The Treason of Isengard

Free The Treason of Isengard by J. R. R. Tolkien

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Authors: J. R. R. Tolkien
reference, though very clearly crossed out in the manuscript, was reinstated, and so appears in FR (p. 172), but quite anomalously, since all the references to his presence at the inn up to this point had been removed.

    Chapter X: 'At the Sign of the Prancing Pony (ii).
    All that is gold does not glitter'.

    In the 'blue version' recasting of the 'third phase' narrative, or 'A', the story of Trotter's 'eavesdropping' beside the Road reaches the final form, in association with the new ending to Chapter VIII (p. 37): he hears the hobbits talking with Bombadil, and Frodo declaring that he is to be called 'Mr Green' (for the previous story, in which Trotter overheard Gandalf and Odo talking, see VI.337). After Trotter's 'I should advise him and his friends to be more careful what they say and do' (FR p. 176) there follows in A:

    'I have not "left my name behind", as you put it,' said Frodo stiffly. 'My reason for taking another here is my own affair. I do not see why my real name should interest anyone in Bree; and I have still to learn why it interests you. Mr Trotter may have an honest reason for spying and eavesdropping; but if so I should advise him to explain it!'
    'That's the line to take! ' laughed Trotter. 'But you wait till old Butterbur has had his private word with you - you'll soon find out how your real name could be guessed, and why it may be interesting in Bree. As for myself: I was looking for Mr Frodo Baggins, because I had been told to look for him. And I have already given you hints, which you have understood well enough, that I know about the secret you are carrying.'
    'Don't be alarmed!' he cried, as Frodo half rose from his seat, and Sam scowled. 'I shall take more care of the secret than you do. But now I had better tell you some more about myself.'

    At that moment he was interrupted by a knock at the door.

    Mr Butterbur was there with a tray of candles...

    Butterbur now has only news of the Black Riders to communicate.
    The story he tells is as before (VI.338-40), but the first Rider passed through Bree on the Tuesday, not the Monday, preceding, three not four of them came to the inn-door, and of course he does not refer to Gandalf and 'Baggins' (Odo) having gone off eastwards. The conversation continues:

    ' "Baggins!" said I. "If you are looking for hobbits of that name, you'd best look in the Shire. There are none in Bree. The last time one of that name came here was nigh on a score of years back.(3) Mr Bilbo Baggins he was, as disappeared out of Hobbiton: he went off East long enough ago.
    'At that name he drew in his breath and sat up. Then he stooped at me again. "But there is also Frodo Baggins," said he,(4) in a whisper like a knife. "Is he here? Has he been? Do not lie to us!"
    'I was all of a twitter, I can tell you; but I was angry as well.
    "No is the answer," said I; "and you'll get no lies here, so you'd best be civil. If you have any message for any party, you may leave it, and I'll look out for them." "The message is wait," said he. "We may return." And with that the three of them turned their horses and rode off into the fog. Now, Mr Green, what do you say to that?'
    'But they asked for Baggins, you say, not Green,' said Frodo warily.
    'Ah!' said the landlord with a knowing wink. 'But they wanted news of hobbits out of the Shire, and such a party doesn't come here often. It would be queer, if there were two different parties. And as for Baggins: I've heard that name before. Mr Bilbo was here more than once, in my dad's time and mine; and some funny tales have come out of the Shire since he went off: vanished with a bang while he was speaking, they say.
    Not that I believe all the tales that come out of the West - but here you go vanishing in the middle of a song by all accounts, right in my house. And when I have time to scratch my head and think, I remember noticing your friends call you Frodo, and I begin to wonder if Baggins should not come next. "Maybe those black men were right,"

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