The Hobbit

The Hobbit by J RR Tolkien

Book: The Hobbit by J RR Tolkien Read Free Book Online
Authors: J RR Tolkien
Tags: sf_epic
taking no notice of him, cursing and whispering as he ran. What could it mean? Gollum could see in the dark. Bilbo could see the light of his eyes palely shining even from behind. Painfully he got up, and sheathed his sword, which was now glowing faintly again, then very cautiously he followed. There seemed nothing else to do. It was no good crawling back down to Gollums water. Perhaps if he followed him, Gollum might lead him to some way of escape without meaning to.
    Curse it! curse it! curse it! hissed Gollum. Curse the Baggins! Its gone! What has it got in its pocketses? Oh we guess, we guess, my precious. Hes found it, yes he must have. My birthday-present. Bilbo pricked up his ears. He was at last beginning to guess himself. H^ hurried a little, getting as close as he dared behind Gollum, who was still going quickly, not looking back, but turning his head from side to side, as Bilbo could see from the faint glimmer on the walls.
    My birthday-present! Curse it! How did we lose it, my precious? Yes, thats it. When we came this way last, when we twisted that nassty young squeaker. Thats it. Curse it! It slipped from us, after all these ages and ages! Its gone, gollum.
    Suddenly Gollum sat down and began to weep, a whistling and gurgling sound horrible to listen to. Bilbo halted and flattened himself against the tunnel-wall. After a while Gollum stopped weeping and began to talk. He seemed to be having an argument with himself.
    Its no good going back there to search, no. We doesnt remember all the places weve visited. And its no use. The Baggins has got it in its pocketses; the nassty noser has found it, we says.
    We guesses, precious, only guesses. We cant know till we find the nassty creature and squeezes it. But it doesnt know what the present can do, does it? Itll just keep it in its pocketses. It doesnt know, and it cant go far. Its lost itself, the nassty nosey thing. It doesnt know the way out It said so.
    It said so, yes; but its tricksy. It doesnt say what it means. It wont say what its got in its pocketses. It knows. It knows a way in, it must know a way out, yes. Its off to the back-door. To the back-door, thats it.
    The goblinses will catch it then. It cant get out that way, precious. Ssss, sss, gollum! Goblinses! Yes, but if its got the present, our precious present, then goblinses will get it, gollum! Theyll find it, theyll find out what it does. We shant ever be safe again, never, gollum! One of the goblinses will put it on, and then no one will see him. Hell be there but not seen. Not even our clever eyeses will notice him; and hell come creepsy and tricksy and catch us, gollum, gollum!
    Then lets stop talking, precious, and make haste. If the Baggins has gone that way, we must go quick and see. Go! Not far now. Make haste! With a spring Gollum got up and started shambling off at a great pace. Bilbo hurried after him, still cautiously, though his chief fear now was of tripping on another snag and falling with a noise. His head was in a whirl of hope and wonder. It seemed that the ring he had was a magic ring: it made you invisible! He had heard of such things, of course, in old old tales; but it was hard to believe that he really had found one, by accident. Still there it was: Gollum with his bright eyes had passed him by, only a yard to one side. On they went, Gollum flip-flapping ahead, hissing and cursing; Bilbo behind going as softly as a hobbit can. Soon they came to places where, as Bilbo had noticed on the way down, side-passages opened, this way and that. Gollum began at once to count them.
    One left, yes. One right, yes. Two right, yes, yes. Two left, yes, yes. And so on and on.
    As the count grew he slowed down, and he began to get shaky and weepy; for he was leaving the water further and further behind, and he was getting afraid. Goblins might be about, and he had lost his ring. At last he stopped by a low opening, on their left as they went up.
    Seven right, yes. Six left, yes! he whispered. This

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