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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 9 страница. At the very end of the corridor hung a portrait of a very fat woman in a



At the very end of the corridor hung a portrait of a very fat woman in a

pink silk dress.

 

"Password?" she said. "Caput Draconis," said Percy, and the portrait

swung forward to reveal a round hole in the wall. They all scrambled

through it -- Neville needed a leg up -- and found themselves in the

Gryffindor common room, a cozy, round room full of squashy armchairs.

 

Percy directed the girls through one door to their dormitory and the

boys through another. At the top of a spiral staircase -- they were

obviously in one of the towers -- they found their beds at last: five

four-posters hung with deep red, velvet curtains. Their trunks had

already been brought up. Too tired to talk much, they pulled on their

pajamas and fell into bed.

 

" Great food, isn't it?" Ron muttered to Harry through the hangings.

"Get off, Scabbers! He's chewing my sheets."

 

Harry was going to ask Ron if he'd had any of the treacle tart, but he

fell asleep almost at once.

 

Perhaps Harry had eaten a bit too much, because he had a very strange

dream. He was wearing Professor Quirrell's turban, which kept talking to

him, telling him he must transfer to Slytherin at once, because it was

his destiny. Harry told the turban he didn't want to be in Slytherin; it

got heavier and heavier; he tried to pull it off but it tightened

painfully -- and there was Malfoy, laughing at him as he struggled with

it -then Malfoy turned into the hook-nosed teacher, Snape, whose laugh

became high and cold -- there was a burst of green light and Harry woke,

sweating and shaking.

 

He rolled over and fell asleep again, and when he woke next day, he

didn't remember the dream at all.

 

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

 

THE POTIONS MASTER

 

There, look."

 

"Where?"

 

"Next to the tall kid with the red hair."

 

"Wearing the glasses?"

 

"Did you see his face?"

 

"Did you see his scar?"

 

Whispers followed Harry from the moment he left his dormitory the next

day. People lining up outside classrooms stood on tiptoe to get a look

at him, or doubled back to pass him in the corridors again, staring.

Harry wished they wouldn't, because he was trying to concentrate on

finding his way to classes.

 

There were a hundred and forty-two staircases at Hogwarts: wide,

sweeping ones; narrow, rickety ones; some that led somewhere different

on a Friday; some with a vanishing step halfway up that you had to



remember to jump. Then there were doors that wouldn't open unless you

asked politely, or tickled them in exactly the right place, and doors

that weren't really doors at all, but solid walls just pretending. It

was also very hard to remember where anything was, because it all seemed

to move around a lot. The people in the portraits kept going to visit

each other, and Harry was sure the coats of armor could walk.

 

The ghosts didn't help, either. It was always a nasty shock when one of

them glided suddenly through a door you were trying to open. Nearly

Headless Nick was always happy to point new Gryffindors in the right

direction, but Peeves the Poltergeist was worth two locked doors and a

trick staircase if you met him when you were late for class. He would

drop wastepaper baskets on your head, pull rugs from under your feet,

pelt you with bits of chalk, or sneak up behind you, invisible, grab

your nose, and screech, "GOT YOUR CONK!"

 

Even worse than Peeves, if that was possible, was the caretaker, Argus

Filch. Harry and Ron managed to get on the wrong side of him on their

very first morning. Filch found them trying to force their way through a

door that unluckily turned out to be the entrance to the out-of-bounds

corridor on the third floor. He wouldn't believe they were lost, was

sure they were trying to break into it on purpose, and was threatening

to lock them in the dungeons when they were rescued by Professor

Quirrell, who was passing.

 

Filch owned a cat called Mrs. Norris, a scrawny, dust-colored creature

with bulging, lamp like eyes just like Filch's. She patrolled the

corridors alone. Break a rule in front of her, put just one toe out of

line, and she'd whisk off for Filch, who'd appear, wheezing, two seconds

later. Filch knew the secret passageways of the school better than

anyone (except perhaps the Weasley twins) and could pop up as suddenly

as any of the ghosts. The students all hated him, and it was the dearest

ambition of many to give Mrs. Norris a good kick.

 

And then, once you had managed to find them, there were the classes

themselves. There was a lot more to magic, as Harry quickly found out,

than waving your wand and saying a few funny words.

 

They had to study the night skies through their telescopes every

Wednesday at midnight and learn the names of different stars and the

movements of the planets. Three times a week they went out to the

greenhouses behind the castle to study Herbology, with a dumpy little

witch called Professor Sprout, where they learned how to take care of

all the strange plants and fungi, and found out what they were used for.

 

Easily the most boring class was History of Magic, which was the only

one taught by a ghost. Professor Binns had been very old

 

indeed when he had fallen asleep in front of the staff room fire and got

up next morning to teach, leaving his body behind him. Binns droned on

and on while they scribbled down names and dates, and got Emetic the

Evil and Uric the Oddball mixed up.

 

Professor Flitwick, the Charms teacher, was a tiny little wizard who had

to stand on a pile of books to see over his desk. At the start of their

first class he took the roll call, and when he reached Harry's name he

gave an excited squeak and toppled out of sight.

 

Professor McGonagall was again different. Harry had been quite right to

think she wasn't a teacher to cross. Strict and clever, she gave them a

talking-to the moment they sat down in her first class.

 

"Transfiguration is some of the most complex and dangerous magic you

will learn at Hogwarts," she said. "Anyone messing around in my class

will leave and not come back. You have been warned."

 

Then she changed her desk into a pig and back again. They were all very

impressed and couldn't wait to get started, but soon realized they

weren't going to be changing the furniture into animals for a long time.

After taking a lot of complicated notes, they were each given a match

and started trying to turn it into a needle. By the end of the lesson,

only Hermione Granger had made any difference to her match; Professor

McGonagall showed the class how it had gone all silver and pointy and

gave Hermione a rare smile.

 

The class everyone had really been looking forward to was Defense

Against the Dark Arts, but Quirrell's lessons turned out to be a bit of

a joke. His classroom smelled strongly of garlic, which everyone said

was to ward off a vampire he'd met in Romania and was afraid would be

coming back to get him one of these days. His turban, he told them, had

been given to him by an African prince as a thank-you for getting rid of

a troublesome zombie, but they weren't sure they believed this story.

For one thing, when Seamus Finnigan asked eagerly to hear how Quirrell

had fought off the zombie, Quirrell went pink and started talking about

the weather; for another, they had noticed that a funny smell hung

around the turban, and the Weasley twins insisted that it was stuffed

full of garlic as well, so that Quirrell was protected wherever he went.

 

Harry was very relieved to find out that he wasn't miles behind everyone

else. Lots of people had come from Muggle families and, like him, hadn't

had any idea that they were witches and wizards. There was so much to

learn that even people like Ron didn't have much of a head start.

 

Friday was an important day for Harry and Ron. They finally managed to

find their way down to the Great Hall for breakfast without getting lost

once.

 

"What have we got today?" Harry asked Ron as he poured sugar on his

porridge.

 

"Double Potions with the Slytherins," said Ron. "Snape's Head of

Slytherin House. They say he always favors them -- we'll be able to see

if it's true."

 

"Wish McGonagall favored us, " said Harry. Professor McGonagall was head

of Gryffindor House, but it hadn't stopped her from giving them a huge

pile of homework the day before.

 

Just then, the mail arrived. Harry had gotten used to this by now, but

it had given him a bit of a shock on the first morning, when about a

hundred owls had suddenly streamed into the Great Hall during breakfast,

circling the tables until they saw their owners, and dropping letters

and packages onto their laps.

 

Hedwig hadn't brought Harry anything so far. She sometimes flew in to

nibble his ear and have a bit of toast before going off to sleep in the

owlery with the other school owls. This morning, however, she fluttered

down between the marmalade and the sugar bowl and dropped a note onto

Harry's plate. Harry tore it open at once. It said, in a very untidy

scrawl:

 

 

Dear Harry,

 

I know you get Friday afternoons off, so would you like to come and have

a cup of tea with me around three?

 

I want to hear all about your first week. Send us an answer back with

Hedwig.

 

Hagrid

 

 

Harry borrowed Ron's quill, scribbled Yes, please, see you later on the

back of the note, and sent Hedwig off again.

 

It was lucky that Harry had tea with Hagrid to look forward to, because

the Potions lesson turned out to be the worst thing that had happened to

him so far.

 

At the start-of-term banquet, Harry had gotten the idea that Professor

Snape disliked him. By the end of the first Potions lesson, he knew he'd

been wrong. Snape didn't dislike Harry -- he hated him.

 

Potions lessons took place down in one of the dungeons. It was colder

here than up in the main castle, and would have been quite creepy enough

without the pickled animals floating in glass jars all around the walls.

 

Snape, like Flitwick, started the class by taking the roll call, and

like Flitwick, he paused at Harry's name.

 

"Ah, Yes," he said softly, "Harry Potter. Our new -- celebrity."

 

Draco Malfoy and his friends Crabbe and Goyle sniggered behind their

hands. Snape finished calling the names and looked up at the class. His

eyes were black like Hagrid's, but they had none of Hagrid's warmth.

They were cold and empty and made you think of dark tunnels.

 

"You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of

potionmaking," he began. He spoke in barely more than a whisper, but

they caught every word -- like Professor McGonagall, Snape had y caught

every word -- like Professor McGonagall, Snape had the gift of keeping a

class silent without effort. "As there is little foolish wand-waving

here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don't expect you

will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with

its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through

human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses.... I can teach

you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death -- if you aren't

as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach."

 

More silence followed this little speech. Harry and Ron exchanged looks

with raised eyebrows. Hermione Granger was on the edge of her seat and

looked desperate to start proving that she wasn't a dunderhead.

 

"Potter!" said Snape suddenly. "What would I get if I added powdered

root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?"

 

Powdered root of what to an infusion of what? Harry glanced at Ron, who

looked as stumped as he was; Hermione's hand had shot into the air.

 

"I don't know, sit," said Harry.

 

Snape's lips curled into a sneer.

 

"Tut, tut -- fame clearly isn't everything."

 

He ignored Hermione's hand.

 

"Let's try again. Potter, where would you look if I told you to find me

a bezoar?"

 

Hermione stretched her hand as high into the air as it would go without

her leaving her seat, but Harry didn't have the faintest idea what a

bezoar was. He tried not to look at Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle, who were

shaking with laughter.

 

"I don't know, sit." "Thought you wouldn't open a book before coming,

eh, Potter?" Harry forced himself to keep looking straight into those

cold eyes. He had looked through his books at the Dursleys', but did

Snape expect him to remember everything in One Thousand Magical Herbs

and Fungi?

 

Snape was still ignoring Hermione's quivering hand.

 

"What is the difference, Potter, between monkshood and wolfsbane?"

 

At this, Hermione stood up, her hand stretching toward the dungeon

ceiling.

 

"I don't know," said Harry quietly. "I think Hermione does, though, why

don't you try her?"

 

A few people laughed; Harry caught Seamus's eye, and Seamus winked.

Snape, however, was not pleased.

 

"Sit down," he snapped at Hermione. "For your information, Potter,

asphodel and wormwood make a sleeping potion so powerful it is known as

the Draught of Living Death. A bezoar is a stone taken from the stomach

of a goat and it will save you from most poisons. As for monkshood and

wolfsbane, they are the same plant, which also goes by the name of

aconite. Well? Why aren't you all copying that down?"

 

There was a sudden rummaging for quills and parchment. Over the noise,

Snape said, "And a point will be taken from Gryffindor House for your

cheek, Potter."

 

Things didn't improve for the Gryffindors as the Potions lesson

continued. Snape put them all into pairs and set them to mixing up a

simple potion to cure boils. He swept around in his long black cloak,

watching them weigh dried nettles and crush snake fangs, criticizing

almost everyone except Malfoy, whom he seemed to like. He was just

telling everyone to look at the perfect way Malfoy had stewed his horned

slugs when clouds of acid green smoke and a loud hissing filled the

dungeon. Neville had somehow managed to melt Seamus's cauldron into a

twisted blob, and their potion was seeping across the stone floor,

burning holes in people's shoes. Within seconds, the whole class was

standing on their stools while Neville, who had been drenched in the

potion when the cauldron collapsed, moaned in pain as angry red boils

sprang up all over his arms and legs.

 

"Idiot boy!" snarled Snape, clearing the spilled potion away with one

wave of his wand. "I suppose you added the porcupine quills before

taking the cauldron off the fire?"

 

Neville whimpered as boils started to pop up all over his nose.

 

"Take him up to the hospital wing," Snape spat at Seamus. Then he

rounded on Harry and Ron, who had been working next to Neville.

 

"You -- Potter -- why didn't you tell him not to add the quills? Thought

he'd make you look good if he got it wrong, did you? That's another

point you've lost for Gryffindor."

 

This was so unfair that Harry opened his mouth to argue, but Ron kicked

him behind their cauldron.

 

"Doi* push it," he muttered, "I've heard Snape can turn very nasty."

 

As they climbed the steps out of the dungeon an hour later, Harry's mind

was racing and his spirits were low. He'd lost two points for Gryffindor

in his very first week -- why did Snape hate him so much? "Cheer up,"

said Ron, "Snape's always taking points off Fred and George. Can I come

and meet Hagrid with you?"

 

At five to three they left the castle and made their way across the

grounds. Hagrid lived in a small wooden house on the edge of the

forbidden forest. A crossbow and a pair of galoshes were outside the

front door.

 

When Harry knocked they heard a frantic scrabbling from inside and

several booming barks. Then Hagrid's voice rang out, saying, "Back, Fang

-- back."

 

Hagrid's big, hairy face appeared in the crack as he pulled the door

open.

 

"Hang on," he said. "Back, Fang."

 

He let them in, struggling to keep a hold on the collar of an enormous

black boarhound.

 

There was only one room inside. Hams and pheasants were hanging from the

ceiling, a copper kettle was boiling on the open fire, and in the corner

stood a massive bed with a patchwork quilt over it.

 

"Make yerselves at home," said Hagrid, letting go of Fang, who bounded

straight at Ron and started licking his ears. Like Hagrid, Fang was

clearly not as fierce as he looked.

 

"This is Ron," Harry told Hagrid, who was pouring boiling water into a

large teapot and putting rock cakes onto a plate.

 

"Another Weasley, eh?" said Hagrid, glancing at Ron's freckles. I spent

half me life chasin' yer twin brothers away from the forest."

 

The rock cakes were shapeless lumps with raisins that almost broke their

teeth, but Harry and Ron pretended to be enjoying them as they told

Hagrid all about their first -lessons. Fang rested his head on Harry's

knee and drooled all over his robes.

 

Harry and Ron were delighted to hear Hagrid call Fitch "that old git."

 

"An' as fer that cat, Mrs. Norris, I'd like ter introduce her to Fang

sometime. D'yeh know, every time I go up ter the school, she follows me

everywhere? Can't get rid of her -- Fitch puts her up to it."

 

Harry told Hagrid about Snape's lesson. Hagrid, like Ron, told Harry not

to worry about it, that Snape liked hardly any of the students.

 

"But he seemed to really hate me."

 

"Rubbish!" said Hagrid. "Why should he?"

 

Yet Harry couldn't help thinking that Hagrid didn't quite meet his eyes

when he said that.

 

"How's yer brother Charlie?" Hagrid asked Ron. "I liked him a lot --

great with animals."

 

Harry wondered if Hagrid had changed the subject on purpose. While Ron

told Hagrid all about Charlie's work with dragons, Harry picked up a

piece of paper that was lying on the table under the tea cozy. It was a

cutting from the Daily Prophet:

 

GRINGOTTS BREAK-IN LATEST

 

Investigations continue into the break-in at Gringotts on 31 July,

widely believed to be the work of Dark wizards or witches unknown.

 

Gringotts goblins today insisted that nothing had been taken. The vault

that was searched had in fact been emptied the same day.

 

"But we're not telling you what was in there, so keep your noses out if

you know what's good for you," said a Gringotts spokesgoblin this

afternoon.

 

Harry remembered Ron telling him on the train that someone had tried to

rob Gringotts, but Ron hadn't mentioned the date.

 

"Hagrid!" said Harry, "that Gringotts break-in happened on my birthday!

It might've been happening while we were there!"

 

There was no doubt about it, Hagrid definitely didn't meet Harry's eyes

this time. He grunted and offered him another rock cake. Harry read the

story again. The vault that was searched had in fact been emptied

earlier that same day. Hagrid had emptied vault seven hundred and

thirteen, if you could call it emptying, taking out that grubby little

package. Had that been what the thieves were looking for?

 

As Harry and Ron walked back to the castle for dinner, their pockets

weighed down with rock cakes they'd been too polite to refuse, Harry

thought that none of the lessons he'd had so far had given him as much

to think about as tea with Hagrid. Had Hagrid collected that package

just in time? Where was it now? And did Hagrid know something about

Snape that he didn't want to tell Harry?

 

 

CHAPTER NINE

 

THE MIDNIGHT DUEL

 

Harry had never believed he would meet a boy he hated more than Dudley,

but that was before he met Draco Malfoy. Still, first-year

Gryffindors only had Potions with the Slytherins, so they didn't have to

put up with Malfoy much. Or at least, they didn't until they spotted a

notice pinned up in the Gryffindor common room that made them all groan.

Flying lessons would be starting on Thursday -- and Gryffindor and

Slytherin would be learning together.

 

"Typical," said Harry darkly. "Just what I always wanted. To make a fool

of myself on a broomstick in front of Malfoy."

 

He had been looking forward to learning to fly more than anything else.

 

"You don't know that you'll make a fool of yourself," said Ron

reasonably. "Anyway, I know Malfoy's always going on about how good he

is at Quidditch, but I bet that's all talk."

 

Malfay certainly did talk about flying a lot. He complained loudly about

first years never getting on the house Quidditch teams and told long,

boastful stories that always seemed to end with him narrowly escaping

Muggles in helicopters. He wasn't the only one, though: the way Seamus

Finnigan told it, he'd spent most of his childhood zooming around the

countryside on his broomstick. Even Ron would tell anyone who'd listen

about the time he'd almost hit a hang glider on Charlie's old broom.

Everyone from wizarding families talked about Quidditch constantly. Ron

had already had a big argument with Dean Thomas, who shared their

dormitory, about soccer. Ron couldn't see what was exciting about a game

with only one ball where no one was allowed to fly. Harry had caught Ron

prodding Dean's poster of West Ham soccer team, trying to make the

players move.

 

Neville had never been on a broomstick in his life, because his

grandmother had never let him near one. Privately, Harry felt she'd had

good reason, because Neville managed to have an extraordinary number of

accidents even with both feet on the ground.

 

Hermione Granger was almost as nervous about flying as Neville was. This

was something you couldn't learn by heart out of a book -- not that she

hadn't tried. At breakfast on Thursday she bored them all stupid with

flying tips she'd gotten out of a library book called Quidditch Through

the Ages. Neville was hanging on to her every word, desperate for

anything that might help him hang on to his broomstick later, but

everybody else was very pleased when Hermione's lecture was interrupted

by the arrival of the mail.

 

Harry hadn't had a single letter since Hagrid's note, something that

Malfoy had been quick to notice, of course. Malfoy's eagle owl was

always bringing him packages of sweets from home, which he opened

gloatingly at the Slytherin table.

 

A barn owl brought Neville a small package from his grandmother. He

opened it excitedly and showed them a glass ball the size of a large

marble, which seemed to be full of white smoke.

 

"It's a Remembrall!" he explained. "Gran knows I forget things -- this

tells you if there's something you've forgotten to do. Look, you hold it

tight like this and if it turns red -- oh..." His face fell, because the

Remembrall had suddenly glowed scarlet,

 

"You've forgotten something..."

 

Neville was trying to remember what he'd forgotten when Draco Malfoy,

who was passing the Gryffindor table, snatched the Remembrall out of his

hand.

 

Harry and Ron jumped to their feet. They were half hoping for a reason

to fight Malfay, but Professor McGonagall, who could spot trouble

quicker than any teacher in the school, was there in a flash.

 

"What's going on?"

 

"Malfoy's got my Remembrall, Professor."

 

Scowling, Malfoy quickly dropped the Remembrall back on the table.

 

"Just looking," he said, and he sloped away with Crabbe and Goyle behind

him.

 

At three-thirty that afternoon, Harry, Ron, and the other Gryffindors

hurried down the front steps onto the grounds for their first flying

lesson. It was a clear, breezy day, and the grass rippled under their

feet as they marched down the sloping lawns toward a smooth, flat lawn

on the opposite side of the grounds to the forbidden forest, whose trees

were swaying darkly in the distance.

 

The Slytherins were already there, and so were twenty broomsticks lying

in neat lines on the ground. Harry had heard Fred and George Weasley

complain about the school brooms, saying that some of them started to

vibrate if you flew too high, or always flew slightly to the left.

 

Their teacher, Madam Hooch, arrived. She had short, gray hair, and

yellow eyes like a hawk.

 

"Well, what are you all waiting for?" she barked. "Everyone stand by a

broomstick. Come on, hurry up."

 

Harry glanced down at his broom. It was old and some of the twigs stuck

out at odd angles.

 

"Stick out your right hand over your broom," called Madam Hooch at the

front, "and say 'Up!"'

 

"UPF everyone shouted.

 

Harry's broom jumped into his hand at once, but it was one of the few





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