From "Tolkien: A Cultural Phenomenon" (2003) by Brian Rosebury
This text is reproduced exclusively for the purposes of discussion on The One Ring.net.
The village of
Bree had some hundred stone houses of the Big Folk, mostly above the Road,
nestling on the hill-side with windows looking
west. On that side, running in more than half a circle from the hill and back to it, there was a deep dike with a thick hedge on the inner side.
[page 16] Over this the Road passed by a causeway; but where it pierced the hedge it was barred by a great gate. There was another gate in the
southern corner where the Road ran out of the village. The gates were closed at nightfall; but just inside them were small lodges for gatekeepers.
Down on the Road, where it swept to the right to go round the foot of the hill, there was a large inn.
hobbits rode on up a gentle slope, passing a few detached houses, and drew up
outside the inn. The houses looked dark and strange to
them. Sam stared up at the inn with its three storeys and many windows, and felt his heart sink. He had imagined himself meeting giants taller than
trees, and other creatures even more terrifying, some time or other in the course of his journey; but at the moment he was finding his first sight of
Men and their tall houses quite enough, indeed too much at the end of a tiring day. He pictured black horses standing all saddled in the shadows
of the inn-yard, and Black Riders peering out of dark upper windows.
aren’t going to stay here for the night, are we, sir?’ he exclaimed. ‘If there
are hobbit-folk in these parts, why don’t we look for some
that would be willing to take us in? It would be more homelike.’
‘What’s wrong with the inn?’ said Frodo. ‘Tom Bombadil recommended it. I expect it’s homelike enough inside.’
Even from the
outside the inn looked a pleasant house to familiar eyes. It had a front on the
Road, and two wings running back on land partly cut
out of the lower slopes of the hill, so that at the rear the second-floor windows were level with the ground. There was a wide arch leading to a
courtyard between the two wings, and on the left under the arch, there was a lamp, and beneath it swung a large signboard: a fat white pony reared
up on its hind legs. Over the door was painted in white letters: THE PRANCING PONY by BARLIMAN BUTTERBUR. Many of the lower
windows showed lights behind thick curtains.
hesitated outside in the gloom, someone began singing a merry song inside, and
many cheerful voices joined loudly in the chorus. They
listened to this encouraging sound for a moment and then got off their ponies. The song ended and there was a burst of laughter and clapping.
They led their
ponies under the arch, and leaving them standing in the yard they climbed up the
steps. Frodo went forward and nearly humped into
a short fat man with a bald head and a red face. He had a white apron on, and was bustling out of one door and in through another, carrying a tray
laden with mugs.
[page 17] ‘Can we - ’ began Frodo.
a minute, if you please!’ shouted the man over his shoulder, and vanished into a
babel of voices and a cloud of smoke. In a moment he was
out again, wiping his hands on his apron.
‘Good evening, little master!’ he said, bending down. ‘What may you be wanting?’
‘Beds for four, and stabling for five ponies, if that can be managed. Are you Mr Butterbur?’
‘That’s right! Barliman is my name.’ (FR, 162, 164-5) (bold identifies the example of style that Rosebury discusses on his page 20.)