So, having received some queries re. various points in the manuscripts since I was last here, I brought along a short list of things to look up if I had time. In case anyone else out there might be interested in the same points, I thought I'd post the results.
#1. Andrew F. queried a line in THE HOBBIT (Chapter IV, second paragraph), where the published text reads
'a crooked way and a lonely and a long'
Checking the manuscript page of this passage (Ms. 1/1/3), I find it seems to have originally read
a crooked way and a lonely way and long
before being changed to
a crooked way and a lonely and long *
In the typescripts (TS 1/1/54 and TS 1/1/35) this is changed to
'It was a hard path and a dangerous path, a crooked way
and a lonely and a long.'
Both typescripts have the exact same reading, which seems to confirm that Tolkien wanted it this way. I noticed this while putting together MR. BAGGINS and consider it one of several cases in THE HOBBIT where Tolkien choses an evocative slightly nonstandard usage (in this case, an elliptical ending) for effect.
#2 through #5 come from Andrew McC via comments on my blog (cf. the entry for Feb. 15th).
One query concerns Hama, the other three all pertain to Pippin's meeting with Gwinhir [Bergil]
#2 The Ale of Hama. (VIII.236 & 264).
In the manuscript, the passage in question falls on the last sheet of Marq. 3/7/8. ('This is not the House of Eorl'), and reads
of Hama and all who fell
The illegible word lacks a descender and hence cannot be 'birg' (A.McC.'s suggestion, which I found ingenious). Whatever it is, it begins (probably) and ends (definitely) with an ascender and is about four letters long. One possibility is hard, though that seems a little unsatisfactory.
#3 of the Nine; Pippin & Gwinhir #1 (MT II.026).
A.McC. suggests that the illegible word in the following passage might be Band:
of whom ^your lord Boromir was one,
of the Nine I
The question mark here is in the original (pencilled over the word), but 'ring' seems fairly clear, if indiscreet of Pippin to mention.
#4 balled fists? Pippin vs. Gwinhir #2 (MT II.027)
Come on good ferret, bite if you like. and he made for
Pencilled over the illegible word: 'bent?'
That more or less looks right but doesn't make sense. Whatever the word, its first letter is an ascender (and thus 'b' is possible). Its last letter is an ascender. There's no ascender in the middle (thus it's not 'balled', A.McC's suggestion). There's no descender at all (thus it's not 'put' or something along that line). Consider me stumped as to this one.
#5 But do not speak so darkly; Pippin vs. Gwinhir #3.
MT II.028. HME.VIII.285 (& .293, Nt26).
Here the illegible passage comprises the last three words of the fifth line and the first word of the sixth line.
while the sun still shines.
The first illegible word looks like Stands but is slightly longer.
The second illegible word is about three or four letters long.
Of the two words between, one is definitely and and the other probably light
So think we're a little closer on this one but not there yet.
Hope this helps.
*the details are slightly more complicated; I can provide them if anyone's interested