Marigold Gamgee sat on a small stool, and tried to work on some embroidery for Mr. Bilbo. She was making him a set of cotton pajamas, and knew that he enjoyed fancy little embellishments. She was proud of her handiwork most times, but today she was distracted and her stitching was far from her best. She sat up primly when she heard the door to Sam's bedroom open, and looked expectantly at Miss Violet.
Violet wiped her hands on her apron, and came to take Marigold's hand. "Now, dear, I'll be needing to speak to your da, can you run and get him? That's a good girl." Violet took a seat in the rocking chair that Hamfast had made for Bell while she was expecting their first, and with her basket on her lap, set about rearranging some mysterious things within it.
Goldie ran outside, and round the smial, looking for her father. She then made her way up the road, and found him, his head down, one hand supporting him against the trunk of an ancient willow tree. She took her time approaching and made as much noise as she could, kicking stones out of her way, to alert him to her presence. He turned and saw his youngest child coming, and though Goldie thought she saw alarm and concern creasing his features, his face soon went smoothly blank. "What is it, child?" his querelous voice rose over the heat and dust of the day. "It's Miss Violet, Da, she's wantin' to speak to you about Samwise," Goldie began, and before she could finish her sentence, her father was striding ahead of her, his steps spry, belying his age.
Goldie struggled to keep up with him, explaining she had prepared the payment for the visit, just as he asked, but soon thought better of her actions. She let him stalk ahead of her, and stood outside as he opened the door to their hole. She lay down on her belly in the soft, sweet smelling grass, and waited.
Violet rose as Hamfast entered, but did not give her hand as she did to his youngling. "What is it with him?" he asked at once, his dark eyes flinty and his mouth, grim.
"He has been bitten, Master Gamgee, by a spider. The poison has gone bad with him, and we must let the fever do it's work. If the fever breaks, he will be well again." Violet waited, she was acquainted with Hamfast and his disposition, and so she offered only the bare bones of her diagnosis.
"And if it does not?" his second question as terse as the first.
Violet sighed, and was at once ashamed. This, of course, was the great fear, and she had no answer that would satisfy. "The fever is part of the healing, and I dare not try to bring it down, lest the poison do more damage. But...if it does not come down on its own...there is little else we can do. If the fever does not cure him, it will likely damage his senses. The fever is helping him, now, Master Gamgee, it is fighting the toxin. I have nothing that can do that." Violet lifted her basket, and waited for some question, some reaction, some emotion.
There was none. Hamfast nodded and lifted the small basket that his daughter had prepared, and offered it to Violet, "for her trouble."
"It has been taken care of, Master Gamgee," she answered him, refusing the honey and jam.
"What do mean," he asked suspiciously, and she explained that Bilbo Baggins had paid her handsomely to come out, and she was not to accept anything from him.
"I've been well-rewarded, Master Gamgee, and I'll be back out in a day or two to see Samwise again. Take care to clean the bite on his leg. Good day." Violet did take her leave then, and Hamfast slammed the door behind her.
He waited until his heart stopped thudding in his ears, and he pinched his nose, between his eyes, hard. He opened the door, and called to Marigold. She rolled off of her stomach and hurried inside, her face a mask of worry. "Get supper on, Marigold, for you and I," he began, "I'm off to see Bilbo Baggins, I'll be back afore long."
And more worried and confused than ever, Marigold watched the Gaffer take down his thread-worn jacket from its hook, and make his way to Bag End.