The Adventure of the Golden Ring

I find it recorded in my notebooks for the year 1419 Shire Reckoning that on Mersday, 27 Winterfilth Mr. Frodo Baggins spent the afternoon reclined upon the couch in his dressing gown smoking languidly on his pipeweed thus filling our Bag End digs with the most pungeant fumes.  These fumes, so said Mr. Baggins, prompted such clarity of thought and sharpness of vision that he could scarcely conceive of a time without his daily pipeweed ritual.  For myself, while I had partaken of pipeweed in my younger days in Eastfarthing, I could see little good that came from pipeweed inhalation and frequently opened the windows to our Bag End rooms to welcome in the bracing, unintoxicated airs from the outdoors.

“What say you there, Gamgee?” said Baggins as he shook his pipe at me. “Finding our atmosphere noxious?”

“Noxious?” I ejaculated as I moved to throw open the shutters.  “Intolerable, I should say.  However you can stand the choking atmosphere caused by that ridiculous pipeweed I cannot fathom.”

Baggins laughed.  He stood and set down his pipe.  He strode to his desk and took up an envelope.  “What make you of this,” he asked as he tossed the envelope to me.

I snatched the envelope from mid-air.  The envelope was sealed, and within something of some bulk protruded at the sides.  “It contains an object of some sort,” I replied.

“Yes, but what?  Can you make no guesses?  No inferences?”

I considered the envelope for some moments, prodding at the object within.  Satisfied, I answered, “A ring.  I believe it to contain a ring.”

Baggins clapped his hands together with a mighty start.  “You would be correct,” he exclaimed as an expression of limitless glee crossed his face.  He then crossed the room with much haste, snatched the envelope from my hands, and then flung it into the open hearth.  Flames caught the envelope and it was quickly consumed.

“Baggins!” I cried.  I rushed to the hearth, but Baggins’ hands stayed me.

“Observe, Gamgee,” he said.  He reached into the fire with a poker and withdrew the ring.  He then reached out and took the ring, fresh from the fire, in his bare hands!  I reached out in an attempt to stay Baggins’ foolishness, but Baggins uttered not even a cry.  He opened his hand and showed the ring to me–his hand was not burned, not even reddened.

“Touch the ring, Gamgee.”  I reached out and gingerly touched the ring with my forefinger.  The ring was cool to the touch.

“What manner of trickery is this?” I cried.

Baggins smiled thinly.  “A mystery, I shouldn’t wonder.  One that could well spell danger for us both, Gamgee.”  He clapped his hands to my shoulders.  “Are you of stout heart, old friend?”

“Of course, my dear Baggins.”

“Excellent, Gamgee.  Come, we must await Gandalf, for once he arrives the game’s afoot!”