Mittwoch, 3. Mai 2017

Wednesday, 3 May: The Last Inn

The Last Inn
(Actually: "The Cat and Fiddle", near Buxton,
illustration by Charles G. Harper, 1906)
On this day, in 2941 T.A., the Company leaves Bree very early, according to the 1960 timetable. It travels for 20 miles, reaches the Last Inn in the early evening and, to the disappointment of everyone, finds it deserted (hence, we know it from LotR as the Forsaken Inn). According to my own computations published in "The Moon in 'The Hobbit'", there was a first quarter moon setting over the Last Inn that evening.

From this point on, entries in the 1960 timetable become rarer, and it increasingly deviates from both Fonstad's "Atlas" and the published "Hobbit". Tolkien's purpose had been to reshape Bilbo's travels to match the LotR map, and he had succeeded in that, even achieving consistency with the attested lunar phases. The price paid was that the stay in Rivendell had to be extended from about fourteen to thirty-six days since it was already reached on 24 May instead of 16 June. The obvious solution to postpone the Unexpected Party by a month had never occurred to Tolkien, despite Bilbo's casual reference to "that May morning long ago" in chap. VIII.

John Rateliff, in "The History of the Hobbit", believes that the abandoned 1960 revisions were not available to Tolkien when he revised the "Hobbit" again to secure US copyright in 1966. Thus, alas, even the final version has been left with inconsistencies to the internal chronology that had already been satisfactorily solved, and the 1960 timetable is inconsistent with references to dates in the published story up to 1 Lithe.