I got an early start on the day of the bonfire, as I knew it'd be a long day. First, I was going to do all the chores at the Hookworth Stables. I felt like I had work to make up after being away four days, and would be away four more days soon, once Bogo felt up to the return home. And it seemed like Miss Brynleigh were out of sorts, maybe not feeling well. She hadn't come out of her house that morning, or the day before, now I think about it. Hope she's all right. Once those chores were done I'd be making my rounds to take care of Rascal, Snow, and Biscuit, and I knew I'd have a long day after that getting Bogo ready to go to the bonfire, which would last until dawn.
When I got to the Cob farm, though, while I was tending to Biscuit I saw Briallyn come running through the barn, in a right hurry. She called out as she passed, "Leoffrith, my sister won't be able to come to the bonfire thing tonight, sorry! We got an order for a lot of farm goods and we all have to work into the night to fulfill it. It's a real windfall but it has to be done today!" And she was gone even afore she finished saying so. I thought about offering to help, remembering that nice feeling of everyone working hard together when we had something like this back home, but I knew I had too much else to do, and anyhow Briallyn were already gone. I was glad for the Cob family, but sad I wouldn't see Beoda -- this were just the sort of thing there's not much of in the winter, that you want to take a girl to if you're courting her.
Then to find a pony for Bogo. Bree's stables didn't have any I thought were mild-tempered enough, since Bogo was skittish about riding, after his bad experience with the bandits. I finally found one in Combe, named Seed-Cake, that they kept for use by the hobbits of Staddle. Cost me a fair bit, but I figure Citrina Brockhouse will be paying us back more than enough to make it up. Seed-Cake is sweet and pleasant, especially when she could follow Kestrel.
Late in the day, Bogo and I set out for the bonfire, out on Pierson's Farm. We were amongst the first to arrive, but afore long there were dozens of folk. Miss Bottle was sharing stout and pickles and sausages, and there was a hobbit I don't know playing music, and Miss Syaven and a lot of others were dancing, and there was laughter and merriment. I mostly kept to keeping the fire burning while I kept watching the road hoping somehow Beoda would arrive anyway. It was nice to be amongst so many happy folk, even if I did think it'd be better if she were here too.
We'd been there a while when Forsythia Attereeve arrived from Staddle, cleaned up and in a dress in a pretty shade of blue. Bogo didn't notice at first; he were wore out from all the time spent riding and such, and it were a chill night, so he kept real close to the fire, and it blinded him, I reckon. They fell to talking and you could straightaway see the love in his eyes, and joy in his voice. As for her, she seemed happy to be there, but maybe not quite as smitten yet; he'll have to win her over, perhaps just prove to her that she's worthy of his affections, since she has had some trouble in that regard.
They fell to talking on the question of how to court from so far apart. Bogo suggested that he could spend a month or two keeping at the Prancing Pony, and then she could spend a month or two at the Plough and Stars; and they could take turns showing each other the lands of their homes. Bogo could pay for all the lodgings, the cost of escorts for travel -- perhaps me, Beoda, and Miss Adri can keep getting work doing that, in fact -- and even to pay for a helper for the Attereeves when Forsythia's away. And he asked that, since he got to go home once he feels up to it, as Citrina won't hear of anything else, she be the first to come see the Northfarthing. She were going to see if her ma and pa were willing for that.
The dancing and talk and fire lasted until near dawn; then me and Bogo rode back to Bree, escorting Miss Syaven. I set him to his room in the Pony and then headed home to fall heavy asleep. There was a letter at the door, but I were far too tired to read it. It can wait until morning.