Book I, Chapter 5: "A Conspiracy Unmasked"
Tolkien begins this chapter by developing the theme of parochialism and mistrust introduced in the person of Farmer Maggot. He gives readers information regarding the history and culture of Buckland-the region to which the Hobbits have now crossed-including the fact that "most of the folk of the old Shire regarded the Bucklanders as peculiar, half foreigners as it were." Tolkien will continue to develop this theme of mistrust, and the need to overcome it, throughout The Lord of the Rings.
Disembarking from the ferry on the Brandywine's opposite shore, the Hobbits spy a Black Rider following them. They arrive at Frodo's "new house" in Crickhollow, where their friend Fredegar (Fatty) Bolger has prepared another supper, which the travelers welcome (as Hobbits are fond of multiple meals!). Frodo's enjoyment of the evening is tempered by his concern over telling Merry and Pippin that he will not be staying in Crickhollow. To Frodo's surprise, his cousins reveal that they already know of his plans to leave the Shire: they noticed Frodo's "farewell visits" to favorite places, as well as his supposed sale of Bag End to the Sackville-Bagginses and his many conversations with Gandalf. Furthermore, Merry and Pippin announce their intentions to travel with Frodo and Sam, for they know also of the Ring, and will not leave him to face his dangerous journey with it by himself. Sam has been telling Merry and Pippin a great deal, and while Frodo is at first amazed, he ultimately feels relieved that he will not be alone.
Frodo decides to leave at daybreak, leaving the main Road in order to avoid Black Riders. He intends to travel through the Old Forest, a place most Bucklanders fear as mysterious and dangerous. Fatty Bolger will remain behind at the house in Crickhollow, creating the illusion that Frodo is indeed living there.
In his sleep, Frodo is troubled by a nightmare of "a tall white tower" on a heath. A sudden light and the sound of thunder prevent him from reaching it