The Hobbit
J. R. R. Tolkien

J. R. R. Tolkien

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The Hobbit


children’s fantasy

the Inklings

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The Hobbit

There and Back Again

Copyright © 1951, 1966 by George Allen & Unwin Ltd.
Copyright © 1966 by J.R.R. Tolkien

An unexpected party

‘What do you mean?’ he said. ‘Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?’

‘All of them at once,’ said Bilbo. ‘And a very fine morning for a pipe of tobacco out of doors, into the bargain.’

‘We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!’



He suddenly felt he would go without bed and breakfast to be thought fierce.
‘There is a lot more in him than you guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself.’
Roast mutton
Trolls simply detest the very sight of dwarves (uncooked).
A short rest

Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.

His house was perfect, whether you liked food, or sleep, or work, or storytelling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all.
Over hill and under hill
There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something (or so Thorin said to the young dwarves). You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.
Out of the frying-pan into the fire
‘Escaping goblins to be caught by wolves!’ he said, and it became a proverb, though we now say ‘out of the frying-pan into the fire’ in the same sort of uncomfortable situations.
Queer lodgings

‘It was a good story, that of yours,’ said Beorn, ‘but I like it still better now I am sure it is true.’

Inside information
There it is: dwarves are not heroes, but calculating folk with a great idea of the value of money; some are tricky and treacherous and pretty bad lots; some are not, but are decent enough people like Thorin and Company, if you don’t expect too much.



His rage passes description – the sort of rage that is only seen when rich folk that have more than they can enjoy suddenly lose something that they have long had but have never before used or wanted.



This of course is the way to talk to dragons, if you don’t want to reveal your proper name (which is wise), and don’t want to infuriate them by a flat refusal (which is also very wise). No dragon can resist the fascination of riddling talk and of wasting time trying to understand it.



‘Never laugh at live dragons, Bilbo you fool!’ he said to himself, and it became a favorite saying of his later, and passed into a proverb. ‘You aren’t nearly through this adventure yet,’ he added, and that was pretty true as well.

Not at home
(If you want to know what cram is, I can only say that I don’t know the recipe; but it is biscuitish, keeps good indefinitely, is supposed to be sustaining, and is certainly not entertaining, being in fact very uninteresting except as a chewing exercise. It was made by the Lake-men for long journeys.)



The clouds burst

It was a terrible battle. The most dreadful of all Bilbo’s experiences, and the one which at the time he hated most – which is to say it was the one he was most proud of, and most fond of recalling long afterwards, although he was quite unimportant in it.



‘I have heard songs of many battles, and I have always understood that defeat may be glorious. It seems very uncomfortable, not to say distressing. I wish I was well out of it.’
The return journey

There was no call and no echo of song. Sorrow seemed to be in the air.

‘Victory after all, I suppose!’ he said, feeling his aching head. ‘Well, it seems a very gloomy business.’



‘If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.’
The last stage

The stars are far brighter
Than gems without measure,
The moon is far whiter
Than silver in treasure:
The fire is more shining
On hearth in the gloaming
Than gold won by mining,
So why go a-roaming?

It was quite a long time before Mr. Baggins was in fact admitted to be alive again. The people who had got specially good bargains at the Sale took a deal of convincing; and in the end to save time Bilbo had to buy back quite a lot of his own furniture.

‘Surely you don’t disbelieve the prophecies, because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself? You don’t really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!’

‘Thank goodness!’ said Bilbo laughing, and handed him the tobacco-jar.

text checked (see note) Jan 2005

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