The Heir and the Gem - Chapter Two


After they returned to Crickhollow, Pippin became more quiet and secretive than ever. And yet he seemed happy. Merry often heard him singing love songs from Tookland. More than once he came into the kitchen to see Pippin daydreaming. "Could he be in love?" Merry often thought. "Nay," he would always answer. "Pippin is most definately not in love."

Spring came.

"What are you doing?" Merry asked as he walked into Pippin's bedroom.

"Packing," Pippin said as he stuffed more clothes in his bag.

"Where are you going?"

"The North Farthing. Long Cleeve to be precise." He fastened the bag closed. "Done. Merry, would you help me saddle a pony?"

"Why are you going to Long Cleeve?" Merry asked as he set the saddle on Ted.

"A few weeks ago I wrote a letter to Tulip Long Cleeve telling her there was something I needed to talk with her about. She has invited me to her hole."

"What do you want to talk to Tulip Long Cleeve about?"

"It's nothing."

"What! Pippin, I want to know."

Pippin took a deep breath. "I am in love."

"With Tulip Long Cleeve?"

"No, her niece. Diamond."

"Diamond of Long Cleeve? Are you going to start courting her?"

"Hopefully, yes."

"Pip, you don't know her." Pippin's green eyes flared and he quickly got on Ted.

"No Pippin, wait I didn't mean it that way. I'm sorry."

"It's all right, Merry." He got off his pony.

"It shall be lonely here without you."

"I'll be back soon." The cousins hugged.

"Be careful."

"I will." As he rode away, Merry felt a pang of jealousy come into his heart.

********************

"Peregrin!" Tulip exclaimed as she embraced him. "Or should I say Pippin? Come inside, lad."

Tulip Long Cleeve was a tiny creature. Her gray hair was pulled back in a bun. She smoothed her black dress, and motioned for Pippin to sit down.

"Now what is this about, Pippin? You were very close in your letter."

"Tulip, I wish to talk to you about Diamond."

"What about her?"

"I love her."

"Ah," she said. "But Pippin, shouldn't you be talking about this to her father?"

"Well yes, but I felt as though I could talk to you."

"I see." She sat in thought for a few moments. "Pippin, I have an idea. And I think you will like it."

*******************

Diamond set the mail on the table.

"Do we have anything interesting today, my dear?" her father asked.

"We have something from Aunt Tulip!" She opened the envolope. "She's throwing a party."

"Tulip is throwing a party? She has not thrown a party since..." he stopped himself, remembering the death of his wife and baby son.

"Yes, and oh my."

"What is it Diamond?"

"Peregrin Took is the guest of honor! Oh Dad, may I go?"

"When is it?"

"Tomorrow night."

"Yes, I see no reason you cannot." Diamond hugged her father.

"Thank you."

********************

Tulip turned to Pippin. Diamond's reply was in her hand. "She's coming." Pippin smiled.

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