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Several uneventful hours later, however, Harry had to admit that some of the fun was wearing off. The toffees had made them extremely thirsty and they had nothing to drink. He and Ron had pulled off their sweaters, but Harry's T-shirt was sticking to the back of his seat and his glasses kept sliding down to the end of his sweaty nose. He had stopped noticing the fantastic cloud shapes now and was thinking longingly of the train miles below, where you could buy ice-cold pumpkin juice from a trolley pushed by a plump witch. Why hadn't they been able to get onto platform nine and three-quarters?
Harry had only just started his porridge when, sure enough, there was a rushing sound overhead and a hundred or so owls
ator; they shot straight into the low, woolly clouds and everything turned dull and foggy.
The rest of the Gryffindor team were already in the changing room. Wood was the only person who looked truly awake. Fred and George Weasley were sitting, puffy-eyed and touslehaired, next to fourth year Alicia Spinnet, who seemed to be nodding off against the wall behind her. Her fellow Chasers, Katie
"It will be for Professor McGonagall to decide on these boys' punishments, Severus," said Dumbledore calmly. "They are in her House and are therefore her responsibility." He turned to Professor McGonagall. "I must go back to the feast, Minerva, I've got to give out a few notices. Come, Severus, there's a delicious-looking cus tard tart I want to sample -" Snape shot a look of pure venom at Harry and Ron as he allowed himself to be swept out of his office, leaving them alone with Pro fessor McGonagall, who was still eyeing them like a wrathful eagle. "You'd better get along to the hospital wing, Weasley, you're bleeding." "Not much," said Ron, hastily wiping the cut over his eye with his sleeve. "Professor, I wanted to watch my sister being Sorted -" "The Sorting Ceremony is over," said Professor McGonagall. "Your sister is also in Gryffindor." "Oh, good," said Ron. "And speaking of Gryffindor -" Professor McGonagall said sharply, but Harry cut in: "Professor, when we took the car, term hadn't started, so - so Gryffindor shouldn't really have points taken from it - should it?" he finished, watching her anxiously. Professor McGonagall gave him a piercing look, but he was sure she had almost smiled. Her mouth looked less thin, anyway. "I will not take any points from Gryffindor," she said, and Harry's heart lightened considerably. "But you will both get a de tention." It was better than Harry had expected. As for Dumbledore's writing to the Dursleys, that was nothing. Harry knew perfectly well they'd just be disappointed that the Whomping Willow hadn't squashed him flat.
Shining brightly on the walls by the light of many candles were countless framed photographs of Lockhart. He had even signed a few of them. Another large pile lay on his desk.
"It's all right, he's still alive," said Hermione, prodding Errol gently with the tip of her finger.
The rest of the class came clattering in, and Ron and Hermione sat down on either side of Harry.
"I've got a question, Oliver," said George, who had woken with a start. "Why couldn't you have told us all this yesterday when we were awake?"
The minutes snailed by. Harry let Lockhart's voice wash over him, occasionally saying, "Mmm" and "Right" and "Yeah." Now and then he caught a phrase like, "Fame's a fickle friend, Harry," or "Celebrity is as celebrity does, remember that."
"No one asked your opinion, you fiIthy little Mudblood," he spat.
"What's a Howler?" he said.
"We need to see the train to know what direction to go in," said Ron.
"He did it, he did it!" Filch spat, his pouchy face purpling. "You saw what he wrote on the wall! He found - in my office - he knows I'm a - I'm a -" Filch's face worked horribly. "He knows I'm a Squib!" he finished.
Clutching his broken glasses to his face, Harry stared around. He had emerged into a dingy alleyway that seemed to be made up entirely of shops devoted to the Dark Arts. The one he'd just left, Borgin and Burkes, looked like the largest, but opposite was a nasty window display of shrunken heads and, two doors down, a large cage was alive with gigantic black spiders. Two shabby-looking wizards were watching him from the shadow of a doorway, muttering to each other. Feeling jumpy, Harry set off, trying to hold his glasses on straight and hoping against hope he'd be able to find a way out of here.
"Tut, tut - hardly any of you remembered that my favorite color is lilac. I say so in Year with the Yeti. And a few of you need to read Wanderings with Werewolves more carefully - I clearly state in chapter twelve that my ideal birthday gift would be harmony between all magic and non-magic peoples - though I wouldn't say no to a large bottle of Ogdeds Old Firewhisky!";
"I should ruddy well think not," growled Hagrid. Mrs. Weasley now came galloping into view, her handbag swing ing wildly in one hand, Ginny just clinging onto the other. "Oh, Harry - oh, my dear - you could have been any where -" Gasping for breath she pulled a large clothes brush out of her bag and began sweeping off the soot Hagrid hadn't managed to beat away. Mr. Weasley took Harry's glasses, gave them a tap of his wand, and returned them, good as new. "Well, gotta be off," said Hagrid, who was having his hand wrung by Mrs. Weasley ("Knockturn Alley! If you hadn't found him, Hagrid!"). "See yer at Hogwarts!" And he strode away, head and shoulders taller than anyone else in the packed street. "Guess who I saw in Borgin and Burkes?" Harry asked Ron and Hermione as they climbed the Gringotts steps. "Malfoy and his fa ther." "Did Lucius Malfoy buy anything?" said Mr. Weasley sharply behind them. "No, he was selling =' "So he's worried," said Mr. Weasley with grim satisfaction. "Oh, I'd love to get Lucius Malfoy for something ...... "You be careful, Arthur," said Mrs. Weasley sharply as they were bowed into the bank by a goblin at the door. "That family's trou ble. Don't go biting off more than you can chew -" "So you don't think I'm a match for Lucius Malfoy?" said Mr. Weasley indignantly, but he was distracted almost at once by the sight of Hermione's parents, who were standing nervously at the counter that ran all along the great marble hall, waiting for Hermione to introduce them.。
"You have heard, of course, that the Ministry is conducting more raids," said Mr. Malfoy, taking a roll of parchment from his inside pocket and unraveling it for Mr. Borgin to read. "I have a few - ah - items at home that might embarrass me, if the Ministry were to call ......"。