"'I shall not keep you long. I have called you all together for a Purpose.....Indeed, for Three Purposes! First of all, to tell you that I am immensely fond of you all, and that eleventy-one years is too short a time to live among such excellent and admirable hobbits. I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve....
'Secondly, to celebrate my birthday. I should say: OUR birthday. For it is, of course, also the birthday of my heir and nephew, Frodo. He comes of age and into his inheritance today. Together we score on hundred and forty-four. You numbers were chosen to fit this remarkable total: One Gross, if I may use the expression....
'Thirdly and finally,' he said, "I wish to make an ANNOUNCEMENT....I regret to announce that-though, as I said, eleventy-one years is far too short a time to spend among you-this is the END. I am going. I am leaving NOW. GOOD-BYE!'
He stepped down and vanished. There was a blinding flash of light, and the guests all blinked. When they opened their eyes Bilbo was nowhere to be seen. One hundred and forty-four hobbits sat back speechless....It was generally agreed that the joke was in very bad taste and more food and drink were needed to cure the guests of shock and annoyance."
~The Fellowship of the Ring, J. R. R. Tolkien
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
6 years ago