Bilbo makes a farewell speech at his party
Event Type: General
Age: 3rd Age - The Stewards
Date: September 22, 3001
An event in Bilbo's Farewell Party; see that entry for an overview:
All the one hundred and forty-four guests expected a pleasant feast; though they rather dreaded the after-dinner speech of their host.... He was liable to drag in bits of what he called poetry; and sometimes, after a glass or two, would allude to the absurd adventures of his mysterious journey....
After the feast... came the Speech. Most of the company were, however, now in a tolerant mood, at that delightful stage which they called 'filling up the corners'....
My dear People, began Bilbo.... Bilbo left his place and went and stood on a chair under the illuminated tree. The light of the lanterns fell on his beaming face.... They could all see him standing, waving one hand in the air, the other was in his trouser-pocket.
My dear Bagginses and Boffins, he began again; and my dear Tooks and Brandybucks, and Grubbs, and Chubbs, and Burrowses, and Hornblowers, and Bolgers, Bracegirdles, Goodbodies, Brockhouses and Proudfoots. 'ProudFEET!' shouted an elderly hobbit from the back of the pavilion....
Proudfoots, repeated Bilbo. Also my good Sackville-Bagginses that I welcome back at last to Bag End. Today is my one hundred and eleventh birthday: I am eleventy-one today! 'Hurray! Hurray! Many Happy Returns!' they shouted.... This was the sort of stuff they liked: short and obvious.
I hope you are all enjoying yourselves as much as I am. Deafening cheers.... Cries of Yes (and No). Noises of trumpets and horns.... Indeed, in one corner some of the young Tooks and Brandybucks, supposing Uncle Bilbo to have finished (since he had plainly said all that was necessary), now... began a merry dance-tune. Master Everard Took and Miss Melilot Brandybuck got on a table and with bells in their hands began to dance the Springle-ring: a pretty dance, but rather vigorous.
But Bilbo had not finished. Seizing a horn from a youngster near by, he blew three loud hoots.... I shall not keep you long, he cried. Cheers from all the assembly. I have called you all together for a Purpose..... There was almost silence....
Indeed, for Three Purposes! First of all, to tell you that I am immensely fond of you all, and that eleventy-one years is too short a time to live among such excellent and admirable hobbits. Tremendous outburst of approval.
I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.... There was some scattered clapping, but most of them were trying to work it out and see if it came to a compliment.
Secondly, to celebrate my birthday. Cheers again. I should say: OUR birthday. For it is, of course, also the birthday of my heir and nephew, Frodo. He comes of age and into his inheritance today. Some perfunctory clapping by the elders.... Together we score one hundred and forty-four. Your numbers were chosen to fit this remarkable total: One Gross, if I may use the expression. No cheers.... Many of his guests, and especially the Sackville-Bagginses, were insulted, feeling sure they had only been asked to fill up the required number....
It is also, if I may be allowed to refer to ancient history, the anniversary of my arrival by barrel at Esgaroth on the Long Lake; though the fact that it was my birthday slipped my memory on that occasion. I was only fifty-one then, and birthdays did not seem so important. The banquet was very splendid, however, though I had a bad cold at the time, I remember, and could only say 'thag you very buch'. I now repeat it more correctly: Thank you very much for coming to my little party. Obstinate silence.... Why couldn't he stop talking and let them drink his health? But Bilbo... paused for a moment.
Thirdly and finally, he said, I wish to make an ANNOUNCEMENT. He spoke this last word so loudly and suddenly that everyone sat up who still could. I regret to announce that — though, as I said, eleventy-one years is far too short a time to spend among you — this is the END. I am going. I am leaving NOW. GOOD-BYE!
The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 1, A Long-expected Party
Elena Tiriel 29Jul07