Merry seized his hand and kissed it. ‘I am frightfully sorry,’ he said. ‘Go at once! Ever since that night at Bree we have been a nuisance to you. But it is the way of my people to use light words at such times and say less than they mean. We fear to say too much. It robs us of the right words when a jest is out of place.’

‘I know that well, or I would not deal with you in the same way ‘ said Aragorn. ‘May the Shire live for ever unwithered!’ And kissing Merry he went out, and Gandalf went with him.

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