The Nosey Hobbit. Fireworks in the Shire

The Hobbit Collective sends out its seasoned social sleuth, Avellana Addlefoot, to delve into a story that has caused an uproar from Michel Delving to Hobbiton! Avellana interviews some local folk, including the woman at the center of the scandal: Lobelia Sackville-Baggins.

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There have been rumours around Michel Delving of a feud between mayor Will ‘Flourdumpling’ Whitfoot and Lobelia Sackville-Baggins. This seems to be supported by the mutterings I hear from the mayor and his assistant when I quietly approach them. I distinctly hear the names ‘Lobelia,’ ‘Lotho,’ and ‘Mundo,’ as well as mentions of money and “that nuisance of a family.” I’m on the right track!

However, when I finally speak to the mayor, he’s tight-lipped about the whole affair. He will only say that the negotiations to settle the fallout from Mundo’s kidnapping are private (kidnapping!!???), and that he is not involved in Lobelia’s latest tantrum, which actually includes the respected Tuckborough fireworks maker, Hyacinth Took. That, he assures me, was the real reason the Westfarthing is awash with gossip.

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So I hop onto my pony and ride east; Tuckborough seems like a good place to start. On the road, I can already see signs of discontent with the Sackville-Bagginses; a gentlehobbit in Waymeet has a strong opinion about Lobelia’s latest antics:

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More curious than ever, I make my way up the steep road to Tuckborough, where I find Hyacinth Took standing outside her fireworks shop. This is what she has to say:

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Avellana: Ms Took, how would you describe Lobelia Sackville-Baggins?

Hyacinth: She’s (here, her face contorts... it’s quite frightening to watch, actually)... She’s... aaargghhhggrmph!

Avellana: Would you say that she’s a difficult customer then? I’ve been told that you’re making some fireworks for a very special party she’s hosting.

Hyacinth: She... can’t... make... up... her... MIND!!!! And she wants it all NOW NOW NOW!!! And I’m missing ingredients! And a cart was stolen! And... and... {here she seems reduced to unintelligible whimpering).

Avellana: Um... anything I can do? (There must be some way to make her talk!)

Hyacinth: (She finally dries her tears, honks noisily into her flowered handkerchief, and looks up). Well, actually....

Back down the hill. Hyacinth has entrusted me to carry out the transaction with Lobelia herself! Now I should get to the bottom of what we can justifiably call ‘the Lobelia effect.’

But first, a stop at the Ivy Bush Inn, purveyor of Hobbiton-Bywater’s finest ales and distributor of the Shire-famous Hornblower pies! The Ivy Bush Inn is a proud sponsor of The Nosey Hobbit.

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Up the Hill...

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... and I decide to make a stop at the Party Tree, to have a look at the preparations for Lobelia’s mysterious feast. Neither the Planner nor the workers will answer my questions, but I can guess their mood by the way they carelessly toss the tables and benches onto the green, and by the frayed edges of the Planner’s notebook.

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I decide to make one more visit before hitting Bag End, and ride back down to Bagshot Row, where respected gardener Gaffer Gamgee is tending a small vegetable patch. He, too, refuses to say much about Lobelia, mentioning only his “beloved Bagginses” and “the end of happiness as I knows it.” He does, however, give me a lovely apple pie (although I did have to pick the apples for it myself!).

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So off I go, back up the Hill. And here I am finally, at Bag End.

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Lobelia is, conveniently, outside the house, talking with her son Lotho. Well... talking is not the right word, as I soon discover. I’d say haranguing, or tormenting. But then, this is what I now must assume passes for a conversation with Lobelia.

I try to catch a few words from a distance...

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... but Lobelia has an eagle’s eye! She imperiously beckons me over, and I figure this is as good a time as any for an interview. She could look a bit friendlier, I suppose, but here goes

Avellana: So, Lobelia-

Lobelia: MRS. SACKVILLE-BAGGINS!!!

Avellana: Mrs. Sackville-Baggins...

Lobelia: Who are you? Are you here with the money? The fireworks? Or are you one of those good-for-nothing hobbits who still think there’s a treasure trove in my cellar? I assure you, I’ve checked, and-

Avellana: The fireworks! I’m here about the fireworks! So, Mrs. Sackville-Baggins, rumour has it that you’re hosting-

Lobelia: I’m hosting the biggest party Hobbiton has ever seen! Where are my fireworks?

Avellana: Well, I spoke to Hyacinth Took, and she tells me that-

Lobelia: Hyacinth Took? Did she give you the fireworks, lass?

Avellana: Well, no, but...

Lobelia: THEN WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE, IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE FIREWORKS??? THE PARTY IS TOMORROW!!!

Avellana: Well, I was just wondering...

Lobelia: WONDERING??!!! Wandering is more like it! You get yourself back to [NAME] and tell her that I need those fireworks TODAY!!!

Avellana: But I-

Lobelia: NOW! GO!

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Forgive me, dear reader, for not having a better ending to this story. There are these fireworks to put together, you see, and it seems that I’m now in Lobelia’s service.

I’ll do better next time!

Avellana Addlefoot, Nosey Hobbit

2 comments:

Orchida said...

*tsk* *tsk* Those Sackville-Baggins's are always causing trouble!

Bluella Bumblefoot said...

Aren't they though! Poor Avellana. Better luck next time!

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