|(no transcription available)|
That night the Company slept upon the ground, much to the satisfaction of the hobbits. The Elves spread for them a pavilion among the trees near the fountain, and in it they laid soft couches; then speaking words of peace with fair elvish voices they left them. For a little while the travellers talked of their night before in the tree-tops, and of their day's journey, and of the Lord and Lady; for they had not yet the heart to look further back.
`What did you blush for, Sam? ' said Pippin. `You soon broke down. Anyone would have thought you had a guilty conscience. I hope it was nothing worse than a wicked plot to steal one of my blankets.'
`I never thought no such thing,' answered Sam, in no mood for jest. 'If you want to know, I felt as if I hadn't got nothing on, and I didn't like it. She seemed to be looking inside me and asking me what I would do if she gave me the chance of flying back home to the Shire to a nice little hole with-with a bit of garden of my own.'
`That's funny,' said Merry. 'Almost exactly what I felt myself; only, only well, I don't think I'II say any more,' he ended lamely.
All of them, it seemed, had fared alike: each had felt that he was offered a choice between a shadow full of fear that lay ahead, and something that he greatly desired: clear before his mind it lay, and to get it he had only to turn aside from the road and leave the Quest and the war against Sauron to others.
'And it seemed to me, too,' said Gimli, `that my choice would remain secret and known only to myself.'
'To me it seemed exceedingly strange,' said Boromir. `Maybe it was only a test, and she thought to read our thoughts for her own good purpose; but almost I should have said that she was tempting us, and offering what she pretended to have the power to give. It need not be said that I refused to listen. The Men of Minas Tirith are true to their word.' But what he thought that the Lady had offered him Boromir did not tell.
And as for Frodo, he would not speak, though Boromir pressed him with questions. `She held you long in her gaze, Ring-bearer,' he said.
`Yes,' said Frodo; `but whatever came into my mind then I will keep there.'
`Well, have a care! ' said Boromir. `I do not feel too sure of this Elvish Lady and her purposes.'
`Speak no evil of the Lady Galadriel! ' said Aragorn sternly. 'You know not what you say. There is in her and in this land no evil, unless a man bring it hither himself. Then let him beware! But tonight I shall sleep without fear for the first time since I left Rivendell. And may I sleep deep, and forget for a while my grief! I am weary in body and in heart.' He cast himself down upon his couch and fell at once into a long sleep.
The others soon did the same, and no sound or dream disturbed their slumber. When they woke they found that the light of day was broad upon the lawn before the pavilion. and the fountain rose and fell glittering in the sun.
As always, many thanks to lbilover for the transcription and putting all this together. The readings for the entire chapter are here.