A Place for Gandalf by Dreamflower

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Trewsday, 29 Solmath, S.R. 1389

Bilbo looked at the letter that had just arrived in the post, feeling quite excited at the sight of the simple “G” rune with which it was sealed, and the old-fashioned hand in which it was addressed. Gandalf was an infrequent correspondent, and his letters always a treat for the old hobbit.

He put it into his jacket pocket, and went into the kitchen to fix himself a cup of tea, and maybe a sandwich, so he could enjoy the letter at his leisure. It was a bit late for elevenses, but it was early for luncheon. Maybe a bit of seedcake to go with the sandwich, and a little cheese--

A short while later, he sat, the remains of his meal before him, thoughtfully tapping the letter against the tabletop. Perhaps it was time to put into motion a plan he had been considering for quite some time. He got up and stuck his head out the kitchen door. He could see his gardener busily turning under the winter mulch, in preparation for spring planting in a few weeks.

“Master Hamfast!” he called.

“Yes, Mr. Bilbo?” The Gaffer put down his spading fork and turned to see what his master wanted.

“I’m thinking of doing some renovations to Bag End, and I was wondering if you might know of someone reliable to oversee the work for me.”

“Aye, Mr. Bilbo. My Bell’s brother, Halfred, what we named our second lad for, he’s done work of that sort before; and right well, though he is family, and I say it as shouldn’t.”

“Well, if it is true, Master Hamfast, then you should indeed say it. Having a high opinion of your Bell, I am sure to have quite a high opinion of her brother as well. If you would, ask him to stop round tomorrow, so that I can tell him what I have in mind. And before you leave today, I’ll have a letter for you to drop at the Post Office for me, if you don’t mind.”

Bilbo went back in humming a little tune he had been fond of since his travels long ago. It was unusual for Gandalf to let him know in advance when he was planning to visit. Usually the wizard simply turned up without a by-your-leave.

But perhaps because he was bringing Balin with him this time, he had written to say they would come by in the spring. Perhaps Gandalf remembered how Bilbo felt about unannounced Dwarves from the last time. Well, it was high time for a visit. It must be three years at least since the last one.

Now, for that letter to Bree.

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