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"That's all there is?" said Harry blankly.
"Gits," said Ron darkly, watching Fred and George setting off across the snowy yard. "Would've only taken them ten seconds and then we could've gone too."
"No problem," said George.
Snow was swirling against the icy windows once more; Christmas was approaching fast. Hagrid had already singlehandedly delivered the usual twelve C hristmas trees to the Great Hall; garlands of holly and tinsel had been twisted around the banisters of the stairs; everlasting candles glowed from inside the helmets of suits of armor and great bunches of mistletoe had been hung at intervals along the corridors. Large groups of girls tended to converge underneath the mistletoe bunches every time Harry went past, which caused blockages in the corridors; fortunat e ly, however, Harry's frequent nighttime wanderings had given him an unusually good knowledge of the castle's secret passageways, so that he was often, without too much difficulty, to naviga t e mistletoe-free routes between classes.
It took him several seconds to recognize the place, by which time Dumbledore had landed beside him. The Gaunts' house was now more indescribably filthy than anywhere Harry had ever seen. The ceiling was thick with cobwebs, the floor coated in grime; moldy and rotting food lay upon the table amidst a mass of crusted pots. The only light came from a single guttering candle placed at the feet of a man with hair and beard so overgrown Harry could see neither eyes nor mouth. He was slumped in an armchair by the fire, and Harry wondered for a moment whether he was dead. But
"No problem," said George.
"Well, there they go, and I think we're all surprised to see the team that Potter's put together this year. Many thought, given Ronald Weasley's patchy performance as Keeper last year, that he might be off the team, but of course, a close personal friendship with the Captain does help. . . ."
“Well, you can't break an Unbreakable Vow. . . ."
Hermione gave him the kind of nasty look she had just given his copy of Advanced Potion-Making.
"Yes," he said, "but he wasn't the only one. As I say, it was very popular. . . . You know how these spells come and go. , . ."
There was another pause, then Snape said coldly, "You are speaking like a child. I quite understand that your fathers capture and imprisonment has upset you, but —"
"I'll be seventeen in two and a bit months' time," said Ron grumpily, "and then I'll be able to do it by magic!"
"But Dumbledore can make mistakes," argued Harry. "He says it himself. And you" — he looked Lupin straight in the eye — "do you honestly like Snape?"
"Charming," said Scrimgeour, stopping at the garden fence and looking out over the snowy lawn and the indistinguishable plants. "Charming."
There was a horrible, swelling, billowing silence. Hermione was staring at Ron, who refused to look at her, but said with an odd mixture of bravado and awkwardness, "Hi, Harry! Wondered where you'd got to!"
戰疫情 在行動 | “先行用地”政策解決口罩生產大難題
. . . and now you've torn it quite apart I'll thank you to give back my heart!
"Scrimgeour wanted to know where you go when you're not at Hogwarts," said Harry, still looking fixedly at his knees.
Dumbledore listened to Harry's story with an impassive face. When Harry had finished he did not speak for a few moments, then said, "Thank you for telling me this, Harry, but I suggest that you put it out of your mind. I do not think that it is of great importance."
"Yes, I did, and I'm starting to wish I'd chosen him, McLaggen makes Grawp look a gentleman. Let's go this way, we'll be able to see him coming, he's so tall. . . ." The three of them made their way over to the other side of the room, scooping up goblets of mead on the way, realizing too late that Professor Trelawney was standing there alone.
Annoyed, Harry uncorked the poison he had taken from Siughorn's desk, which was a garish shade of pink, tipped it into his cauldron and lit a fire underneath it. He did not have the faintest idea what he was supposed to do next. He glanced at Ron, who was now standing there looking rather gormless, having copied everything Harry had done.
Shortly after this, Fleur decided to imitate Celestina singing "A Cauldron Full of Hot, Strong Love," which was taken by everyone, once they had glimpsed Mrs. Weasley's expression, to be the cue to go to bed. Harry and Ron climbed all the way up to Ron's attic bedroom, where a camp bed had been added for Harry.;
"Quidditch!" said Hermione angrily. "Is that all boys care about? Cormac hasn't asked me one single question about myself, no, I've just been treated to 'A Hundred Great Saves Made by Cormac McLaggen' nonstop ever since — oh no, here he comes!" She moved so fast it was as though she had Disapparated; one moment she was there, the next, she had squeezed between two guffawing witches and vanished.
". , . We've only looked in for five minutes, so I'll have a stroll around the yard while you catch up with Percy. No, no, I assure you I don't want to butt in! Well, if anybody cared to show me your charming garden . . . Ah, that young man's finished, why doesn't he take a stroll with me?"
"All right," she said cheerfully, and he thought he heard her, as he hurried off into the crowd, resume the subject of the Rotfang Conspiracy with Professor Trelawney, who seemed sincerely in terested. It was easy, once out of the party, to pull his Invisibility Cloak out of his pocket and throw it over himself, for the corridor was quite deserted. What was more difficult was finding Snape and Malfoy. Harry ran down the corridor, the noise of his feet masked by the music and loud talk still issuing from Slughorn's office behind him. Perhaps Snape had taken Malfoy to his office in the dungeons ... or perhaps he was escorting him back to the Slyt herin common room. . . . Harry pressed his ear against door after door as he dashed down the corridor until, with a great jolt of excitement, he crouched down to the keyhole of the last classroom in the corridor and heard voices.
When Harry did noi question Slughorn again, the Potions master reverted to his usual affectionate treatment of him, and appeared to have put the matter from his mind. Harry awaited an invitation to one of his little evening parties, determined to accept this time, even if he had to reschedule Quidditch prac- tice. Unfortunately, however, no such invitation arrived. Harry checked with Hermione and Ginny: neither of them had received an invitation and nor, as far as they knew, had anybody else. Harry could not help wondering whether this meant that Slughorn was not quite as forgetful as he appeared, simply determined to give Harry no additional opportunities to question him.;
"Let us say that I did not take it for granted that he was trustworthy," said Dumbledore. "I had, as I have already indicated, resolved to keep a close eye upon him, and so I did. I cannot pretend that I gleaned a great deal from my observations at first. He was very guarded with me; he felt, I am sure, that in the thrill of discovering his true identity he had told me a little too much. He was careful never to reveal as much again, but he could not take back what he had let slip in his excitement, nor what Mrs. Cole had confided in me. However, he had the sense never to try and charm me as he charmed so many of my colleagues.。
"Ah, Sybi l l, we all think our subject's most important!" said a loud voice, and Slughorn appeared at Professor Trelawney s other side, his face very red, his velvet hat a little askew, a glass of mead in one hand and an enormous mince pie in the other. "But I don't t hink I've ever known such a natural at Potions!" said Slughorn, re-garding Harry with a fond, if bloodshot, eye. "Instinctive, you know — like his mother! I've only ever taught a few with this kind of ability, I can tell you that, Sybi l l — why even Severus —" And to Harry's horror, Slughorn threw out an arm and seemed to scoop Snape out of thin air toward them. "Stop skulking and come and join us, Severus!" hiccuped Slughorn happily. "I was just talking about Harry's exceptional po-tion-making! Some credit must go to you, of course, you taught him for five years!"。