Very Old Friends

[Gandalf arrives at Bag End]

Gandalf: Whoa, whoa.

Bilbo: No thank you! We don't want any more visitors, well-wishers, or distant relations!

Gandalf: And what about very old friends?

Bilbo: Gandalf?

Gandalf: Bilbo Baggins.

Bilbo: My dear Gandalf!

Gandalf: Good to see you. 111 years old! Who would believe it? You haven't aged a day!

Bilbo: Come on, come in! Welcome, welcome. Oh, here we are. Tea? Or maybe something a little stronger? I've got a few bottles of the Old Wineyard left. 1296. Very good year. Almost as old as I am! It was laid down by my father. Let's say we open one, eh?

Gandalf: Just tea, thank you.

Bilbo: I was expecting you sometime last week. Not that it matters. You come and go as you please. Always have and always will. You caught me a bit unprepared. We've only got cold chicken and a bit of pickle, there's some cheese, that won't do. We've got raspberry jam, an apple tart, but not much for afters. Oh no, we're all right! I've just found some sponge cake. I could make you some eggs if you'd --

Gandalf: Just tea, thank you.

Bilbo: Oh, right. You don't mind if I eat, do you?

Gandalf: Oh no, not at all.

Lobelia Sackville-Baggins: Bilbo! Bilbo Baggins!

Bilbo: I'm not at home! It's the Sackville-Bagginses.

Lobelia: I know you're in there!

Bilbo: They're after the house! They've never forgiven me for living this long! I've got to get away from these confounded relatives, hanging on the bell all day, never giving me a moment's peace. I want to see mountains again, mountains, Gandalf! And then find some place quiet where I can finish my book. Oh, tea.

Gandalf: So you mean to go through with your plan, then?

Bilbo: Yes, yes, it's all in hand. All the arrangements are made. Oh, thank you.

Gandalf: Frodo suspects something.

Bilbo: Course he does. He's a Baggins, not some blockheaded Bracegirdle from Hardbottle.

Gandalf: You will tell him, won't you?

Bilbo: Yes, yes.

Gandalf: He's very fond of you.

Bilbo: I know. He'd probably come with me if I asked him. I think in his heart Frodo's still in love with the Shire. The woods, the fields. Little rivers. I'm old, Gandalf. I know I don't look it, but I'm beginning to feel it in my heart. I feel thin. Sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread. I need a holiday. A very long holiday. And I don't expect I shall return. In fact, I mean not to.

[Later, outside, smoking their pipes]

Bilbo: Old Toby. the finest weed in the Southfarthing. Gandalf, my old friend, this will be a night to remember.