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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 6 страница. dark and full of rustling and flickering, jewel-bright eyes



dark and full of rustling and flickering, jewel-bright eyes. Harry now

carried a large cage that held a beautiful snowy owl, fast asleep with

her head under her wing. He couldn't stop stammering his thanks,

sounding just like Professor Quirrell.

 

"Don' mention it," said Hagrid gruffly. "Don' expect you've had a lotta

presents from them Dursleys. Just Ollivanders left now - only place fer

wands, Ollivanders, and yeh gotta have the best wand."

 

A magic wand... this was what Harry had been really looking forward to.

 

The last shop was narrow and shabby. Peeling gold letters over the door

read Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 B.C. A single wand lay

on a faded purple cushion in the dusty window.

 

A tinkling bell rang somewhere in the depths of the shop as they stepped

inside. It was a tiny place, empty except for a single, spindly chair

that Hagrid sat on to wait. Harry felt strangely as though he had

entered a very strict library; he swallowed a lot of new questions that

had just occurred to him and looked instead at the thousands of narrow

boxes piled neatly right up to the ceiling. For some reason, the back of

his neck prickled. The very dust and silence in here seemed to tingle

with some secret magic.

 

"Good afternoon," said a soft voice. Harry jumped. Hagrid must have

jumped, too, because there was a loud crunching noise and he got quickly

off the spindly chair.

 

An old man was standing before them, his wide, pale eyes shining like

moons through the gloom of the shop.

 

"Hello," said Harry awkwardly.

 

"Ah yes," said the man. "Yes, yes. I thought I'd be seeing you soon.

Harry Potter." It wasn't a question. "You have your mother's eyes. It

seems only yesterday she was in here herself, buying her first wand. Ten

and a quarter inches long, swishy, made of willow. Nice wand for charm

work."

 

Mr. Ollivander moved closer to Harry. Harry wished he would blink. Those

silvery eyes were a bit creepy.

 

"Your father, on the other hand, favored a mahogany wand. Eleven inches.

Pliable. A little more power and excellent for transfiguration. Well, I

say your father favored it -- it's really the wand that chooses the

wizard, of course."

 

Mr. Ollivander had come so close that he and Harry were almost nose to

nose. Harry could see himself reflected in those misty eyes.

 

"And that's where..."

 

Mr. Ollivander touched the lightning scar on Harry's forehead with a



long, white finger.

 

"I'm sorry to say I sold the wand that did it," he said softly.

"Thirteen-and-a-half inches. Yew. Powerful wand, very powerful, and in

the wrong hands... well, if I'd known what that wand was going out into

the world to do...."

 

He shook his head and then, to Harry's relief, spotted Hagrid.

 

"Rubeus! Rubeus Hagrid! How nice to see you again.... Oak, sixteen

inches, rather bendy, wasn't it?"

 

"It was, sir, yes," said Hagrid.

 

"Good wand, that one. But I suppose they snapped it in half when you got

expelled?" said Mr. Ollivander, suddenly stern.

 

"Er -- yes, they did, yes," said Hagrid, shuffling his feet. "I've still

got the pieces, though," he added brightly.

 

"But you don't use them?" said Mr. Ollivander sharply.

 

"Oh, no, sit," said Hagrid quickly. Harry noticed he gripped his pink

umbrella very tightly as he spoke.

 

"Hmmm," said Mr. Ollivander, giving Hagrid a piercing look. "Well, now

-- Mr. Potter. Let me see." He pulled a long tape measure with silver

markings out of his pocket. "Which is your wand arm?"

 

"Er -- well, I'm right-handed," said Harry.

 

"Hold out your arm. That's it." He measured Harry from shoulder to

finger, then wrist to elbow, shoulder to floor, knee to armpit and round

his head. As he measured, he said, "Every Ollivander wand has a core of

a powerful magical substance, Mr. Potter. We use unicorn hairs, phoenix

tail feathers, and the heartstrings of dragons. No two Ollivander wands

are the same, just as no two unicorns, dragons, or phoenixes are quite

the same. And of course, you will never get such good results with

another wizard's wand."

 

Harry suddenly realized that the tape measure, which was measuring

between his nostrils, was doing this on its own. Mr. Ollivander was

flitting around the shelves, taking down boxes.

 

"That will do," he said, and the tape measure crumpled into a heap on

the floor. "Right then, Mr. Potter. Try this one. Beechwood and dragon

heartstring. Nine inches. Nice and flexible. just take it and give it a

wave."

 

Harry took the wand and (feeling foolish) waved it around a bit, but Mr.

Ollivander snatched it out of his hand almost at once.

 

"Maple and phoenix feather. Seven inches. Quite whippy. Try --"

 

Harry tried -- but he had hardly raised the wand when it, too, was

snatched back by Mr. Ollivander.

 

"No, no -here, ebony and unicorn hair, eight and a half inches, springy.

Go on, go on, try it out."

 

Harry tried. And tried. He had no idea what Mr. Ollivander was waiting

for. The pile of tried wands was mounting higher and higher on the

spindly chair, but the more wands Mr. Ollivander pulled from the

shelves, the happier he seemed to become.

 

"Tricky customer, eh? Not to worry, we'll find the perfect match here

somewhere -- I wonder, now - - yes, why not -- unusual combination --

holly and phoenix feather, eleven inches, nice and supple."

 

Harry took the wand. He felt a sudden warmth in his fingers. He raised

the wand above his head, brought it swishing down through the dusty air

and a stream of red and gold sparks shot from the end like a firework,

throwing dancing spots of light on to the walls. Hagrid whooped and

clapped and Mr. Ollivander cried, "Oh, bravo! Yes, indeed, oh, very

good. Well, well, well... how curious... how very curious... "

 

He put Harry's wand back into its box and wrapped it in brown paper,

still muttering, "Curious... curious..

 

"Sorry," said Harry, "but what's curious?"

 

Mr. Ollivander fixed Harry with his pale stare.

 

"I remember every wand I've ever sold, Mr. Potter. Every single wand. It

so happens that the phoenix whose tail feather is in your wand, gave

another feather -- just one other. It is very curious indeed that you

should be destined for this wand when its brother why, its brother gave

you that scar."

 

Harry swallowed.

 

"Yes, thirteen-and-a-half inches. Yew. Curious indeed how these things

happen. The wand chooses the wizard, remember.... I think we must expect

great things from you, Mr. Potter.... After all, He-

Who-Must-Not-Be-Named did great things -- terrible, yes, but great."

 

Harry shivered. He wasn't sure he liked Mr. Ollivander too much. He paid

seven gold Galleons for his wand, and Mr. Ollivander bowed them from his

shop.

 

The late afternoon sun hung low in the sky as Harry and Hagrid made

their way back down Diagon Alley, back through the wall, back through

the Leaky Cauldron, now empty. Harry didn't speak at all as they walked

down the road; he didn't even notice how much people were gawking at

them on the Underground, laden as they were with all their funny-shaped

packages, with the snowy owl asleep in its cage on Harry's lap. Up

another escalator, out into Paddington station; Harry only realized

where they were when Hagrid tapped him on the shoulder.

 

"Got time fer a bite to eat before yer train leaves," he said.

 

He bought Harry a hamburger and they sat down on plastic seats to eat

them. Harry kept looking around. Everything looked so strange, somehow.

 

"You all right, Harry? Yer very quiet," said Hagrid.

 

Harry wasn't sure he could explain. He'd just had the best birthday of

his life -- and yet -- he chewed his hamburger, trying to find the

words.

 

"Everyone thinks I'm special," he said at last. "All those people in the

Leaky Cauldron, Professor Quirrell, Mr. Ollivander... but I don't know

anything about magic at all. How can they expect great things? I'm

famous and I can't even remember what I'm famous for. I don't know what

happened when Vol-, sorry -- I mean, the night my parents died."

 

Hagrid leaned across the table. Behind the wild beard and eyebrows he

wore a very kind smile.

 

"Don' you worry, Harry. You'll learn fast enough. Everyone starts at the

beginning at Hogwarts, you'll be just fine. just be yerself. I know it's

hard. Yeh've been singled out, an' that's always hard. But yeh'll have a

great time at Hogwarts -- I did -- still do, 'smatter of fact."

 

Hagrid helped Harry on to the train that would take him back to the

Dursleys, then handed him an envelope.

 

"Yer ticket fer Hogwarts, " he said. "First o' September -- King's Cross

-- it's all on yer ticket. Any problems with the Dursleys, send me a

letter with yer owl, she'll know where to find me.... See yeh soon,

Harry."

 

The train pulled out of the station. Harry wanted to watch Hagrid until

he was out of sight; he rose in his seat and pressed his nose against

the window, but he blinked and Hagrid had gone.

 

 

CHAPTER SIX

 

THE JOURNEY FROM PLATFORM NINE AND THREE-QUARTERS

 

Harry's last month with the Dursleys wasn't fun. True, Dudley was now so

scared of Harry he wouldn't stay in the same room, while Aunt Petunia

and Uncle Vernon didn't shut Harry in his cupboard, force him to do

anything, or shout at him -- in fact, they didn't speak to him at all.

Half terrified, half furious, they acted as though any chair with Harry

in it were empty. Although this was an improvement in many ways, it did

become a bit depressing after a while.

 

Harry kept to his room, with his new owl for company. He had decided to

call her Hedwig, a name he had found in A History of Magic. His school

books were very interesting. He lay on his bed reading late into the

night, Hedwig swooping in and out of the open window as she pleased. It

was lucky that Aunt Petunia didn't come in to vacuum anymore, because

Hedwig kept bringing back dead mice. Every night before he went to

sleep, Harry ticked off another day on the piece of paper he had pinned

to the wall, counting down to September the first.

 

On the last day of August he thought he'd better speak to his aunt and

uncle about getting to King's Cross station the next day, so he went

down to the living room where they were watching a quiz show on

television. He cleared his throat to let them know he was there, and

Dudley screamed and ran from the room.

 

"Er -- Uncle Vernon?"

 

Uncle Vernon grunted to show he was listening.

 

"Er -- I need to be at King's Cross tomorrow to -- to go to Hogwarts."

 

Uncle Vernon grunted again.

 

"Would it be all right if you gave me a lift?"

 

Grunt. Harry supposed that meant yes.

 

"Thank you."

 

He was about to go back upstairs when Uncle Vernon actually spoke.

 

"Funny way to get to a wizards' school, the train. Magic carpets all got

punctures, have they?"

 

Harry didn't say anything.

 

"Where is this school, anyway?"

 

"I don't know," said Harry, realizing this for the first time. He pulled

the ticket Hagrid had given him out of his pocket.

 

"I just take the train from platform nine and three-quarters at eleven

o'clock," he read.

 

His aunt and uncle stared.

 

"Platform what?"

 

"Nine and three-quarters."

 

"Don't talk rubbish," said Uncle Vernon. "There is no platform nine and

three-quarters."

 

"It's on my ticket."

 

"Barking," said Uncle Vernon, "howling mad, the lot of them. You'll see.

You just wait. All right, we'll take you to King's Cross. We're going up

to London tomorrow anyway, or I wouldn't bother."

 

"Why are you going to London?" Harry asked, trying to keep things

friendly.

 

"Taking Dudley to the hospital," growled Uncle Vernon. "Got to have that

ruddy tail removed before he goes to Smeltings."

 

Harry woke at five o'clock the next morning and was too excited and

nervous to go back to sleep. He got up and pulled on his jeans because

he didn't want to walk into the station in his wizard's robes -- he'd

change on the train. He checked his Hogwarts list yet again to make sure

he had everything he needed, saw that Hedwig was shut safely in her

cage, and then paced the room, waiting for the Dursleys to get up. Two

hours later, Harry's huge, heavy trunk had been loaded into the

Dursleys' car, Aunt Petunia had talked Dudley into sitting next to

Harry, and they had set off.

 

They reached King's Cross at half past ten. Uncle Vernon dumped Harry's

trunk onto a cart and wheeled it into the station for him. Harry thought

this was strangely kind until Uncle Vernon stopped dead, facing the

platforms with a nasty grin on his face.

 

"Well, there you are, boy. Platform nine -- platform ten. Your platform

should be somewhere in the middle, but they don't seem to have built it

yet, do they?"

 

He was quite right, of course. There was a big plastic number nine over

one platform and a big plastic number ten over the one next to it, and

in the middle, nothing at all.

 

"Have a good term," said Uncle Vernon with an even nastier smile. He

left without another word. Harry turned and saw the Dursleys drive away.

All three of them were laughing. Harry's mouth went rather dry. What on

earth was he going to do? He was starting to attract a lot of funny

looks, because of Hedwig. He'd have to ask someone.

 

He stopped a passing guard, but didn't dare mention platform nine and

three-quarters. The guard had never heard of Hogwarts and when Harry

couldn't even tell him what part of the country it was in, he started to

get annoyed, as though Harry was being stupid on purpose. Getting

desperate, Harry asked for the train that left at eleven o'clock, but

the guard said there wasn't one. In the end the guard strode away,

muttering about time wasters. Harry was now trying hard not to panic.

According to the large clock over the arrivals board, he had ten minutes

left to get on the train to Hogwarts and he had no idea how to do it; he

was stranded in the middle of a station with a trunk he could hardly

lift, a pocket full of wizard money, and a large owl.

 

Hagrid must have forgotten to tell him something you had to do, like

tapping the third brick on the left to get into Diagon Alley. He

wondered if he should get out his wand and start tapping the ticket

inspector's stand between platforms nine and ten.

 

At that moment a group of people passed just behind him and he caught a

few words of what they were saying.

 

"-- packed with Muggles, of course --"

 

Harry swung round. The speaker was a plump woman who was talking to four

boys, all with flaming red hair. Each of them was pushing a trunk like

Harry's in front of him -- and they had an owl.

 

Heart hammering, Harry pushed his cart after them. They stopped and so

did he, just near enough to hear what they were saying.

 

"Now, what's the platform number?" said the boys' mother.

 

"Nine and three-quarters!" piped a small girl, also red-headed, who was

holding her hand, "Mom, can't I go... "

 

"You're not old enough, Ginny, now be quiet. All right, Percy, you go

first."

 

What looked like the oldest boy marched toward platforms nine and ten.

Harry watched, careful not to blink in case he missed it -- but just as

the boy reached the dividing barrier between the two platforms, a large

crowd of tourists came swarming in front of him and by the time the last

backpack had cleared away, the boy had vanished.

 

"Fred, you next," the plump woman said.

 

"I'm not Fred, I'm George," said the boy. "Honestly, woman, you call

yourself our mother? CarA you tell I'm George?"

 

"Sorry, George, dear."

 

"Only joking, I am Fred," said the boy, and off he went. His twin called

after him to hurry up, and he must have done so, because a second later,

he had gone -- but how had he done it?

 

Now the third brother was walking briskly toward the barrier he was

almost there -- and then, quite suddenly, he wasn't anywhere.

 

There was nothing else for it.

 

"Excuse me," Harry said to the plump woman.

 

"Hello, dear," she said. "First time at Hogwarts? Ron's new, too."

 

She pointed at the last and youngest of her sons. He was tall, thin, and

gangling, with freckles, big hands and feet, and a long nose.

 

"Yes," said Harry. "The thing is -- the thing is, I don't know how to

--"

 

"How to get onto the platform?" she said kindly, and Harry nodded.

 

"Not to worry," she said. "All you have to do is walk straight at the

barrier between platforms nine and ten. Don't stop and don't be scared

you'll crash into it, that's very important. Best do it at a bit of a

run if you're nervous. Go on, go now before Ron."

 

"Er -- okay," said Harry.

 

He pushed his trolley around and stared at the barrier. It looked very

solid.

 

He started to walk toward it. People jostled him on their way to

platforms nine and ten. Harry walked more quickly. He was going to smash

right into that barrier and then he'd be in trouble -- leaning forward

on his cart, he broke into a heavy run -- the barrier was coming nearer

and nearer -- he wouldn't be able to stop -- the cart was out of control

-- he was a foot away -- he closed his eyes ready for the crash --

 

It didn't come... he kept on running... he opened his eyes. A scarlet

steam engine was waiting next to a platform packed with people. A sign

overhead said Hogwarts Express, eleven O'clock. Harry looked behind him

and saw a wrought-iron archway where the barrier had been, with the

words Platform Nine and Three-Quarters on it, He had done it.

 

Smoke from the engine drifted over the heads of the chattering crowd,

while cats of every color wound here and there between their legs. Owls

hooted to one another in a disgruntled sort of way over the babble and

the scraping of heavy trunks.

 

The first few carriages were already packed with students, some hanging

out of the window to talk to their families, some fighting over seats.

Harry pushed his cart off down the platform in search of an empty seat.

He passed a round-faced boy who was saying, "Gran, I've lost my toad

again."

 

"Oh, Neville," he heard the old woman sigh.

 

A boy with dreadlocks was surrounded by a small crowd.

 

"Give us a look, Lee, go on."

 

The boy lifted the lid of a box in his arms, and the people around him

shrieked and yelled as something inside poked out a long, hairy leg.

 

Harry pressed on through the crowd until he found an empty compartment

near the end of the train. He put Hedwig inside first and then started

to shove and heave his trunk toward the train door. He tried to lift it

up the steps but could hardly raise one end and twice he dropped it

painfully on his foot.

 

"Want a hand?" It was one of the red-haired twins he'd followed through

the barrier.

 

"Yes, please," Harry panted.

 

"Oy, Fred! C'mere and help!"

 

With the twins' help, Harry's trunk was at last tucked away in a corner

of the compartment.

 

"Thanks," said Harry, pushing his sweaty hair out of his eyes.

 

"What's that?" said one of the twins suddenly, pointing at Harry's

lightning scar.

 

"Blimey," said the other twin. "Are you

 

"He is," said the first twin. "Aren't you?" he added to Harry.

 

"What?" said Harry.

 

"Harry Potter, "chorused the twins.

 

"Oh, him," said Harry. "I mean, yes, I am."

 

The two boys gawked at him, and Harry felt himself turning red. Then, to

his relief, a voice came floating in through the train's open door.

 

"Fred? George? Are you there?"

 

"Coming, Mom."

 

With a last look at Harry, the twins hopped off the train.

 

Harry sat down next to the window where, half hidden, he could watch the

red-haired family on the platform and hear what they were saying. Their

mother had just taken out her handkerchief.

 

"Ron, you've got something on your nose."

 

The youngest boy tried to jerk out of the way, but she grabbed him and

began rubbing the end of his nose.

 

"Mom -- geroff" He wriggled free.

 

"Aaah, has ickle Ronnie got somefink on his nosie?" said one of the

twins.

 

"Shut up," said Ron.

 

"Where's Percy?" said their mother.

 

"He's coming now."

 

The oldest boy came striding into sight. He had already changed into his

billowing black Hogwarts robes, and Harry noticed a shiny silver badge

on his chest with the letter P on it.

 

"Can't stay long, Mother," he said. "I'm up front, the prefects have got

two compartments to themselves --"

 

"Oh, are you a prefect, Percy?" said one of the twins, with an air of

great surprise. "You should have said something, we had no idea."

 

"Hang on, I think I remember him saying something about it," said the

other twin. "Once --"

 

"Or twice --"

 

"A minute --"

 

"All summer --"

 

"Oh, shut up," said Percy the Prefect.

 

"How come Percy gets new robes, anyway?" said one of the twins.

 

"Because he's a prefect," said their mother fondly. "All right, dear,

well, have a good term -- send me an owl when you get there."

 

She kissed Percy on the cheek and he left. Then she turned to the twins.

 

"Now, you two -- this year, you behave yourselves. If I get one more owl

telling me you've -- you've blown up a toilet or --"

 

"Blown up a toilet? We've never blown up a toilet."

 

"Great idea though, thanks, Mom."

 

"It's not funny. And look after Ron."

 

"Don't worry, ickle Ronniekins is safe with us."

 

"Shut up," said Ron again. He was almost as tall as the twins already

and his nose was still pink where his mother had rubbed it.

 

"Hey, Mom, guess what? Guess who we just met on the train?"

 

Harry leaned back quickly so they couldn't see him looking.

 

"You know that black-haired boy who was near us in the station? Know who

he is?"

 

"Who?"

 

"Harry Potter!"

 

Harry heard the little girl's voice.

 

"Oh, Mom, can I go on the train and see him, Mom, eh please...."

 

"You've already seen him, Ginny, and the poor boy isn't something you

goggle at in a zoo. Is he really, Fred? How do you know?"

 

"Asked him. Saw his scar. It's really there - like lightning."

 

"Poor dear - no wonder he was alone, I wondered. He was ever so polite

when he asked how to get onto the platform."

 

"Never mind that, do you think he remembers what You-Know-Who looks

like?"

 

Their mother suddenly became very stern.

 

"I forbid you to ask him, Fred. No, don't you dare. As though he needs

reminding of that on his first day at school."

 

"All right, keep your hair on."

 

A whistle sounded.

 

"Hurry up!" their mother said, and the three boys clambered onto the

train. They leaned out of the window for her to kiss them good-bye, and

their younger sister began to cry.

 

"Don't, Ginny, we'll send you loads of owls."

 

"We'll send you a Hogwarts toilet seat."

 

"George!"

 

"Only joking, Mom."

 

The train began to move. Harry saw the boys' mother waving and their

sister, half laughing, half crying, running to keep up with the train

until it gathered too much speed, then she fell back and waved.

 

Harry watched the girl and her mother disappear as the train rounded the





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