When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be
celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special
magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.
The next day more carts rolled up the Hill, and still more carts. There
might have been some grumbling about ‘dealing locally’, but that very
week orders began to pour out of Bag End for every kind of provision,
commodity, or luxury that could be obtained in Hobbiton or Bywater or
anywhere in the neighbourhood. People became enthusiastic; and they
began to tick off the days on the calendar; and they watched eagerly for
the postman, hoping for invitations.
Before long the invitations began pouring out, and the Hobbiton
post-office was blocked, and the Bywater post-office was snowed under,
and voluntary assistant postmen were called for. There was a constant
stream of them going up the Hill, carrying hundreds of polite variations
on Thank you, I shall certainly come.
Bilbo was very rich and very peculiar, and had been the wonder of the
Shire for sixty years, ever since his remarkable disappearance and
unexpected return. The riches he had brought back from his travels had
now become a local legend, and it was popularly believed, whatever the
old folk might say, that the Hill at Bag End was full of tunnels stuffed
with treasure. And if that was not enough for fame, there was also his
prolonged vigour to marvel at. Time wore on, but it seemed to have
little effect on Mr. Baggins. At ninety he was much the same as at
fifty. At ninety-nine they began to call him well-preserved, but
unchanged would have been nearer the mark. There were some that shook
their heads and thought this was too much of a good thing; it seemed
unfair that anyone should possess (apparently) perpetual youth as well
as (reputedly) inexhaustible wealth.
- pour out 倒出、倾诉
- Before long 不久之后
- snowed under 忙的不足开交
A notice appeared on the gate at Bag End: NO ADMITTANCE EXCEPT ON PARTY
BUSINESS. Even those who had, or pretended to have Party Business were
seldom allowed inside. Bilbo was busy: writing invitations, ticking off
answers, packing up presents, and making some private preparations of
his own. From the time of Gandalf’s arrival he remained hidden from
One morning the hobbits woke to find the large field, south of Bilbo’s
front door, covered with ropes and poles for tents and pavilions. A
special entrance was cut into the bank leading to the road, and wide
steps and a large white gate were built there. The three hobbit-families
of Bagshot Row, adjoining the field, were intensely interested and
generally envied. Old Gaffer Gamgee stopped even pretending to work in
‘It will have to be paid for,’ they said. ‘It isn’t natural, and trouble
will come of it!’
“ 他会付出代价的，” 他们这么说。“那不自然，会拉动劳动的”。
- no admittance except on business 闲人免进
- ticking off 列举、标出、责备
- From the time of 从…时候起
- cut into 切入、切成
The tents began to go up. There was a specially large pavilion, so big
that the tree that grew in the field was right inside it, and stood
proudly near one end, at the head of the chief table. Lanterns were hung
on all its branches. More promising still (to the hobbits’ mind): an
enormous open-air kitchen was erected in the north corner of the field.
A draught of cooks, from every inn and eating-house for miles around,
arrived to supplement the dwarves and other odd folk that were quartered
at Bag End. Excitement rose to its height.
Then the weather clouded over. That was on Wednesday the eve of the
Party. Anxiety was intense. Then Thursday, September the 22nd, actually
dawned. The sun got up, the clouds vanished, flags were unfurled and the
But so far trouble had not come; and as Mr. Baggins was generous with
his money, most people were willing to forgive him his oddities and his
good fortune. He remained on visiting terms with his relatives (except,
of course, the Sackville-Bagginses), and he had many devoted admirers
among the hobbits of poor and unimportant families. But he had no close
friends, until some of his younger cousins began to grow up.
Bilbo Baggins called it a party, but it was really a variety of
entertainments rolled into one. Practically everybody living near was
invited. A very few were overlooked by accident, but as they turned up
all the same, that did not matter. Many people from other parts of the
Shire were also asked; and there were even a few from outside the
borders. Bilbo met the guests (and additions) at the new white gate in
person. He gave away presents to all and sundry – the latter were those
who went out again by a back way and came in again by the gate. Hobbits
give presents to other people on their own birthdays. Not very expensive
ones, as a rule, and not so lavishly as on this occasion; but it was not
a bad system. Actually in Hobbiton and Bywater every day in the year it
was somebody’s birthday, so that every hobbit in those parts had a fair
chance of at least one present at least once a week. But they never got
tired of them.
The eldest of these, and Bilbo’s favourite, was young Frodo Baggins.
When Bilbo was ninety-nine, he adopted Frodo as his heir, and brought
him to live at Bag End; and the hopes of the Sackville-Bagginses were
finally dashed. Bilbo and Frodo happened to have the same birthday,
‘You had better come and live here, Frodo my lad,’ said Bilbo one day;
‘and then we can celebrate our birthday-parties comfortably together.’
At that time Frodo was still in his tweens, as the hobbits called the
irresponsible twenties between childhood and coming of age at
Twelve more years passed. Each year the Bagginses had given very lively
combined birthday-parties at Bag End; but now it was understood that
something quite exceptional was being planned for that autumn. Bilbo was
going to be eleventy-one, 111, a rather curious number and a very
respectable age for a hobbit (the Old Took himself had only reached
130); and Frodo was going to be thirty-three, 33) an important number:
the date of his ‘coming of age’.
On this occasion the presents were unusually good. The hobbit-children
were so excited that for a while they almost forgot about eating. There
were toys the like of which they had never seen before, all beautiful
and some obviously magical. Many of them had indeed been ordered a year
before, and had come all the way from the Mountain and from Dale, and
were of real dwarf-make.
Tongues began to wag in Hobbiton and Bywater; and rumour of the coming
event travelled all over the Shire. The history and character of Mr.
Bilbo Baggins became once again the chief topic of conversation; and the
older folk suddenly found their reminiscences in welcome demand
No one had a more attentive audience than old Ham Gamgee, commonly known
as the Gaffer. He held forth at The Ivy Bush, a small inn on the Bywater
road; and he spoke with some authority, for he had tended the garden at
Bag End for forty years, and had helped old Holman in the same job
before that. Now that he was himself growing old and stiff in the
joints, the job was mainly carried on by his youngest son, Sam Gamgee.
Both father and son were on very friendly terms with Bilbo and Frodo.
They lived on the Hill itself, in Number 3 Bagshot Row just below Bag
- hold forth 高睨大谈