Time wore on, but it seemed to have little effect on Mr. Baggins. At ninety
he was much the same as at fifty. At ninety-nine they began to call him
well-preserved; but unchanged would have been nearer the mark. There
were some that shook their heads and thought this was too much of a good thing;
it seemed unfair that anyone should possess (apparently) perpetual youth as well
as (repetedly) inexhaustible wealth.
'It will have to be paid for,' the said. 'It isn't natural, and trouble will come of it!'
My dear People, began Bilbo, rising in his place. 'Hear! Hear! Hear!' they shouted, and kept on repeating it in chorus, seeming reluctant to follow their own advice.
My dear Bagginses and Boffins, he began again; and my dear Tooks
and Brandybucks, and Grubbs, and Chubbs, and Burrowses, and Hornblowers, and
Bolgers, Bracegirdles, Goodbodies, Brockhouses Proudfoots!
and that eleventy-one years is too short a time to live amongst such excellent and admirable hobbits. Tremendous outburst of approval.
I don't know half of you half as well as I whould like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve. This was unexpected and rather difficult. There was some scattered clapping, but most of them were trying to work it out and see if it came to a compliment.