Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin came up to the Prancing Pony at about 8 at night and were freezing cold. They were let in and had registered for rooms and such and were in the tavern drinking their fill when Sam said to Frodo “That chap’s been staring at you all night.” As old Butterbur walked by Frodo got his attention “Who is that man over there, the one on the left?”, for there were two men sitting at the table. “Ah,” Butterbur replied,” around here we call him Strider, one of the Northern Rangers, but I never met the other one sitting there”. And he walked off. After a minute or two, Sam asked for more ale and Frodo went to get some, but slipped, and as he fell, the Ring encircled his finger and he vanished! That caused a small uproar and as Frodo appeared again, he was picked up by the so-called Stider and taken up to the room before even Sam could do anything about it.
“It is one thing to hide, but another to dissappear entirely!” said Strider in a harsh tone to Frodo. “I have no idea of what you speak.” replied Frodo. “Oh, yes, I think you d…” at that instant, Sam, Merry, and Pippin came barging in. ” Don’t you hurt him, or I’ll skin you alive!” yelled Sam. “I doubt it not, Master Samwise” exclaimed Strider ” but I mean you no harm. There are fell creatures about, and I don’t want you all to be slain and all hope ended for Middle-earth”. At this, all hobbits were silent. “You must stay in a different room than this, for the 9 will soon come. Tomorrow at daybreak we will set forth to Rivendell. You all need to get some sleep.” And all the hobbits save for Frodo went to the new room, Frodo asked “Who was the other man with you, and where did he go?” Stider answered “She is going ahead of us to make sure the road is clear.” and he said it exactly so you could not tell if he said ‘he’ or ‘she’, but with that, he left the room, leaving Frodo to his own thoughts.
We return to the forests again. Our hobbit friend has lost all faith and finds the true meaning of apathy by the end of this chapter. He is taken captive by a band of elves and one human. This chapter suggests that some of his past will be revealed soon.