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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 10 страница. that did. Hermione Granger's had simply rolled over on the ground, and



that did. Hermione Granger's had simply rolled over on the ground, and

Neville's hadn't moved at all. Perhaps brooms, like horses, could tell

when you were afraid, thought Harry; there was a quaver in Neville's

voice that said only too clearly that he wanted to keep his feet on the

ground.

 

Madam Hooch then showed them how to mount their brooms without sliding

off the end, and walked up and down the rows correcting their grips.

Harry and Ron were delighted when she told Malfoy he'd been doing it

wrong for years.

 

"Now, when I blow my whistle, you kick off from the ground, hard," said

Madam Hooch. "Keep your brooms steady, rise a few feet, and then come

straight back down by leaning forward slightly. On my whistle -- three

-- two --"

 

But Neville, nervous and jumpy and frightened of being left on the

ground, pushed off hard before the whistle had touched Madam Hooch's

lips.

 

"Come back, boy!" she shouted, but Neville was rising straight up like a

cork shot out of a bottle -- twelve feet -- twenty feet. Harry saw his

scared white face look down at the ground falling away, saw him gasp,

slip sideways off the broom and --

 

WHAM -- a thud and a nasty crack and Neville lay facedown on the grass

in a heap. His broomstick was still rising higher and higher, and

started to drift lazily toward the forbidden forest and out of sight.

 

Madam Hooch was bending over Neville, her face as white as his.

 

"Broken wrist," Harry heard her mutter. "Come on, boy -- it's all right,

up you get.".

 

She turned to the rest of the class.

 

"None of you is to move while I take this boy to the hospital wing! You

leave those brooms where they are or you'll be out of Hogwarts before

you can say 'Quidditch.' Come on, dear."

 

Neville, his face tear-streaked, clutching his wrist, hobbled off with

Madam Hooch, who had her arm around him.

 

No sooner were they out of earshot than Malfoy burst into laughter.

 

"Did you see his face, the great lump?"

 

The other Slytherins joined in.

 

"Shut up, Malfoy," snapped Parvati Patil.

 

"Ooh, sticking up for Longbottom?" said Pansy Parkinson, a hard-faced

Slytherin girl. "Never thought you'd like fat little crybabies,

Parvati."

 

"Look!" said Malfoy, darting forward and snatching something out of the

grass. "It's that stupid thing Longbottom's gran sent him."



 

The Remembrall glittered in the sun as he held it up.

 

"Give that here, Malfoy," said Harry quietly. Everyone stopped talking

to watch.

 

Malfoy smiled nastily.

 

"I think I'll leave it somewhere for Longbottom to find -- how about --

up a tree?"

 

"Give it here!" Harry yelled, but Malfoy had leapt onto his broomstick

and taken off. He hadn't been lying, he could fly well. Hovering level

with the topmost branches of an oak he called, "Come and get it,

Potter!"

 

Harry grabbed his broom.

 

"No!" shouted Hermione Granger. "Madam Hooch told us not to move --

you'll get us all into trouble."

 

Harry ignored her. Blood was pounding in his ears. He mounted the broom

and kicked hard against the ground and up, up he soared; air rushed

through his hair, and his robes whipped out behind him -and in a rush of

fierce joy he realized he'd found something he could do without being

taught -- this was easy, this was wonderful. He pulled his broomstick up

a little to take it even higher, and heard screams and gasps of girls

back on the ground and an admiring whoop from Ron.

 

He turned his broomstick sharply to face Malfoy in midair. Malfoy looked

stunned.

 

"Give it here," Harry called, "or I'll knock you off that broom!" "Oh,

yeah?" said Malfoy, trying to sneer, but looking worried.

 

Harry knew, somehow, what to do. He leaned forward and grasped the broom

tightly in both hands, and it shot toward Malfay like a javelin. Malfoy

only just got out of the way in time; Harry made a sharp about-face and

held the broom steady. A few people below were clapping.

 

"No Crabbe and Goyle up here to save your neck, Malfoy," Harry called.

 

The same thought seemed to have struck Malfoy.

 

"Catch it if you can, then!" he shouted, and he threw the glass ball

high into the air and streaked back toward the ground.

 

Harry saw, as though in slow motion, the ball rise up in the air and

then start to fall. He leaned forward and pointed his broom handle down

-- next second he was gathering speed in a steep dive, racing the ball

-- wind whistled in his ears, mingled with the screams of people

watching -- he stretched out his hand -- a foot from the ground he

caught it, just in time to pull his broom straight, and he toppled

gently onto the grass with the Remembrall clutched safely in his fist.

 

"HARRY POTTER!"

 

His heart sank faster than he'd just dived. Professor McGonagall was

running toward them. He got to his feet, trembling.

 

"Never -- in all my time at Hogwarts --"

 

Professor McGonagall was almost speechless with shock, and her glasses

flashed furiously, "-- how dare you -- might have broken your neck --"

 

"It wasn't his fault, Professor --"

 

"Be quiet, Miss Patil

 

"But Malfoy --"

 

"That's enough, Mr. Weasley. Potter, follow me, now."

 

Harry caught sight of Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle's triumphant faces as he

left, walking numbly in Professor McGonagall's wake as she strode toward

the castle. He was going to be expelled, he just knew it. He wanted to

say something to defend himself, but there seemed to be something wrong

with his voice. Professor McGonagall was sweeping along without even

looking at him; he had to jog to keep up. Now he'd done it. He hadn't

even lasted two weeks. He'd be packing his bags in ten minutes. What

would the Dursleys say when he turned up on the doorstep?

 

Up the front steps, up the marble staircase inside, and still Professor

McGonagall didn't say a word to him. She wrenched open doors and marched

along corridors with Harry trotting miserably behind her. Maybe she was

taking him to Dumbledore. He thought of Hagrid, expelled but allowed to

stay on as gamekeeper. Perhaps he could be Hagrid's assistant. His

stomach twisted as he imagined it, watching Ron and the others becoming

wizards, while he stumped around the grounds carrying Hagrid's bag.

 

Professor McGonagall stopped outside a classroom. She opened the door

and poked her head inside.

 

"Excuse me, Professor Flitwick, could I borrow Wood for a moment?"

 

Wood? thought Harry, bewildered; was Wood a cane she was going to use on

him?

 

But Wood turned out to be a person, a burly fifth-year boy who came out

of Flitwicles class looking confused.

 

"Follow me, you two," said Professor McGonagall, and they marched on up

the corridor, Wood looking curiously at Harry.

 

"In here."

 

Professor McGonagall pointed them into a classroom that was empty except

for Peeves, who was busy writing rude words on the blackboard.

 

"Out, Peeves!" she barked. Peeves threw the chalk into a bin, which

clanged loudly, and he swooped out cursing. Professor McGonagall slammed

the door behind him and turned to face the two boys.

 

"Potter, this is Oliver Wood. Wood -- I've found you a Seeker."

 

Wood's expression changed from puzzlement to delight.

 

"Are you serious, Professor?"

 

"Absolutely," said Professor McGonagall crisply. "The boy's a natural.

I've never seen anything like it. Was that your first time on a

broomstick, Potter?"

 

Harry nodded silently. He didn't have a clue what was going on, but he

didn't seem to be being expelled, and some of the feeling started coming

back to his legs.

 

"He caught that thing in his hand after a fifty-foot dive," Professor

McGonagall told Wood. "Didn't even scratch himself. Charlie Weasley

couldn't have done it."

 

Wood was now looking as though all his dreams had come true at once.

 

"Ever seen a game of Quidditch, Potter?" he asked excitedly.

 

"Wood's captain of the Gryffindor team," Professor McGonagall explained.

 

"He's just the build for a Seeker, too," said Wood, now walking around

Harry and staring at him. "Light -- speedy -- we'll have to get him a

decent broom, Professor -- a Nimbus Two Thousand or a Cleansweep Seven,

I'd say."

 

I shall speak to Professor Dumbledore and see if we can't bend the

first-year rule. Heaven knows, we need a better team than last year.

Flattened in that last match by Slytherin, I couldn't look Severus Snape

in the face for weeks...."

 

Professor McGonagall peered sternly over her glasses at Harry.

 

"I want to hear you're training hard, Potter, or I may change my mind

about punishing you."

 

Then she suddenly smiled.

 

"Your father would have been proud," she said. "He was an excellent

Quidditch player himself."

 

"You're joking."

 

It was dinnertime. Harry had just finished telling Ron what had happened

when he'd left the grounds with Professor McGonagall. Ron had a piece of

steak and kidney pie halfway to his mouth, but he'd forgotten all about

it.

 

"Seeker?" he said. "But first years never -- you must be the youngest

house player in about a century, said Harry, shoveling pie into his

mouth. He felt particularly hungry after the excitement of the

afternoon. "Wood told me."

 

Ron was so amazed, so impressed, he just sat and gaped at Harry.

 

"I start training next week," said Harry. "Only don't tell anyone, Wood

wants to keep it a secret."

 

Fred and George Weasley now came into the hall, spotted Harry, and

hurried over.

 

"Well done," said George in a low voice. "Wood told us. We're on the

team too -- Beaters."

 

"I tell you, we're going to win that Quidditch cup for sure this year,"

said Fred. "We haven't won since Charlie left, but this year's team is

going to be brilliant. You must be good, Harry, Wood was almost skipping

when he told us."

 

"Anyway, we've got to go, Lee Jordan reckons he's found a new secret

passageway out of the school."

 

"Bet it's that one behind the statue of Gregory the Smarmy that we found

in our first week. See you."

 

Fred and George had hardly disappeared when someone far less welcome

turned up: Malfoy, flanked by Crabbe and Goyle.

 

"Having a last meal, Potter? When are you getting the train back to the

Muggles?"

 

"You're a lot braver now that you're back on the ground and you've got

your little friends with you," said Harry coolly. There was of course

nothing at all little about Crabbe and Goyle, but as the High Table was

full of teachers, neither of them could do more than crack their

knuckles and scowl.

 

"I'd take you on anytime on my own," said Malfoy. "Tonight, if you want.

Wizard's duel. Wands only -- no contact. What's the matter? Never heard

of a wizard's duel before, I suppose?"

 

"Of course he has," said Ron, wheeling around. "I'm his second, who's

yours?"

 

Malfoy looked at Crabbe and Goyle, sizing them up.

 

"Crabbe," he said. "Midnight all right? We'll meet you in the trophy

room; that's always unlocked."

 

When Malfoy had gone, Ron and Harry looked at each other. "What is a

wizard's duel?" said Harry. "And what do you mean, you're my second?"

 

"Well, a second's there to take over if you die," said Ron casually,

getting started at last on his cold pie. Catching the look on Harry's

face, he added quickly, "But people only die in proper duels, you know,

with real wizards. The most you and Malfoy'll be able to do is send

sparks at each other. Neither of you knows enough magic to do any real

damage. I bet he expected you to refuse, anyway."

 

"And what if I wave my wand and nothing happens?"

 

"Throw it away and punch him on the nose," Ron suggested. "Excuse me."

 

They both looked up. It was Hermione Granger.

 

"Can't a person eat in peace in this place?" said Ron.

 

Hermione ignored him and spoke to Harry.

 

"I couldn't help overhearing what you and Malfoy were saying --"

 

"Bet you could," Ron muttered.

 

"--and you mustn't go wandering around the school at night, think of the

points you'll lose Gryffindor if you're caught, and you're bound to be.

It's really very selfish of you."

 

"And it's really none of your business," said Harry.

 

"Good-bye," said Ron.

 

All the same, it wasn't what you'd call the perfect end to the day,

Harry thought, as he lay awake much later listening to Dean and Seamus

falling asleep (Neville wasn't back from the hospital wing). Ron had

spent all evening giving him advice such as "If he tries to curse you,

you'd better dodge it, because I can't remember how to block them."

There was a very good chance they were going to get caught by Filch or

Mrs. Norris, and Harry felt he was pushing his luck, breaking another

school rule today. On the other hand, Malfoys sneering face kept looming

up out of the darkness - this was his big chance to beat Malfoy

face-to-face. He couldn't miss it.

 

"Half-past eleven," Ron muttered at last, "we'd better go."

 

They pulled on their bathrobes, picked up their wands, and crept across

the tower room, down the spiral staircase, and into the Gryffindor

common room. A few embers were still glowing in the fireplace, turning

all the armchairs into hunched black shadows. They had almost reached

the portrait hole when a voice spoke from the chair nearest them, "I

can't believe you're going to do this, Harry."

 

A lamp flickered on. It was Hermione Granger, wearing a pink bathrobe

and a frown.

 

"You!" said Ron furiously. "Go back to bed!"

 

"I almost told your brother," Hermione snapped, "Percy -- he's a

prefect, he'd put a stop to this."

 

Harry couldn't believe anyone could be so interfering.

 

"Come on," he said to Ron. He pushed open the portrait of the Fat Lady

and climbed through the hole.

 

Hermione wasn't going to give up that easily. She followed Ron through

the portrait hole, hissing at them like an angry goose.

 

"Don't you care about Gryffindor, do you only care about yourselves, I

don't want Slytherin to win the house cup, and you'll lose all the

points I got from Professor McGonagall for knowing about Switching

Spells."

 

"Go away." "All right, but I warned you, you just remember what I said

when you're on the train home tomorrow, you're so --"

 

But what they were, they didn't find out. Hermione had turned to the

portrait of the Fat Lady to get back inside and found herself facing an

empty painting. The Fat Lady had gone on a nighttime visit and Hermione

was locked out of Gryffindor tower.

 

"Now what am I going to do?" she asked shrilly.

 

"That's your problem," said Ron. "We've got to go, we 3 re going to be

late."

 

They hadn't even reached the end of the corridor when Hermione caught up

with them.

 

"I'm coming with you," she said.

 

"You are not."

 

"D'you think I'm going to stand out here and wait for Filch to catch me?

If he finds all three of us I'll tell him the truth, that I was trying

to stop you, and you can back me up."

 

"You've got some nerve --" said Ron loudly.

 

"Shut up, both of you!" said Harry sharply. I heard something."

 

It was a sort of snuffling.

 

"Mrs. Norris?" breathed Ron, squinting through the dark.

 

It wasn't Mrs. Norris. It was Neville. He was curled up on the floor,

fast asleep, but jerked suddenly awake as they crept nearer.

 

"Thank goodness you found me! I've been out here for hours, I couldn't

remember the new password to get in to bed."

 

"Keep your voice down, Neville. The password's 'Pig snout' but it won't

help you now, the Fat Lady's gone off somewhere."

 

"How's your arm?" said Harry.

 

"Fine," said Neville, showing them. "Madam Pomfrey mended it in about a

minute."

 

"Good - well, look, Neville, we've got to be somewhere, we'll see you

later --"

 

"Don't leave me!" said Neville, scrambling to his feet, "I don't want to

stay here alone, the Bloody Baron's been past twice already."

 

Ron looked at his watch and then glared furiously at Hermione and

Neville.

 

"If either of you get us caught, I'll never rest until I've learned that

Curse of the Bogies Quirrell told us about, and used it on you.

 

Hermione opened her mouth, perhaps to tell Ron exactly how to use the

Curse of the Bogies, but Harry hissed at her to be quiet and beckoned

them all forward.

 

They flitted along corridors striped with bars of moonlight from the

high windows. At every turn Harry expected to run into Filch or Mrs.

Norris, but they were lucky. They sped up a staircase to the third floor

and tiptoed toward the trophy room.

 

Malfoy and Crabbe weren't there yet. The crystal trophy cases glimmered

where the moonlight caught them. Cups, shields, plates, and statues

winked silver and gold in the darkness. They edged along the walls,

keeping their eyes on the doors at either end of the room. Harry took

out his wand in case Malfoy leapt in and started at once. The minutes

crept by.

 

"He's late, maybe he's chickened out," Ron whispered.

 

Then a noise in the next room made them jump. Harry had only just raised

his wand when they heard someone speak -and it wasn't Malfoy.

 

"Sniff around, my sweet, they might be lurking in a corner."

 

It was Filch speaking to Mrs. Norris. Horror-struck, Harry waved madly

at the other three to follow him as quickly as possible; they scurried

silently toward the door, away from Filch's voice. Neville's robes had

barely whipped round the corner when they heard Filch enter the trophy

room.

 

"They're in here somewhere," they heard him mutter, "probably hiding."

 

"This way!" Harry mouthed to the others and, petrified, they began to

creep down a long gallery full of suits of armor. They could hear Filch

getting nearer. Neville suddenly let out a frightened squeak and broke

into a run -he tripped, grabbed Ron around the waist, and the pair of

them toppled right into a suit of armor.

 

The clanging and crashing were enough to wake the whole castle.

 

"RUN!" Harry yelled, and the four of them sprinted down the gallery, not

looking back to see whether Filch was following -- they swung around the

doorpost and galloped down one corridor then another, Harry in the lead,

without any idea where they were or where they were going -- they ripped

through a tapestry and found themselves in a hidden passageway, hurtled

along it and came out near their Charms classroom, which they knew was

miles from the trophy room.

 

"I think we've lost him," Harry panted, leaning against the cold wall

and wiping his forehead. Neville was bent double, wheezing and

spluttering.

 

I -- told -you," Hermione gasped, clutching at the stitch in her chest,

"I -- told -- you."

 

"We've got to get back to Gryffindor tower," said Ron, "quickly as

possible."

 

"Malfoy tricked you," Hermione said to Harry. "You realize that, don't

you? He was never going to meet you -- Filch knew someone was going to

be in the trophy room, Malfoy must have tipped him off."

 

Harry thought she was probably right, but he wasn't going to tell her

that.

 

"Let's go."

 

It wasn't going to be that simple. They hadn't gone more than a dozen

paces when a doorknob rattled and something came shooting out of a

classroom in front of them.

 

It was Peeves. He caught sight of them and gave a squeal of delight.

 

"Shut up, Peeves -- please -- you'll get us thrown out."

 

Peeves cackled.

 

"Wandering around at midnight, Ickle Firsties? Tut, tut, tut. Naughty,

naughty, you'll get caughty."

 

"Not if you don't give us away, Peeves, please."

 

"Should tell Filch, I should," said Peeves in a saintly voice, but his

eyes glittered wickedly. "It's for your own good, you know."

 

"Get out of the way," snapped Ron, taking a swipe at Peeves this was a

big mistake.

 

"STUDENTS OUT OF BED!" Peeves bellowed, "STUDENTS OUT OF BED DOWN THE

CHARMS CORRIDOR"

 

Ducking under Peeves, they ran for their lives, right to the end of the

corridor where they slammed into a door -- and it was locked.

 

"This is it!" Ron moaned, as they pushed helplessly at the door, "We're

done for! This is the end!" They could hear footsteps, Filch running as

fast as he could toward Peeves's shouts.

 

"Oh, move over," Hermione snarled. She grabbed Harry's wand, tapped the

lock, and whispered, 'Alohomora!"

 

The lock clicked and the door swung open -- they piled through it, shut

it quickly, and pressed their ears against it, listening.

 

"Which way did they go, Peeves?" Filch was saying. "Quick, tell me."

 

"Say 'please."'

 

"Don't mess with me, Peeves, now where did they go?"

 

"Shan't say nothing if you don't say please," said Peeves in his

annoying singsong voice.

 

"All right -please."

 

"NOTHING! Ha haaa! Told you I wouldn't say nothing if you didn't say

please! Ha ha! Haaaaaa!" And they heard the sound of Peeves whooshing

away and Filch cursing in rage.

 

"He thinks this door is locked," Harry whispered. "I think we'll be okay

-- get off, Neville!" For Neville had been tugging on the sleeve of

Harry's bathrobe for the last minute. "What?"

 

Harry turned around -- and saw, quite clearly, what. For a moment, he

was sure he'd walked into a nightmare -- this was too much, on top of

everything that had happened so far.

 

They weren't in a room, as he had supposed. They were in a corridor. The

forbidden corridor on the third floor. And now they knew why it was

forbidden.

 

They were looking straight into the eyes of a monstrous dog, a dog that

filled the whole space between ceiling and floor. It had three heads.

Three pairs of rolling, mad eyes; three noses, twitching

 

and quivering in their direction; three drooling mouths, saliva hanging

in slippery ropes from yellowish fangs.

 

It was standing quite still, all six eyes staring at them, and Harry

knew that the only reason they weren't already dead was that their

sudden appearance had taken it by surprise, but it was quickly getting

over that, there was no mistaking what those thunderous growls meant.

 

Harry groped for the doorknob -- between Filch and death, he'd take

Filch.

 

They fell backward -- Harry slammed the door shut, and they ran, they

almost flew, back down the corridor. Filch must have hurried off to look

for them somewhere else, because they didn't see him anywhere, but they

hardly cared -- all they wanted to do was put as much space as possible

between them and that monster. They didn't stop running until they

reached the portrait of the Fat Lady on the seventh floor.

 

"Where on earth have you all been?" she asked, looking at their

bathrobes hanging off their shoulders and their flushed, sweaty faces.

 

"Never mind that -- pig snout, pig snout," panted Harry, and the

portrait swung forward. They scrambled into the common room and

collapsed, trembling, into armchairs.

 

It was a while before any of them said anything. Neville, indeed, looked

as if he'd never speak again.

 

"What do they think they're doing, keeping a thing like that locked up

in a school?" said Ron finally. "If any dog needs exercise, that one

does."

 





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