From The Hobbit, Chapter 2, “Roast Mutton” (pp. 38 ff.)
As for Bilbo walking primly towards the red light, I don't suppose even a weasel would have stirred a whisker at it. So, naturally, he got right up to the fire-for fire it was without disturbing anyone. And this is what he saw. Three very large persons sitting round a very large fire of beech-logs. They were toasting mutton on long spits of wood, and licking the gravy off their fingers. There was a fine toothsome smell. Also there was a barrel of good drink at hand, and they were drinking out of jugs. But they were trolls. Obviously trolls. Even Bilbo, in spite of his sheltered life, could see that: from the great heavy faces of them, and their size, and the shape of their legs, not to mention their language, which was not drawing-room fashion at all, at all.
"Mutton yesterday, mutton today, and blimey, if it don't look like mutton again tomorrow," said one of the trolls.
"Never a blinking bit of manflesh have we had for long enough," said a second. "What the 'ell William was a-thinkin' of to bring us into these parts at all, beats me - and the drink runnin' short, what's more," he said jogging the elbow of William, who was taking a pull at his jug.
William choked. "Shut yer mouth!" he said as soon as he could. "Yer can't expect folk to stop here for ever just to be et by you and Bert. You've et a village and a half between yer, since we come down from the mountains. How much more d'yer want? And time's been up our way, when yer'd have said 'thank yer Bill' for a nice bit o' fat valley mutton like what this is." He took a big bite off a sheep's leg he was toasting, and wiped his lips on his sleeve.
. . .[The company discovers the lair where the trolls hid from the daylight]
Then the stone door swung back with one big push, and they all went inside. There were bones on the floor and a nasty smell was in the air; but there was a good deal of food jumbled carelessly on shelves and on the ground, among an untidy litter of plunder, of all sorts from brass buttons to pots full of gold coins standing in a corner. There were lots of clothes, too, hanging on the walls-too small for trolls, I am afraid they belonged to victims-and among them were several swords of various makes, shapes, and sizes. Two caught their eyes particularly, because of their beautiful scabbards and jewelled hilts.
From The Hobbit, Chapter 3, “A Short Rest” (pp. 56 ff.)
Elrond Halfelven inspects the swords discovered in the trolls’ cave.
"Whence did the trolls get them, I wonder?" said Thorin looking at his sword with new interest.
"I could not say," said Elrond, "but one may guess that your trolls had plundered other plunderers, or come on the remnants of old robberies in some hold in the mountains of the North. I have heard that there are still forgotten treasures of old to be found in the deserted caverns of the mines of Moria, since the dwarf and goblin war."
From The Hobbit, Chapter 15, “The Gathering of the Clouds” (pp. 267 ff.)
The armies of the Elves and Lakemen discover that Thorin has barricaded the entrance to the mountain.
Again Thorin hailed them in a loud voice: "Who are you that come armed for war to the gates of Thorin son of Thrain, King under the Mountain?" This time he was answered.
A tall man stood forward, dark of hair and grim of face, and he cried: "Hail Thorin! Why do you fence yourself like a robber in his hold? We are not yet foes, and we rejoice that you are alive beyond our hope.
From The Fellowship of the Ring, I, Chapter 10, “Strider” (pp. 175 ff.)
[Strider:] “And there are some folk in Bree who are not to be trusted,” he went on. “Bill Ferny, for instance. He has an evil name in the Bree-land, and queer folk call at his house. You must have noticed him among the company: a swarthy sneering fellow. He was very close with one of the Southern strangers, and they slipped out together just after your ‘accident’. Not all of those Southerners mean well; and as for Ferny, he would sell anything to anybody; or make mischief for amusement.”
From The Fellowship of the Ring, I, Chapter 11, “A Knife in the Dark” (pp. 188 ff.)
Over the hedge another man was staring boldly. He had heavy black brows, and dark scornful eyes; his large mouth curled in a sneer. He was smoking a short black pipe. As they approached he took it out of his mouth and spat.
'Morning, Longshanks!” he said. “Off early? Found some friends at last?' Strider nodded, but did not answer. “Morning, my little friends!” he said to the others. “I suppose you know who you've taken up with? That's Stick-at-naught Strider, that is! Though I've heard other names not so pretty. Watch out tonight! And you, Sammie, don't go ill-treating my poor old pony! Pah!” He spat again.
[Strider:] “Bill Ferny will have watched where we left the Road, for certain,” he said; “though I don't think he will follow us himself. He knows the land round here well enough, but he knows he is not a match for me in a wood.”
From The Return of the King, VI, Chapter 7, “Homeward Bound” (pp. 268 ff.)
Business was not even fair, it was downright bad. 'No one comes nigh Bree now from Outside,' [Butterbur] said. 'And the inside folks, they stay at home mostly and keep their doors barred. It all comes of those newcomers and gangrels that began coming up the Greenway last year, as you may remember; but more came later. Some were just poor bodies running away from trouble; but most were bad men, full o' thievery and mischief. And there was trouble right here in Bree, bad trouble. Why, we had a real set-to, and there were some folk killed, killed dead! If you'll believe me.'
'I will indeed,' said Gandalf. 'How many?'
'Three and two,' said Butterbur, referring to the big folk and the little. 'There was poor Mat Heathertoes, and Rowlie Appledore, and little Tom Pickthorn from over the Hill; and Willie Banks from up-away, and one of the Underhills from Staddle: all good fellows, and they're missed. And Harry Goatleaf that used to be on the West-gate, and that Bill Ferny, they came in on the strangers' side, and they've gone off with them; and it's my belief they let them in. On the night of the fight, I mean. And that was after we showed them the gates and pushed them out: before the year's end, that was; and the fight was early in the New Year, after the heavy snow we had.
'And now they're gone for robbers and live outside, hiding in the woods beyond Archet, and out in the wilds north-away. It's like a bit of the bad old times tales tell of, I say. It isn't safe on the road and nobody goes far, and folk lock up early. We have to keep watchers all round the fence and put a lot of men on the gates at nights.'
From The Return of the King, VI, Chapter 8, “The Scouring of the Shire” (pp. 277 ff.)
Out of the bigger house on the right a large heavy figure appeared against a light in the doorway.
'What's all this,' he snarled as he came forward. 'Gate-breaking? You clear out, or I'll break your filthy little necks!' Then he stopped, for he had caught the gleam of swords.
'Bill Ferny,' said Merry, 'if you don't open that gate in ten seconds, you'll regret it. I shall set steel to you, if you don't obey. And when you have opened the gates you will go through them and never return. You are a ruffian and a highway-robber.'
Bill Ferny flinched and shuffled to the gate and unlocked it. 'Give me the key!' said Merry. But the ruffian flung it at his head and then darted out into the darkness. As he passed the ponies one of them let fly with his heels and just caught him as he ran. He went off with a yelp into the night and was never heard of again.
. . .[The hobbits defeat the first band of ruffians that opposes them]
'No,' said Pippin. 'It won't be so easy scaring them a second time. They were taken by surprise. You heard that horn-blowing? Evidently there are other ruffians near at hand. They'll be much bolder when there's more of them together. We ought to think of taking cover somewhere for the night. After all we're only four, even if we are armed.'
'I've an idea,' said Sam. 'Let's go to old Tom Cotton's down South Lane! He always was a stout fellow. And he has a lot of lads that were all friends of mine.'
'No!' said Merry. 'It's no good "getting under cover". That is just what people have been doing, and just what these ruffians like. They will simply come down on us in force, corner us, and then drive us out, or burn us in. No, we have got to do something at once.'
'Do what?' said Pippin.
'Raise the Shire!' said Merry. 'Now! Wake all our people! They hate all this, you can see: all of them except perhaps one or two rascals, and a few fools that want to be important, but don't at all understand what is really going on. But Shire-folk have been so comfortable so long they don't know what to do. They just want a match, though, and they'll go up in fire. The Chief's Men must know that. They'll try to stamp on us and put us out quick. We've only got a very short time.
From The Two Towers, IV, Chapter 10, “The Choices of Master Samwise” (pp. 337 ff.)
[Gorbag:] …I tell you, it's no game serving down in the city.'
`You should try being up here with Shelob for company,' said Shagrat.
'I'd like to try somewhere where there's none of 'em. But the war's on now, and when that's over things may be easier.'
`It's going well, they say.'
'They would,' grunted Gorbag. `We'll see. But anyway, if it does go well, there should be a lot more room. What d'you say? - if we get a chance, you and me'll slip off and set up somewhere on our own with a few trusty lads, somewhere where there's good loot nice and handy, and no big bosses.'
'Ah! ' said Shagrat. `Like old times.'
From The Two Towers, III, Chapter 3, “The Uruk-Hai” (pp. 47 ff.)
[Moria Orc leader:] 'Maybe, maybe! Then you'll fly off with our prisoners, and get all the pay and praise in Lugbúrz, and leave us to foot it as best we can through the Horse-country. No, we must stick together. These lands are dangerous: full of foul rebels and brigands.'
From The Two Towers, III, Chapter 10, “The Voice of Saruman” (pp. 181 ff.)
[Saruman:] 'Gibbets and crows!' he hissed, and they shuddered at the hideous change. 'Dotard! What is the house of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll on the floor among the dogs? Too long have they escaped the gibbet themselves. But the noose comes, slow in the drawing, tight and hard in the end. Hang if you will!'
From The Return of the King, V, Chapter 10, “The Black Gate Opens” (pp. 159 ff.)
[Mouth of Sauron:] 'Is there anyone in this rout with authority to treat with me?' he asked. 'Or indeed with wit to understand me? Not thou at least!' he mocked, turning to Aragorn with scorn. 'It needs more to make a king than a piece of elvish glass, or a rabble such as this. Why, any brigand of the hills can show as good a following!'