I find this to be one of the most heartbreaking paragraphs in the book. This is probably the clearest statement that despite Smeagol's fall from grace into the evil Gollum, even then, there remained some small, minuscule potential to return to Good. The chance was small he would, but probably no smaller than the chance that Frodo would succeed in destroying the Ring.... Difference is Gollum wasn't quite as lucky.Gollum looked at them. A strange expression passed over his lean hungry face. The gleam faded from his eyes, and they went dim and grey, old and tired. A spasm of pain seemed to twist him, and he turned away, peering back up towards the pass, shaking his head, as if engaged in some interior debate. Then he came back, and slowly putting out a trembling hand, very cautiously he touched Frodo's knee - but almost the touch was a carees. For a fleeting moment, could one of the sleepers have seen him, they would have thought that they beheld an old weary hobbit, shrunken by the years that had carried him far beyond his time, beyond friends and kin, and the fields and streams of youth, an old starved pitiable thing.