely wait until we can touch our hands together.” She sighed then jumped a bit as the babe gave a kick. “Speaking of needing to use the privy more . . .” Diamond rose as quickly as she could, and hurried out of the house.
As she came out of the privy, Diamond heard the sound of clopping hooves keeping rhythm with the creaking of a wagon. A huge smile brightened her face; Merry and Peregrin were home She hurried around to the front of the house just as the wagon drew to a stop.
“What did you bring me?” Her happy voice rang out.
“What did I bring you? Was I supposed to bring you something?” Pippin’s eyes shown with mischief as he was nearly knocked down by his exuberant wife.
“You never go to Bucklebury for supplies without bringing something for me, and you know it, Peregrin Took.” Diamond swayed back and forth trying to see into the wagon while Pippin matched her movements to keep her from doing so. “Quit ” she yelped as he once again blocked her view to her left.
“Quit what? Am I doing something I need to stop doing?” Pippin’s face was all innocence as he shifted to block her peeking around him, this time to her right.
Diamond slapped his arm as hard as she could. “Peregrin Took, I’ll call the wrath of the Terrible Took Sisters down upon you. Let me see what you brought ”
“They’re all in Tookland. Too far away, my dear. I’ve no worries there.”
“I’ll . . . I’ll . . . I’ll tell your Aunt Esmeralda.”
“Well, she is closer, that’s true.” Pippin grinned as kept up the dance of blocking Diamond’s view of what Merry was unloading from the wagon. “But you know that I’m her favorite nephew. I can nearly do no wrong in her opinion.”
“Oh, no Of course not.” Merry sarcastically interjected.
“I’m thinking that she would be laughing so hard that her heart would be racing. Yes, quite flushed in the face and over exerting herself, poor old dear.” Pippin continued, unfazed by the comment from Esmeralda’s own son. “No, my dearest, most beautiful little pregnant wife. I fear there is no one about to whom you can convincingly plead your case.”
“She can plead it to me and I will back her whole heartedly, Peregrin Took.” Estella, holding Theodoc, had come out of the house and now stood defensively beside Diamond, though she was grinning from ear to ear. “If this dear lass can keep her sanity while staying married to you, Pippin Took, it will be a miracle,” she added while handing Diamond a shawl.
“It’s out of the wagon, Pip,” Merry said.
Pippin stood aside to let Diamond see a large, blanket wrapped object sitting on the ground behind the wagon. With his demeanor now lovingly gentle, Pippin put his arm around Diamond’s shoulders. “Do you want to see it right away, out here in the yard, or shall I take it inside?”
Diamond answered by slowly walking up to the object and pulling the blanket aside. A quiet, little “Oh ”escaped her, then Pippin jumped forward to steady her as she knelt on the blanket beside the cradle.
“Pippin,” she whispered in one of her rare slips into his more commonly used name. “Wherever did you find this?” Her hands gently touched the polished oak that had been formed into graceful spiral spindles and angular, intricately carved head and foot boards. The cradle was not on rockers, as were most hobbit cradles, but hung by ornate chains from two thick, spiral carved uprights set into sturdy three-footed bases which were joined across the bottom by a board bearing similar carvings to the head and foot boards. The cradle was truly a work of art that would stand up to holding the most active of hobbit babes. “I have never, ever seen anything like it. Not even at The Smials or The Hall.”
“Pippin designed it himself,” Merry answered. He had noticed the color rising in his younger cousin’s smiling face, seen the tears forming in Pippin’s eyes as he watched Diamond’s reaction to his gift. He knew it would be a few moments before Pippin would find voice enough to answer. “He designed it and hired Farmer Maggot’s eldest son, Wili to make it up.” Merry tactfully did not mention Pippin’s failed attempt at making the cradle himself.
“The spindles and uprights are Elvish,” an obviously proud Pippin explained in a soft voice. “The head and foot boards and the support bar are Dwarvish. I have a grey cotton in the wagon for making wee mattress covers, along with some silver satin for the wee little cushions to go around the edges. No black though, although I’m wanting it to represent Gondor. Black didn’t seem right for a wee babe’s bed.”
“Gimli, Legolas, King Elessar, along with your dear friends Boromir and Faramir.” Diamond nodded her approval. “But what of Gandalf? Does he not warrant remembering?” Her eyes sparkled as she teased her husband. Pippin didn’t say a thing, he just reached out and gently touched a part of the carving on the inside of the head board. There, centered amongst the geometric Dwarvish knotwork, was the image of the White Rider’s staff. Diamond tugged on Pippin’s hand to pull him down beside her. They hugged each other as they knelt beside the cradle.
“Wait a moment,” Merry said over his shoulder as he ran into the house. He was soon back with a package in his arms. He handed the package to Pippin, then pulled a letter out of his pocket. “This came to The Hall a week ago and I was holding it for when we picked up the cradle.” He cleared his throat and read aloud:
Sir Peregrin Took, The Ernil i Pheriannath, and the Lady Diamond,
I do so love addressing you in this manner as my dearest husband assures me it will embarrass you, Pippin.
The package contains our present to the new Knight or Lady of the realm of Gondor. We hope you will not feel them inappropriate. They were made by myself and my handmaidens.
May you both, your child, and all the hobbits of the Shire be greatly blessed
With our deepest love,
King Elessar and Queen Arwen
Four sets of eyes stared at the package Pippin held. He held it out towards Diamond. “I’ll hold it while you open it, dear,” Pippin said, then turning to Merry, added, “Ernil i Pheriannath, indeed Queen Arwen just never can get past having me on about that.”
A collective gasp followed the final pulling away of wrapping and the exposing of the gift. Folded items of black satin and black velvet, each edged with silver satin, rested in Pippin’s arms.
“What were you just saying about black for a baby, Pippin?” Merry whispered. “I hope this won’t bring bad luck.”
Pippin gulped. “Well, at least the Queen blessed us all in her letter. Maybe that will make it all well. You know, Elvish blessings and all that.”
Diamond picked up and opened out the satin piece of fabric. It was a large, thin coverlet. The pale sunlight of Solmath gleamed upon the embroidered image of the White Tree and Stars it bore. She opened out the velvet to find it was also coverlet, though thicker, also bearing the emblems of the royal house of Gondor. For a time the four hobbits remained silent.
Estella broke the silence. “One for summer and one for winter. I’m glad that Rohan’s colors are green and white. The coverlets we received from King Eomer and Queen Lothiriel aren’t so somber.”
Diamond looked up and smiled. “I got married in the sable and silver of Gondor, it has done nothing to mar my happiness with my husband. I would assume the babies of my husband’s liege lord are wrapped in coverlets such as these.” She reached out her hand to caress Pippin’s cheek. “We have our King and Queen’s blessings, I will not fear anything bad coming from our child being wrapped in these beautiful covers, Sir Peregrin of Gondor.” She leaned over and kissed Pippin before whispering in his ear, “Prince of the Halflings.”
Pippin turned his head to nip her playfully on the earlobe in payment for her jest before rising to his feet and offering Diamond his hand. “As you say, Lady Diamond of Gondor. You are quite right, there is no need to fear our child being covered in our King’s colors. But now, I think we had best get you in the house before you catch a chill. Sir Meriadoc of Rohan and I will finish unloading the wagon and we shall expect you and Lady Estella of Rohan to have a nice afternoon tea waiting for us when we come in. I’ll just put the cradle in the house and be right back out to help you, Sir Merry.” With that said, they each set off to attend to their tasks.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.