Yes, our Gandalf will be wed also! I am so thrilled…and just a bit put-out.
His hesitancy is as I thought, he was going to wait until I was gone to speak, he told me as Anemone and Ríannor looked over the drawing at the terrace table, the little girls, Fëariel included, hovering close by…and the big-brotherly advice I had been contemplating giving her as to how to get back into the good graces of her friends seemed unnecessary now.
Lyrien ran to us all in a flutter to show us the bridesmaid’s gown Anemone had designed for her—it had both shades of blue in it, as she quickly pointed out, the bodice of the dusky violet-blue, the skirt and sleeves of the lighter shade and a little overlay with much embroidery on it. She asked for my approval on it and I said as far as I was concerned, it was perfect.
“The embroidery will be in silver,” she informed me with great importance. “Won’t that be simply elegant?”
“Very elegant,” I said as Gandalf chuckled over the other word she had recently incorporated into her vocabulary, while I merely felt relieved and happy that she seemed so excited about the wedding now. “But won’t it make a lot of work for someone? The wedding is but six weeks away.”
“Don’t you worry,” she said with sweet solemnity. “It will be done. Ohhh...I can't believe I'm going to wear a LONG dress!”
“Anemone is an amazing dress-designer,” Gandalf said as he examined the drawing. “I’ve the distinct impression that I’ve seen Ríannor’s gown before, but cannot quite recall where.”
“I suppose it’s the latest thing in ladies’ gowns,” I suggested. “I don’t notice the trends, but evidently Anemone does. Not bad at all for someone who never even saw a gown for the first thirty or forty years of her life.”
Yes, I was actually just a little angry with him. What did he think I was, a child? Yes, I suppose he did think it…that I was HIS child, at least. I suppose I should be grateful that he cares so much, not miffed because he thought I couldn't look out for myself. Well, perhaps I will be eventually, but for now I’m still fuming a bit. Now that I have Anemone, he said, he need not worry about me anymore. I’m still taken aback, as I am always when I see the manifestation of such overwhelming love that I sometimes still don’t feel I have totally deserved.
Long after everyone else had left, I remarked to Anemone that it was very far-sighted of her to design a wedding-gown for Ríannor, and she affected a look of adorable innocence which had that familiar little mischievous glitter underneath it.
“Well, time was hanging rather heavy on my hands,” she said as we sat on the swing together in the twilight, “while you went about your duties in the City. No, of course I don’t hold that against you, my Prince, I could not care so much for you if you had not such a sweet and responsible heart in that small body--indeed you wouldn’t be here now, otherwise. And besides…I felt that our Olórin was overdoing the hesitancy bit, and needed a little nudge. And so…”
“You showed him the wedding-gown?” My eyebrows went up a bit.
“After a fashion, yes,” she giggled. “I invoked the Lord of Dreams and gave our friend a lovely vision of his lady in it. Obviously it was very inspiring.”
“Aha! So that's why it seemed familiar to him....You arranged his wedding for him already?”
“Oh, but he didn’t dream of HIS wedding,” she said fairly bursting with glee. “The bridegroom was not himself, but someone else.”
I startled myself with my laughter. “So you made him jealous? Brilliant! Which someone else, may I ask?”
“I’ve no idea,” she laughed also. “Just…someone else. I suppose it really doesn’t matter, as long as it wasn’t he. And the trick worked, so there you have it.”
“So what did he do in the dream when he saw her with the wrong bridegroom?” I asked. “I can just imagine!”
“Oh, I didn’t see that part, unfortunately,” she giggled. “I saw only the bridal pair swearing their vows, and then, mercifully, I ended it there and let him awaken. I dare say he lost no time going out to speak.”
“Is there anything you can’t do?” I said seriously after a moment, taking her free hand and holding it to my lips and then my cheek, then almost regretted asking the question.
“I shall soon find out, I dare say,” she said, then ran her fingers slowly through my hair…an action that might have been all the proof I would ever have needed of the existence of heaven, had I not actually been there myself. “Now don’t you worry, my Love. I know it’s been preying on your mind as to how you’ll compensate me for what I’m giving up. But the thing is…well, being adored is better than having powers. I suppose I’ve told you before that it is an entirely new experience for me. Sea-folk do not adore each other, at least not unless they become landish. Not even their children. We are fond of them, of course, but we don’t adore them. That is a landish thing, which I’m only beginning to understand.”
“I hope the adoration doesn’t go to your head,” I said, meaning it in jest, but then, worrier that I am, I did consider that possibility.
“It hasn’t gone to yours,” she teased me. “How do you keep it from doing so?”
“I’m not sure,” I said as I fiddled with a long wavy lock of her hair. “I suppose it’s the thought that I’m not as worthy of it as they think I am. Many of them see me as being a little too good for this world…but the truth is, I am far from it. To my own way of thinking, I’m not much out of the ordinary. And I could not have accomplished what I did without help from others…and from the Creator also.”
“You would not have had that help,” she pointed out, “if you had not earned it.”
“That’s what Lord Elrond said,” I remembered, “but I never really felt I had completely earned it, either. But I don’t worry over that any more. Perhaps it’s just as well that I should feel unworthy…otherwise you might come to find me unbearable.”
I grinned. She laughed. Was there ever a more bewitching sound?
“Perhaps so,” she said. “Well, you needn’t worry how I’ll occupy myself while you’re in the City. Silivren may be a spinner after all. Talmar’s mother has been teaching me her craft. She’s having a spinning-wheel made for me as a wedding-gift. Want to see what I’ve made?”
“Of course,” I said and she sprang up and ran into the cottage. I knew our dairy-elf’s mother was a spinner and she had taken a great liking to Anemone…yes, the whole Island is falling in love with her, naturally. I had been wondering how she would keep herself busy while I was gone. I have hired Northlight as caretaker, so that he might make a little money of his own and also be some company for her while I am gone, and unless he stays around on the Island, I’ll have to find someone else after he goes back into the Sea. We have a laundress to do our wash once a week, and we will keep her on, since I don’t want Anemone to over-tax herself with the laundry. We will take turns with the cooking, and there are neighbors to help with the housework. It delights me that Anemone wishes to be productive rather than some pampered princess who might quickly grow bored with an ordinary life, and does not consider spinning to be too humble of a profession. I doubt it even occurs to her to think it. I've been teaching her to keep the books and I dare say she will be better at it than I am, with a little practice.
She returned with a work-basket with several balls of white angora yarn, which she had me hold in my hand so I could feel the softness.
“Wonderful,” I said. “You learned very quickly…why doesn’t that surprise me? You really are a dream-spinner, in more ways than one. I’ll take this to the City tomorrow if you like. Lady Celebrían would know where to sell it, I’m sure, and fetch the right price.”
“Oh, I shall give this to Tilwen for the baby,” she said as she replaced the balls and set the basket down. “She’s been such a good friend to me, to both of us, it’s wonderful to think I can do a little something for her in return. But it is nice to think I can do something to bring in a little extra money, as well. Soooo…now I’m good at being ordinary?”
I chuckled. “My dearest, I’m afraid that is the one thing you’ll never be,” I said.
Dear Sam, now she’s back in the Sea for the night and I’m alone with my glass, the three dolls, and you…and you need not worry that I’ll forget you; even marriage will not allow me to leave off these nightly sessions with you, which have brought me such joy and comfort and healing for the past three and a half years, and thanks be to Eru that Anemone will not expect it of me! I wonder what I’ll do with the dolls once we are wed, we can’t very well keep them in the bridal chamber, I suppose…although come to think of it, knowing Anemone, she probably wouldn’t mind at all! Well, we’ll see!
I sincerely hope you are as happy as I am just now.
This conjugal arts book is truly amazing. I never knew Elves even thought like this, and it has been very eye-opening, to say the least. Although perhaps it should be less so, after what happened in the garden back when I lived at Lord Elrond’s—did I ever tell you about that? When I could not sleep one night, and went out to the bathhouse and drew myself a warm and relaxing bath…and no doubt supposing me to be in bed, Lord Elrond and his lady came out into the garden and…yes, I’ve told you about it before, I know. How I dozed off in the water, and was awakened by the sound of giggles and some, er, talk...I had to duck my head under the water so I couldn’t hear. Perhaps I should have made my presence known, but they were too far along by then, obviously, so all I could do was keep ducking my head down and holding my breath for as long as I could, my hands clamped over my ears, and even that didn’t muffle all the sounds. I didn’t know how to look Lord E. and Lady C. in the face in the morning, so I sort of carefully avoided them for a day or two. Yes, I’d heard a few such sounds from the bedroom of my parents a time or two when I got up in the night to answer nature’s call…but I was too little to know what they were about then!
So yes, there is definitely more to Elves than meets the eye! I’ve already finished the book and am reading through it a second time. I must admit it’s a trifle worrisome, for I’m determined to learn this as a means of compensating her for the loss of her powers, although I’m well aware that there’s a good deal more to marriage than this. I may be a bachelor, but I did have parents! And believe it or not, Anemone and I have only ever made love about three or four times since we have met, and have agreed not to do any more until the wedding-night, which less difficult than one may imagine, partly because of the virtue of the Island, and mostly, I suspect, because she has so little physical sensation, which is rather frustrating for me. I suppose there are many males who would not care as long as they got plenty of pleasuring themselves, but I am not one of them and cannot understand those who are. One hardly needs a partner for that sort of selfish gratification—if you know what I mean!
But I hope you don’t mind if I read a bit to you from this book…there are some things I dare say you never heard of doing either, unless I don’t know you as well as I thought, and perhaps Rosie would like very much…ahem…
[Frodo reads aloud a vivid passage.]
Umm…perhaps you will end up with an even larger family than I foresaw, if you were to try that…or better yet, this….
[He reads an entire chapter.]
Ahem…it may be my imagination, but it seems to me that Frodo-doll and Sam-doll are both blushing…and Bilbo-doll is looking very wicked!