«Now we are all here!» said Gandalf, looking at the row of thirteen hoods hanging on the pegs. «I hope there is something to eat and drink! What’s that? Tea! No thank you! A little red wine, I think, for me.»
«And for me,» said Thorin.
«And raspberry jam and apple-pie,» said Bifur.
«And some cheese,» said Bofur.
«And pork-pie and salad,» said Bombur.
«And more cakes, if you don’t mind,» called the other dwarves.
«And bring out a few eggs, the cold chicken and pickles!» Gandalf called after him, as the hobbit went to the pantries.
«They know as much about my pantries as I do myself!» thought Mr Baggins, who was feeling really confused. By the time he had got all the bottles and dishes and knives and forks and glasses and plates and spoons and things piled up on big trays, he was getting very hot, and red in the face, and annoyed.
Gandalf sat at the head of the party with the thirteen dwarves, and Bilbo sat on a stool at the fireside. The dwarves ate and ate, and talked and talked, and time went on. At last they pushed their chairs back, and Bilbo made a move to collect the plates and glasses. «I suppose you will all stay to supper?» he said very politely.
«Of course!» said Thorin. «And after. We will not finish the business till late, and we must have some music first. Now let’s clear up!» And the dwarves jumped to their feet and made tall piles of all the things. They went off and the hobbit ran after them almost crying with fright: «please be careful!» But the dwarves only started to sing:
«Break the glasses and the plates!
That’s what Bilbo Baggins hates —
Pour the milk right on the floor!
Splash the wine on every door!»
But of course they didn’t do that, and everything was cleaned very quickly, while the hobbit was turning round and round in the middle of the kitchen trying to see what they were doing. Then they went back. «Now bring out the instruments!» said Thorin.
Kili and Fili brought little fiddles; Dori, Nori, and Ori took out flutes from their coats; Bombur brought a drum from the hall; Bifur and Bofur brought clarinets; Dwalin and Balin brought big viols and Thorin’s harp. It was a beautiful golden harp, and when Thorin touched it, the music began suddenly, and it was so sweet that Bilbo forgot everything else. Soon the dark came into the room, but they continued playing. And suddenly first one and then another began to sing, and this is a fragment of their song:
«Far over the misty mountains cold
To dark deep caves and caverns old
We go away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold.
For ancient king and elvish lord
A lot of things of shiny gold
The dwarves produced, and light they caught
To hide in gems on hilt of sword.»
And then the song told the story of a dragon that came and burned down the woods on the mountain, killed a lot of dwarves and took their treasures. The hymn was heroic and its last words were:
«We go away, ere break of day,
To win our harps and gold from him!»
As they sang the hobbit felt the love of beautiful things made by hands and by magic, and he felt the desire of the hearts of dwarves. Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick. He got up in excitement. Suddenly he found that the music and the singing had stopped, and they were all looking at him with eyes shining in the dark.
«Where are you going?» said Thorin.
«What about a little light?» said Bilbo feeling sorry.
«We like the dark,» said the dwarves. «Dark for dark business!»
«Of course!» said Bilbo, and sat down in a hurry.
And then Gandalf said, «Let Thorin speak!»
So Thorin said, «Gandalf, dwarves and Mr Baggins! We are here to discuss our plans. Before the dawn we will start our long and really dangerous journey. And I suppose I have to explain something before.» But he was interrupted. Poor Bilbo couldn’t hear it any longer. When he heard «really dangerous journey», he began to feel something coming up inside, and very soon he made a sound like the whistle of an engine coming out of a tunnel. Then he fell on the floor and screamed «struck by lightning!» So the dwarves took him and laid him on the sofa with a drink at his elbow, and then they went back to their dark business.
«He is an excitable little fellow,» said Gandalf, as they sat down again, «but one of the best — as fierce as a dragon.»
Meanwhile, after a drink, Bilbo crept nervously to the door of the room. He heard Gloin speaking: «Are you sure of him? Maybe Gandalf is right, and this hobbit can be fierce, but one scream like that in a moment of excitement would be enough to wake the dragon and all his relatives, and kill many of us. I think he was frightened but not excited! He looks more like a grocer — than a burglar!»
Then Mr Baggins opened the door and went in. The Took side had won, though many times afterwards the Baggins part regretted it.
«Pardon me,» he said, «I don’t know why you mentioned burglars, but as far as I understand, you think I am no good. I will show you. Tell me what you want, and I will try it, if I have to walk far away and fight the wild beasts.»