1. The Diary of Lobelia Sackville-Baggins
June 22nd, 1342:
Today is the day! The auction of Bag End takes place and Otho and I can move in. Bilbo is never coming back, that is for certain. So silly of him not to make a will, but at least it does mean that Otho and I can live there permanently. We shall move in on Thursday, if all goes to plan. It is such a lovely hole. Otho should have built one for me - but then neither of us had the money. I suppose we should thank Belladonna Took - it is certainly her fault Bilbo got this adventurous nature, and because of her fortune that Bag End was built; and if it means we get the place, then I for one am not complaining.
Later: The cheek of it! I was measuring the rooms - the ornate chest of drawers would have looked perfect in the master bedroom - when in walked Bilbo! And a pony loaded with bags. Bags that clinked. Where he went nobody knows, but he came back a rich hobbit, that is for sure. The auction had to be stopped immediately. He is going to have such a time of it getting everything back. He is not going to get his spoons back, though. I bought a lovely set of twelve silver ones, engraved with flower patterns. The gossip is that Gandalf, who is a wizard apparently, has something to do with the whole messy business. No Bag End! I shall wait, all my life if necessary.
The gossip over Bilbo’s return has still not died down. I hear that some people are not selling his things back to him, but as he appears to be living somewhat extravagantly I have no doubt he can afford to replace them. My sister Peony reports orders from the grocers far more than Bilbo needs as a bachelor. The whole thing is quite ridiculous.
Now Bilbo has ordered twenty-five linen handkerchiefs in one go. An unprecedented and perfectly unnecessary move in Hobbiton. What it is costing him, I cannot imagine (though I would be interested in knowing.)
Bilbo has real gold buttons on his new silk waistcoat. He is looking fitter than ever. At his time of life! He has gone 51, he should be settling down with a respectable wife (perhaps that nice Hermione Proudfoot?) in a small, comfortable hole somewhere – and leave Bag End to us.
Bilbo’s birthday. Lavish presents but few of them.
March 3rd, 1343:
A dwarf visited Bilbo today, and that wizard Gandalf. I saw as I was passing Bag End on an errand. The dwarf was very ugly, but I will grant that his clothes were extraordinary – gold and silver all over them.
[Here one diary ends. There appears to be at least one missing volume, and the next one starts again in August 1389.]
August 11th, 1389:
Bad news for the new journal. The talk is that Bilbo is going to have Frodo Baggins from Buckland to live with him. No good will come of this, as I told Otho this morning. Although Frodo is a Baggins by name, his mother was a Brandybuck, and he is bound to have got something queer in his make up from her. The Brandybucks are as strange as the Tooks. They row boats, and some can swim! It’s not natural for a hobbit. Frodo is only in his tweens, and I think the only possible reason (I hope) that Bilbo can have for wanting Frodo to stay with him is their shared birthday.
It is official! Frodo is going to live at Bag End with Bilbo! Otho is worried.
Frodo is going to be Bilbo’s heir! They are not even that closely related, not remotely as close as Otho. As I see it, Frodo’s great-grandfather, Largo Baggins, was Bilbo’s grandfather’s brother, making Bilbo and Drogo’s fathers first cousins. There are removals all over between Frodo and Bilbo. Yet Otho is Bilbo’s first cousin. We shall go to Bag End and demand to see the will. There is surely no legal right to this!
I have not been able to see the will. Otho and I went to Bag End today; Bilbo answered the door but would not let us in. He is looking remarkably well for his age – he is now 99! Though as I remarked to my sisters afterwards, he looks scarcely a day older than 60. At this rate he could very well outlive the Old Took – extraordinary to think that a Baggins could outlive the Took. Naturally it is only Belladonna’s blood to be blamed. Otho’s dear departed mother always said that that marriage was very badly taken by the rest of the family. A Baggins, after all, should be a sensible and respected hobbit like Otho … adventurers are not to be countenanced.
[Lobelia, following this decisive entry, abandoned the subject of Bilbo for almost twelve years. Her diary between 1389 and 1401 is concerned with matters of small gossip quite outside the War of the Ring, though local historians have declared themselves fascinated by her detailed descriptions. In 1401 Bilbo Baggins again became important as rumours of his Party flew around the Shire. Lobelia, of course, was excessively interested.]
News from the grocer. Bilbo, eleventy-one this year, and that detestable Bucklander Frodo, who will be thirty-three and of age, are planning a huge Party at Bag End to celebrate. At least ‘huge’ was the word old Tuber used; if we are invited I shall be very surprised. Despite being Bilbo’s closest relatives we have not seen the inside of Bag End since the auction, and that was sixty years ago. If an invitation does come our way I shall consider it very carefully before accepting.
The Party is getting closer. Rumours are flying around Hobbiton and even the Shire. People say it will be the best party ever. However that wizard Gandalf has visited Bilbo again, which can only be bad. The Bag End garden has been taken over by Samwise Gamgee (his father, Hamfast, looked after it previously).
At the Party there will be presents for everyone! Nobody knows who will be invited, but Bilbo had better hurry up and get invitations out. Only twelve days left! Dwarves came through Hobbiton last night, driving a wagon with parcels on it. Maybe these are some of the presents!
Gandalf came by this morning. He was driving a cart with fireworks on it; finally doing what he’s good for at last. The shopkeepers say that nothing has been ordered yet by Bilbo. If he is buying from outside the Shire it is disgraceful, and perfectly unnecessary for the goods to be bought here are certainly better than anything you can get Outside.
Carts and more carts are going to Bag End. The shopkeepers now say that they have run out of stock. There is no flour to be bought cheaply anywhere, since yesterday at any rate. That Bilbo! No invitation yet either. One week to go.
Two invitations! One was inviting us to the Party itself (black ink on white card) and one to a special dinner (GOLD ink on embossed white). After much consideration and consultation with Otho and my darling Lotho, we have decided to accept both. Otho pointed out that Bilbo has a reputation for an exceedingly well-stocked table, and it would be a shame to miss a free meal. There will be two or three meals at the Party too. And the presents should be good. I shall go shopping tomorrow for a new dress and hat; everyone has seen me in everything else I own.
A notice on Bilbo’s door, which I just happened to pass as I was going to the shops in Bywater. NO ADMITTANCE EXCEPT ON PARTY BUSINESS. He won’t let anyone inside; goodness knows what he is doing. I have bought a new yellow dress with a green trim and a matching pale green parasol. They have finally cleared the post offices – both Hobbiton and Bywater were blocked solid with invitations and replies, but I gathered that some people – the Brandybucks and Tooks, I suspect – are still sending in answers. No manners!
Today is Party Day, and it is bright and sunny. Will write later when we return. I hope the fireworks are good.
Gone! There we were, finishing the wine and puddings and chocolate, when Bilbo gets up to do his speech. The cheek of it! “One Gross,” he called us, one gross, then he said how Frodo was coming into his inheritance. Our inheritance. Bag End. Ours by rights, mine and Otho’s. Bag End. Then, with a bang and a flash, he disappeared! Right in front of our very eyes! Frodo, of course, just sat there – probably in on the joke – and then got up and walked out and refused to answer any questions.
We left soon afterwards. I always knew Bilbo was different – ‘well- preserved’, they called it – but I knew it was something from the Tooks. Never marry a Took, I have said to Lotho, many a time. The whole business is fishy and probably illegal and we shall go to Bag End shortly, demand to see Frodo and the will and get Bag End back.
The presents, of course, were excellent and numerous, including this gold nib I am using now.
Later: The hall at Bag End was filled with ‘presents’ for everyone. Most had some sort of impertinent label on them. Bilbo has left me a case of spoons, ‘as a present’. As if I ever carried off spoons without leave! Frodo would not see us; one of his young friends said that he was indisposed. Meriadoc Brandybuck, I think he is. A Brandybuck in Hobbiton!! We argued until we were let in to see Frodo. He looked perhaps a little tired but certainly not indisposed. We offered to relieve him cheaply of some of the things left behind by Bilbo, but he would not agree. Otho asked to see Bilbo’s will, it was all very correct with the right number of signatures in red ink. It seems I will never live in Bag End now, for Frodo will outlive me by years. Never to live in Bag End!
Otho left before I did. I went and examined the presents and the things which were not presents. Some fell into my parasol for some reason – a shame that Frodo came to see people off and found them. He doesn’t even belong in Bag End, he is a Brandybuck! I told him as much and he shut the door in my face. Young people nowadays are so rude!
Note: as I was going towards Hardbottle to see my sisters, I passed Gandalf. He looked very worried and in a hurry. He gave me rather a nasty stare. Going to see Frodo.
People are now beginning to come out and offer their views on Bilbo’s disappearance. It will be a talking point for many days to come, if not longer. He really was a disgrace to the Baggins family. I dare say Frodo will go the same way – a bachelor, a loner, consorting with all sorts of undesirables like that Gandalf and the Tooks and Brandybucks.
People are still talking about Bilbo. Nobody knows where he has gone, and Frodo won’t, or can’t, say. I gather from Heather Proudfoot that his little band of friends – Meriadoc Brandybuck, Peregrin Took, and Fredegar Bolger, not to mention that gardener Samwise Gamgee, are also being rather cagey; either that or they don’t know where he is. Otho thinks that Bilbo is dead.
January 29th, 1402:
Down at the post office this morning Bilbo was still being talked about. The tales spun of his gold at Bag End have grown, now that he’s left the place. They say that there are bags and chests and sacks of coins and necklaces and jewels there. I went to Michel Delving the other day, and in the mathom house there is an empty space where Bilbo used to keep a silver mail shirt. Apparently he took it away just before the Party. Who wears mail in the Shire?
Frodo is having what he calls a ‘Hundredweight Feast’ for his thirty-third birthday. This is rather silly because only twenty hobbits have been invited – not us, I must add. The guests are mostly young folk and the gossip is that there are going to be several meals. Bilbo’s birthday is also being celebrated. It’s sacrilege – he’s dead!
January 1st, 1403:
Another year – maybe this time around we’ll get invited to the Party or get Bag End. I passed Gandalf leaving the place this morning; it strikes me it has been a while since we had any news from Outside (no news is good news). Surely if anyone knows what actually happened to Bilbo it is that wizard, sticking his long nose in everyone’s business constantly.
Frodo is STILL giving ‘Bilbo’s Birthday Feast’. It really is starting to be disgraceful. Unlike the rest of the family he refuses to go into mourning although there is surely no doubt now that Bilbo is dead!
July 26th, 1404:
Lotho’s birthday. 40 years old. I am proud to have such a fine son, though I do wish he would settle down with some nice hobbit .
[The next eight years were unremarkable. In 1412 Otho Sackville-Baggins died peacefully at the age of 102. Lobelia settled down with her son Lotho to genteel widowhood, until the Great Years of 1418 – 1419.]
April 15th, 1418:
Gandalf is back! I was going to the grocer’s today, and he passed me on the road. His beard is even longer than before. He gave me a Look – I suppose he was going to Bag End, as usual. He was remarkably shabby. Nobody has seen him for at least eight years and probably longer, which was all for the best. A wizard is not the sort of companion for a respectable hobbit, though, of course, Frodo is anything but respectable.
A glorious, glorious day. After lunch Frodo knocked on the door. He was most polite, and said that his money was finally running out and he had decided to move to Buckland, and so would Lotho and I like to buy Bag End? Naturally, we jumped at the chance. All my dreams come true after eighty years of waiting! Eighty years of waiting for Bag End! We have got it fairly cheaply, with most of the furniture, and are moving in on the 23rd of September. Lotho suggested afterwards that it was probably Gandalf who had pushed Frodo into selling, but honestly, dear Diary, I do not care. Now that Bag End is mine I am quite disposed to look favourably on whoever persuaded Frodo to sell it. We must, of course, find a buyer for Mulberry Hole. I am not going to let the place go cheaply; I am sure it is worth quite a lot.
We have sold Mulberry Hole to Rosa and Toro Goodbody, and they are moving in at the same time that we move into Bag End. Word is starting to get about that Frodo has sold it to us, and people are speculating on why. Frodo is continuing his claim that his money has run out and he is moving to Buckland. He has bought a house in a village called Crickhollow, somewhere down there, and Merry Brandybuck is supervising the movement.
It is Frodo’s 50th birthday tomorrow, and if Bilbo were still living, he would be 128. Today the last of the wagons with Frodo’s things in it went past our house. We have got everything packed, but we don’t really need many things, because so much of Bag End has been sold to us – beds, sofas, things in the kitchen, but no pictures or ornaments. However I am sure Bilbo’s old maps and things are not what is needed in a respectable hobbit hole, and I am looking forward to being able to refurnish in my style.
I am writing this in the lounge at Bag End. Yesterday evening we came round to check that everything was where it should be – I would not have put it past Frodo to walk off with things we had paid for. It took a while, for I had a complete inventory of what should be in the hole. Luckily, all that I have bought is here. Frodo seemed very anxious to get rid of me, but I took my own time to ensure I had double-checked. This morning we collected the key from Hamfast Gamgee, who was not friendly at all. Not a good neighbour to have. I made up the beds and we had a little something to restore us, then I went to see how the Goodbodies were managing. I also picked up a statuette I had forgotten and left at Mulberry Hole.
There was a rousing of Buckland last night. I am told the horns could be heard for miles around. Gossip is now saying that Fatty Bolger raised the alarm. He said enemies were in Buckland – he was terribly frightened – and when they went to investigate, they found Frodo’s new house empty, with the door broken down. Nobody knows where Frodo is, or Meriadoc Brandybuck, Peregrin Took, and the Bag End gardener Samwise. I suppose he must have gone walking again, though it is of course possible that Peregrin Took, being a Took, persuaded them all to go adventuring. Naturally Frodo would agree, being not entirely of sensible Hobbiton blood.
May 31st, 1419:
Eight months have gone by and nothing has been heard of Frodo since he left Hobbiton, apart from Farmer Maggot (odd, like all Bucklanders) who says he saw Frodo on September 25th. Fatty Bolger is being silent. The house at Crickhollow has been sold again and they have put Frodo’s belongings into storage until the legal date for an auction has come.
We were woken at dawn by a knock on the door. Lotho got up to open it, and there was a beggar standing on the doorstep. Two, actually, but the old Man in grey, leaning on a stick, seemed to be in charge. I had no intention of letting them in, but when the old Man began to speak, I couldn’t help myself. He is now sitting at the table, eating all out food, while the other sits on the floor and eats what’s given to him. I really don’t know why I let them in, filthy tramps, and Big People too.
The old man has now started ordering me around! I can’t refuse him, though. He is very persuasive. The other beggar is called Wormtongue, I hear the old man shouting at him all day long.
The old man asked to see the leader of the Shirriffs today. He is eating us out of house and home.
Will Whitfoot has been arrested and put in the Lockholes! It was done in Lotho’s name!
The Shire has been taken over by that beggar. I am writing this in the Lockholes. I don’t know why I am here – the Shirriffs arrested me this morning. I am sure I haven’t done anything wrong.
I am free once more. Frodo is back from travelling, and Pippin and Merry are the tallest hobbits in the Shire. They wiped out the Men who had come in, and they also went to Bag End. The old man is dead. His name was Sharkey, though Frodo calls him Saruman – he was a wizard, like Gandalf. Wormtongue killed him. Frodo told me that Wormtongue also murdered – murdered – my only, dear son, Lotho. I have not the strength to write any longer. I am back with my sisters at Hardbottle, and Frodo can have Bag End. It brought us nothing but trouble, in the end.
I am leaving the rest of my money to help the hobbits made homeless by the wizard. This is my last entry in this diary.