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Section XLIII-Leaving Bree

Strider planned for us to leave Bree before breakfast. I resign myself to whatever he decides. His wisdom far exceeds mine. In fact, it seems to me, I've none at all. I have fallen into one tight spot after another. Try as I might, my understanding does not seem to grow. Every time I find an answer, more questions yet are in the making.

I mull over my possibilities. I could return to the Shire; truth be told there is no choice in that : I cannot. I could stay in Bree; to what purpose? To offer another opportunity -- to those hunting me? Or, I could move on. To where? What do I know of anything outside the Shire? I rack my memory for directions from Bilbo, but the places and names are a jumble without a clear map before me. Even if I had the map, it could not tell me where to go.

I am blessedly yanked from my whirlpool of thoughts with the pleasant prospect of breakfast. We're to be held up a bit here in Bree. With all the ponies gone in last night's ruckus, we find ourselves in a bit of a fix. It seems we need at least one pony to carry our supplies. While that is being sorted out, a meal is in the offing. I am wholly unable to suppress a chuckle at the looks on my friends' faces when they learn we are to have a proper breakfast after all. I suspect that if I could but see it, my face reflects the same relieved expression.

I feel the need, even if only half-heartedly, to attempt to convince Merry, Pippin, and Sam to return to the Shire. They, of course, will have none of it. They aren't leaving me, particularly not in the care of this stranger. I cannot say why I trust Strider, only that I do, even before reading Gandalf's letter. Though my dear friends still do not trust him, even with the letter. I have committed our lives to -- what did he call himself? Aragorn -- on Gandalf's word alone -- no, that's not entirely true. Even had there been no letter, I know I would have gone with this Man. I cannot say why I consider him a friend. The only choice is forward, wherever that may lead, and Strider has offered to guide me.

Leaving Bree, there's a momentary thought to glance back, but what would be the point? To be honest, I am glad to be away from the place. Between my own folly and the Wraiths... Fleetingly, I wonder if I shall ever see the Prancing Pony again. I think I might like to visit it once more, if I could stay there in peace.

With our newly acquired packpony, who by all accounts is in sorry-looking condition, we are on our way. Sam seems to think well enough of the poor beast. What did he name him? Oh, yes. Bill, after his previous owner, a thoroughly unsavory sort by the name of Bill Ferny. I understand Sam managed to bean old Bill Ferny with an apple on our way out of Bree. I would've liked to have seen that.

Ever-practical Sam is still distrustful of Strider, but cannot resist asking the obvious question. "Where is he taking us?"

Strider ignores the fact that the question is not directed to him. "To Rivendell, Master Gamgee."

Sam can barely contain his excitement. "Did you hear that? We're goin' to see the Elves."

For a little while anyway, the excitement is contagious; I feel it as well. Indeed, we are at last going to see the Elves, and I will see Bilbo.