'Yes, yes, my dear sir--and I do know your name, Mr Bilbo Baggins, And you do know my name, though you don't remember that I belong to it. I am Gandalf, and Gandalf means me! To think that I should have lived to be good-morninged by Belladonna Took's son, as if I was selling buttons at the door!'
'Gandalf, Gandalf! Good gracious me! Not the wandering wizard that gave Old Took a pair of magic diamond studs that fastened themselves and never came undone till ordered? Not the fellow who used to tell such wonderful tales at parties, about dragons and goblins and giants and the rescue of princesses and the unexpected luck of widow's sons? Not the man that used to make such particularly excellent fireworks! I remember those! Old Took used to have them on Midsummer's Eve. Splendid! They used to go up like great lilies and snapdragons and laburnums of fire and hang in the twilight all evening!' You will notice already that Mr Baggins was not quite so prosy as he liked to believe, also that he was very fond of flowers. 'Dear me!' he went on . 'Not the Gandalf who was responsible for so many quiet lads and lasses going off into the Blue for mad adventures? Anything from climbing trees to visiting elves--or sailing in ships, sailing to other shores! Bless me, life used to be quite inter--I mean, you used to upset things badly in these parts once upon a time. I beg your pardon, but I had no idea you were still in business.'
'Where else should I be?' said the wizard. 'All the same I am pleased to find you remember something about me. You seem to remember my fireworks kindly, at any rate, and that is not without hope. Indeed for your old grandfather Took's sake, and for the sake of poor Belladonna, I will give you what you asked for.'
'I beg your pardon, I haven't asked for anything!'
'Yes, you have! Twice now. My pardon. I give it you. In fact I will go so far as to send you on this adventure, Very amusing for me, very good for you--and profitable too, very likely, if you ever get over it.'
'Sorry! I don't want any adventures, thank you. Not today. Good Morning! But please come to tea--any time you like! Why not tomorrow! Come tomorrow! Good-bye!' With that the hobbit turned and scuttled inside his round green door, and shut it as quickly as he dared, not to seem rude. Wizards after all are wizards.
'What on earth did I ask him to tea for!' he said to himself, as he went to the pantry. He had only just had breakfast, but he thought a cake or two and a drink of something would do him good after his fright.
Gandalf in the meantime was still standing outside the door, and laughing long but quietly. After a while he stepped up, and with the spike on his staff scratched a queer sign on the hobbit's beautiful green front-door. Then he strode away, just about the time when Bilbo was finishing his second cake and beginning to think that he had escaped adventures very well.