I don't know how to say it, but after last night I feel different. I seem to see ahead, in a kind of way. I know we are going to take a very long road, into darkness; but I know I can't turn back. It isn't right to see Elves now, nor dragons, nor mountains, that I want - I don't rightly know what I want: but I have something to do before the end, and it lies ahead, not in the Shire. I must see it through, sir, if you understand me.
I sit beside the fire and think of all that i have seen of meadow flowers and butterflies in summers that have been of yellow leaves and gossamer in autumns that there were with morning mist and silver sun and wind upon my hair. I sit beside the fire and think of how the world will be when winter comes without a spring that I shall ever see. For still there are so many things that I have never seen in every wood in every spring there is a different green. I sit beside the fire and think of people long ago and people that will see a world that i shall never know. But all the while I sit and think of times there were before I listen for returning feet and voices at the door.
Eomer said, How is a man to judge what to do in such times? As he has ever judged, said Aragorn. Good and evil have not changed since yesteryear, nor are they one thing among Elves and another among Men. It is a man?s part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.
I had no desire to have either dreams or adventures like Alice, and the amount of them merely amused me. I had very little desire to look for buried treasure or fight pirates, and Treasure Island left me cool. Red Indians were better: there were bows and arrows (I had and have a wholly unsatisfied desire to shoot well with a bow), and strange languages, and glimpses of an archaic mode of life, and, above all, forests in such stories. But the land of Merlin and Arthur was better than these, and best of all the nameless North of Sigurd of the V”lsungs, and the prince of all dragons. Such lands were pre-eminently desirable.
I knew that danger lay ahead, of course; but I did not expect to meet it in our own Shire. Can't a hobbit walk from the Water to the River in peace? But it is not your own Shire, said Gildor. Others dwelt here before hobbits were; and others will dwell here again when hobbits are no more. The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot forever fence it out.