I feel like an idiot for asking about this, since I'm currently and carefully (or so I thought) reading The Fellowship of the Ring. I'm at the chapter where they are just at the ferry with Merry pretending (apparently not on purpose) to be a Black Rider.
It suddenly struck me that, if I'm not completely wrong, he actually left Frodo, Sam and Pippin even before they had started their journey, in Bag End. Didn't he travel in advance, or was supposed to do so anyway, all the way to Frodo's new home, located somewhere on Maggot's side of the ferry?
So Merry never experienced their meeting with the elves, the repeated hunting by the Black Rider(s) and the whole meeting with Maggot? (Strange name, BTW.)
I realize of course that lots of things happen later, and that Merry certainly has no shortage of adventures even if this is true, but I must admit that I imagined all four hobbits in all the scenes from when they left Bag End up until Merry suddenly arrives at the ferry.
Did Merry in fact go on his own all that way, in spite of all the dangers, just to "prepare Frodo's home"? I realize that their journey was no joyful vacation, but it just seems strange to me that they would leave him out of the "initial bonding".
I'm confused now, and feel stupid. I just assumed that Merry spoke less than Pippin. Maybe I've completely misunderstood something.