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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 14 страница. library, wandering around the dark passageways for nearly an hour



library, wandering around the dark passageways for nearly an hour.

 

"I'm freezing," said Ron. "Let's forget it and go back."

 

"No!" Harry hissed. I know it's here somewhere."

 

They passed the ghost of a tall witch gliding in the opposite direction,

but saw no one else. just as Ron started moaning that his feet were dead

with cold, Harry spotted the suit of armor.

 

"It's here -- just here -- yes!"

 

They pushed the door open. Harry dropped the cloak from around his

shoulders and ran to the mirror.

 

There they were. His mother and father beamed at the sight of him.

 

"See?" Harry whispered.

 

"I can't see anything."

 

"Look! Look at them all... there are loads of them...."

 

"I can only see you."

 

"Look in it properly, go on, stand where I am."

 

Harry stepped aside, but with Ron in front of the mirror, he couldn't

see his family anymore, just Ron in his paisley pajamas.

 

Ron, though, was staring transfixed at his image.

 

"Look at me!" he said.

 

"Can you see all your family standing around you?"

 

"No -- I'm alone -- but I'm different -- I look older -- and I'm head

boy!"

 

"What?"

 

"I am -- I'm wearing the badge like Bill used to -- and I'm holding the

house cup and the Quidditch cup -- I'm Quidditch captain, too.

 

Ron tore his eyes away from this splendid sight to look excitedly at

Harry.

 

"Do you think this mirror shows the future?"

 

"How can it? All my family are dead -- let me have another look --"

 

"You had it to yourself all last night, give me a bit more time."

 

"You're only holding the Quidditch cup, what's interesting about that? I

want to see my parents."

 

"Don't push me --"

 

A sudden noise outside in the corridor put an end to their discussion.

They hadn't realized how loudly they had been talking.

 

"Quick!"

 

Ron threw the cloak back over them as the luminous eyes of Mrs. Norris

came round the door. Ron and Harry stood quite still, both thinking the

same thing -- did the cloak work on cats? After what seemed an age, she

turned and left.

 

"This isn't safe -- she might have gone for Filch, I bet she heard us.

Come on."

 

And Ron pulled Harry out of the room.



 

The snow still hadn't melted the next morning.

 

"Want to play chess, Harry?" said Ron.

 

"No."

 

"Why don't we go down and visit Hagrid?"

 

"No... you go..."

 

"I know what you're thinking about, Harry, that mirror. Don't go back

tonight."

 

"Why not?"

 

"I dunno, I've just got a bad feeling about it -- and anyway, you've had

too many close shaves already. Filch, Snape, and Mrs. Norris are

wandering around. So what if they can't see you? What if they walk into

you? What if you knock something over?"

 

"You sound like Hermione."

 

"I'm serious, Harry, don't go."

 

But Harry only had one thought in his head, which was to get back in

front of the mirror, and Ron wasn't going to stop him.

 

That third night he found his way more quickly than before. He was

walking so fast he knew he was making more noise than was wise, but he

didn't meet anyone.

 

And there were his mother and father smiling at him again, and one of

his grandfathers nodding happily. Harry sank down to sit on the floor in

front of the mirror. There was nothing to stop him from staying here all

night with his family. Nothing at all.

 

Except --

 

"So -- back again, Harry?"

 

Harry felt as though his insides had turned to ice. He looked behind

him. Sitting on one of the desks by the wall was none other than Albus

Dumbledore. Harry must have walked straight past him, so desperate to

get to the mirror he hadn't noticed him.

 

" -- I didn't see you, sir."

 

"Strange how nearsighted being invisible can make you," said Dumbledore,

and Harry was relieved to see that he was smiling.

 

"So," said Dumbledore, slipping off the desk to sit on the floor with

Harry, "you, like hundreds before you, have discovered the delights of

the Mirror of Erised."

 

"I didn't know it was called that, Sir."

 

"But I expect you've realized by now what it does?"

 

"It -- well -- it shows me my family --"

 

"And it showed your friend Ron himself as head boy."

 

"How did you know --?"

 

"I don't need a cloak to become invisible," said Dumbledore gently.

"Now, can you think what the Mirror of Erised shows us all?"

 

Harry shook his head.

 

"Let me explain. The happiest man on earth would be able to use the

Mirror of Erised like a normal mirror, that is, he would look into it

and see himself exactly as he is. Does that help?"

 

Harry thought. Then he said slowly, "It shows us what we want...

whatever we want..."

 

"Yes and no," said Dumbledore quietly. "It shows us nothing more or less

than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts. You, who have

never known your family, see them standing around you. Ronald Weasley,

who has always been overshadowed by his brothers, sees himself standing

alone, the best of all of them. However, this mirror will give us

neither knowledge or truth. Men have wasted away before it, entranced by

what they have seen, or been driven mad, not knowing if what it shows is

real or even possible.

 

"The Mirror will be moved to a new home tomorrow, Harry, and I ask you

not to go looking for it again. If you ever do run across it, you will

now be prepared. It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live,

remember that. Now, why don't you put that admirable cloak back on and

get off to bed?"

 

Harry stood up.

 

"Sir -- Professor Dumbledore? Can I ask you something?"

 

"Obviously, you've just done so," Dumbledore smiled. "You may ask me one

more thing, however."

 

"What do you see when you look in the mirror?"

 

"I? I see myself holding a pair of thick, woolen socks."

 

Harry stared.

 

"One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore. "Another Christmas

has come and gone and I didn't get a single pair. People will insist on

giving me books."

 

It was only when he was back in bed that it struck Harry that Dumbledore

might not have been quite truthful. But then, he thought, as he shoved

Scabbers off his pillow, it had been quite a personal question.

 

 

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

 

NICOLAS FLAMEL

 

Dumbledore had convinced Harry not to go looking for the Mirror of

Erised again, and for the rest of the Christmas holidays the

invisibility cloak stayed folded at the bottom of his trunk. Harry

wished he could forget what he'd seen in the mirror as easily, but he

couldn't. He started having nightmares. Over and over again he dreamed

about his parents disappearing in a flash of green light, while a high

voice cackled with laughter.

 

"You see, Dumbledore was right, that mirror could drive you mad," said

Ron, when Harry told him about these drearns.

 

Hermione, who came back the day before term started, took a different

view of things. She was torn between horror at the idea of Harry being

out of bed, roaming the school three nights in a row ("If Filch had

caught you!"), and disappointment that he hadn't at least found out who

Nicolas Flamel was.

 

They had almost given up hope of ever finding Flamel in a li- brary

book, even though Harry was still sure he'd read the name somewhere.

Once term had started, they were back to skimming through books for ten

minutes during their breaks. Harry had even less time than the other

two, because Quidditch practice had started again.

 

Wood was working the team harder than ever. Even the endless rain that

had replaced the snow couldn't dampen his spirits. The Weasleys

complained that Wood was becoming a fanatic, but Harry was on Wood's

side. If they won their next match, against Hufflepuff, they would

overtake Slytherin in the house championship for the first time in seven

years. Quite apart from wanting to win, Harry found that he had fewer

nightmares when he was tired out after training.

 

Then, during one particularly wet and muddy practice session, Wood gave

the team a bit of bad news. He'd just gotten very angry with the

Weasleys, who kept dive-bombing each other and pretending to fall off

their brooms.

 

"Will you stop messing around!" he yelled. "That's exactly the sort of

thing that'll lose us the match! Snape's refereeing this time, and he'll

be looking for any excuse to knock points off Gryffindor!"

 

George Weasley really did fall off his broom at these words.

 

"Snape's refereeing?" he spluttered through a mouthful of mud. "When's

he ever refereed a Quidditch match? He's not going to be fair if we

might overtake Slytherin."

 

The rest of the team landed next to George to complain, too.

 

"It's not my fault," said Wood. "We've just got to make sure we play a

clean game, so Snape hasn't got an excuse to pick on us."

 

Which was all very well, thought Harry, but he had another reason for

not wanting Snape near him while he was playing Quidditch....

 

The rest of the team hung back to talk to one another as usual at the

end of practice, but Harry headed straight back to the Gryffindor common

room, where he found Ron and Hermione playing chess. Chess was the only

thing Hermione ever lost at, something Harry and Ron thought was very

good for her.

 

"Don't talk to me for a moment," said Ron when Harry sat down next to

him, "I need to concen --" He caught sight of Harry's face. "What's the

matter with you? You look terrible."

 

Speaking quietly so that no one else would hear, Harry told the other

two about Snape's sudden, sinister desire to be a Quidditch referee.

 

"Don't play," said Hermione at once.

 

"Say you're ill," said Ron.

 

"Pretend to break your leg," Hermione suggested.

 

"Really break your leg," said Ron.

 

"I can't," said Harry. "There isn't a reserve Seeker. If I back out,

Gryffindor can't play at all."

 

At that moment Neville toppled into the common room. How he had managed

to climb through the portrait hole was anyone's guess, because his legs

had been stuck together with what they recognized at once as the

Leg-Locker Curse. He must have had to bunny hop all the way up to

Gryffindor tower.

 

Everyone fell over laughing except Hermione, who leapt up and performed

the countercurse. Neville's legs sprang apart and he got to his feet,

trembling. "What happened?" Hermione asked him, leading him over to sit

with Harry and Ron.

 

"Malfoy," said Neville shakily. "I met him outside the library. He said

he'd been looking for someone to practice that on."

 

"Go to Professor McGonagall!" Hermione urged Neville. "Report him!"

 

Neville shook his head.

 

"I don't want more trouble," he mumbled.

 

"You've got to stand up to him, Neville!" said Ron. "He's used to

walking all over people, but that's no reason to lie down in front of

him and make it easier."

 

"There's no need to tell me I'm not brave enough to be in Gryffindor,

Malfoy's already done that," Neville choked out.

 

Harry felt in the pocket of his robes and pulled out a Chocolate Frog,

the very last one from the box Hermione had given him for Christmas. He

gave it to Neville, who looked as though he might cry.

 

"You're worth twelve of Malfoy," Harry said. "The Sorting Hat chose you

for Gryffindor, didn't it? And where's Malfoy? In stinking Slytherin."

 

Neville's lips twitched in a weak smile as he unwrapped the frog.

 

"Thanks, Harry... I think I'll go to bed.... D'you want the card, you

collect them, don't you?"

 

As Neville walked away, Harry looked at the Famous Wizard card.

 

"Dumbledore again," he said, "He was the first one I ever-"

 

He gasped. He stared at the back of the card. Then he looked up at Ron

and Hermione.

 

"I've found him!" he whispered. "I've found Flamel! I told you I'd read

the name somewhere before, I read it on the train coming here -- listen

to this: 'Dumbledore is particularly famous for his defeat of the dark

wizard Grindelwald in 1945, for the discovery of the twelve uses of

dragon's blood, and his work on alchemy with his partner, Nicolas

Flamel'!"

 

Hermione jumped to her feet. She hadn't looked so excited since they'd

gotten back the marks for their very first piece of homework.

 

"Stay there!" she said, and she sprinted up the stairs to the girls'

dormitories. Harry and Ron barely had time to exchange mystified looks

before she was dashing back, an enormous old book in her arms.

 

"I never thought to look in here!" she whispered excitedly. "I got this

out of the library weeks ago for a bit of light reading."

 

"Light?" said Ron, but Hermione told him to be quiet until she'd looked

something up, and started flicking frantically through the pages,

muttering to herself.

 

At last she found what she was looking for.

 

"I knew it! I knew it!"

 

"Are we allowed to speak yet?" said Ron grumpily. Hermione ignored him.

 

"Nicolas Flamel," she whispered dramatically, "is the only known maker

of the Sorcerer's Stone!"

 

This didn't have quite the effect she'd expected.

 

"The what?" said Harry and Ron.

 

"Oh, honestly, don't you two read? Look -- read that, there."

 

She pushed the book toward them, and Harry and Ron read: The ancient

study of alchemy is concerned with making the Sorcerer's Stone, a

legendary substance with astonishing powers. The stone will transform

any metal into pure gold. It also produces the Elixir of Life, which

will make the drinker immortal.

 

There have been many reports of the Sorcerer's Stone over the centuries,

but the only Stone currently in existence belongs to Mr. Nicolas Flamel,

the noted alchemist and opera lover. Mr. Flamel, who celebrated his six

hundred and sixty-fifth birthday last year, enjoys a quiet life in Devon

with his wife, Perenelle (six hundred and fifty-eight).

 

"See?" said Hermione, when Harry and Ron had finished. "The dog must be

guarding Flamel's Sorcerer's Stone! I bet he asked Dumbledore to keep it

safe for him, because they're friends and he knew someone was after it,

that's why he wanted the Stone moved out of Gringotts!"

 

"A stone that makes gold and stops you from ever dying!" said Harry. "No

wonder Snape's after it! Anyone would want it."

 

"And no wonder we couldn't find Flamel in that Study of Recent

Developments in Wizardry," said Ron. "He's not exactly recent if he's

six hundred and sixty-five, is he?"

 

The next morning in Defense Against the Dark Arts, while copying down

different ways of treating werewolf bites, Harry and Ron were still

discussing what they'd do with a Sorcerer's Stone if they had one. It

wasn't until Ron said he'd buy his own Quidditch team that Harry

remembered about Snape and the coming match.

 

"I'm going to play," he told Ron and Hermione. "If I don't, all the

Slytherins will think I'm just too scared to face Snape. I'll show

them... it'll really wipe the smiles off their faces if we win."

 

"Just as long as we're not wiping you off the field," said Hermione.

 

As the match drew nearer, however, Harry became more and more nervous,

whatever he told Ron and Hermione. The rest of the team wasn't too calm,

either. The idea of overtaking Slytherin in the house championship was

wonderful, no one had done it for seven years, but would they be allowed

to, with such a biased referee?

 

Harry didn't know whether he was imagining it or not, but he seemed to

keep running into Snape wherever he went. At times, he even wondered

whether Snape was following him, trying to catch him on his own. Potions

lessons were turning into a sort of weekly torture, Snape was so

horrible to Harry. Could Snape possibly know they'd found out about the

Sorcerer's Stone? Harry didn't see how he could -- yet he sometimes had

the horrible feeling that Snape could read minds.

 

Harry knew, when they wished him good luck outside the locker rooms the

next afternoon, that Ron and Hermione were wondering whether they'd ever

see him alive again. This wasn't what you'd call comforting. Harry

hardly heard a word of Wood's pep talk as he pulled on his Quidditch

robes and picked up his Nimbus Two Thousand.

 

Ron and Hermione, meanwhile, had found a place in the stands next to

Neville, who couldn't understand why they looked so grim and worried, or

why they had both brought their wands to the match. Little did Harry

know that Ron and Hermione had been secretly practicing the Leg-Locker

Curse. They'd gotten the idea from Malfoy using it on Neville, and were

ready to use it on Snape if he showed any sign of wanting to hurt Harry.

 

"Now, don't forget, it's Locomotor Mortis," Hermione muttered as Ron

slipped his wand up his sleeve.

 

"I know," Ron snapped. "Don't nag."

 

Back in the locker room, Wood had taken Harry aside.

 

"Don't want to pressure you, Potter, but if we ever need an early

capture of the Snitch it's now. Finish the game before Snape can favor

Hufflepuff too much."

 

"The whole school's out there!" said Fred Weasley, peering out of the

door. "Even -- blimey -- Dumbledore's come to watch!"

 

Harry's heart did a somersault.

 

"Dumbledore?" he said, dashing to the door to make sure. Fred was right.

There was no mistaking that silver beard.

 

Harry could have laughed out loud with relief He was safe. There was

simply no way that Snape would dare to try to hurt him if Dumbledore was

watching.

 

Perhaps that was why Snape was looking so angry as the teams marched

onto the field, something that Ron noticed, too.

 

"I've never seen Snape look so mean," he told Hermione. "Look -they're

off Ouch!"

 

Someone had poked Ron in the back of the head. It was Malfoy.

 

"Oh, sorry, Weasley, didn't see you there."

 

Malfoy grinned broadly at Crabbe and Goyle.

 

"Wonder how long Potter's going to stay on his broom this time? Anyone

want a bet? What about you, Weasley?"

 

Ron didn't answer; Snape had just awarded Hufflepuff a penalty because

George Weasley had hit a Bludger at him. Hermione, who had all her

fingers crossed in her lap, was squinting fixedly at Harry, who was

circling the game like a hawk, looking for the Snitch.

 

"You know how I think they choose people for the Gryffindor team?" said

Malfoy loudly a few minutes later, as Snape awarded Hufflepuff another

penalty for no reason at all. "It's people they feel sorry for. See,

there's Potter, who's got no parents, then there's the Weasleys, who've

got no money -- you should be on the team, Longbottom, you've got no

brains."

 

Neville went bright red but turned in his seat to face Malfoy.

 

"I'm worth twelve of you, Malfoy," he stammered.

 

Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle howled with laughter, but Ron, still not

daring to take his eyes from the game, said, "You tell him, Neville."

 

"Longbottom, if brains were gold you'd be poorer than Weasley, and

that's saying something."

 

Ron's nerves were already stretched to the breaking point with anxiety

about Harry.

 

"I'm warning you, Malfoy -- one more word

 

"Ron!" said Hermione suddenly, "Harry --"

 

"What? Where?"

 

Harry had suddenly gone into a spectacular dive, which drew gasps and

cheers from the crowd. Hermione stood up, her crossed fingers in her

mouth, as Harry streaked toward the ground like a bullet.

 

"You're in luck, Weasley, Potter's obviously spotted some money on the

ground!" said Malfoy.

 

Ron snapped. Before Malfoy knew what was happening, Ron was on top of

him, wrestling him to the ground. Neville hesitated, then clambered over

the back of his seat to help.

 

"Come on, Harry!" Hermione screamed, leaping onto her seat to watch as

Harry sped straight at Snape -- she didn't even notice Malfoy and Ron

rolling around under her seat, or the scuffles and yelps coming from the

whirl of fists that was Neville, Crabbe, and Goyle.

 

Up in the air, Snape turned on his broomstick just in time to see

something scarlet shoot past him, missing him by inches -- the next

second, Harry had pulled out of the dive, his arm raised in triumph, the

Snitch clasped in his hand.

 

The stands erupted; it had to be a record, no one could ever remember

the Snitch being caught so quickly.

 

"Ron! Ron! Where are you? The game's over! Harry's won! We've won!

Gryffindor is in the lead!" shrieked Hermione, dancing up and down on

her seat and hugging Parvati Patil in the row in front.

 

Harry jumped off his broom, a foot from the ground. He couldn't believe

it. He'd done it -- the game was over; it had barely lasted five

minutes. As Gryffindors came spilling onto the field, he saw Snape land

nearby, white-faced and tight-lipped -- then Harry felt a hand on his

shoulder and looked up into Dumbledore's smiling face.

 

"Well done," said Dumbledore quietly, so that only Harry could hear.

"Nice to see you haven't been brooding about that mirror... been keeping

busy... excellent..."

 

Snape spat bitterly on the ground.

 

Harry left the locker room alone some time later, to take his Nimbus Two

Thousand back to the broomshed. He couldn't ever remember feeling

happier. He'd really done something to be proud of now -- no one could

say he was just a famous name any more. The evening air had never

smelled so sweet. He walked over the damp grass, reliving the last hour

in his head, which was a happy blur: Gryffindors running to lift him

onto their shoulders; Ron and Hermione in the distance, jumping up and

down, Ron cheering through a heavy nosebleed.

 

Harry had reached the shed. He leaned against the wooden door and looked

up at Hogwarts, with its windows glowing red in the setting sun.

Gryffindor in the lead. He'd done it, he'd shown Snape....

 

And speaking of Snape...

 

A hooded figure came swiftly down the front steps of the castle. Clearly

not wanting to be seen, it walked as fast as possible toward the

forbidden forest. Harry's victory faded from his mind as he watched. He

recognized the figure's prowling walk. Snape, sneaking into the forest

while everyone else was at dinner -- what was going on?

 

Harry jumped back on his Nimbus Two Thousand and took off. Gliding

silently over the castle he saw Snape enter the forest at a run. He

followed.

 

The trees were so thick he couldn't see where Snape had gone. He flew in

circles, lower and lower, brushing the top branches of trees until he

heard voices. He glided toward them and landed noiselessly in a towering

beech tree.

 

He climbed carefully along one of the branches, holding tight to his

broomstick, trying to see through the leaves. Below, in a shadowy

clearing, stood Snape, but he wasn't alone. Quirrell was there, too.

Harry couldn't make out the look on his face, but he was stuttering

worse than ever. Harry strained to catch what they were saying.

 

"... d-don't know why you wanted t-t-to meet here of all p-places,

Severus..."

 

"Oh, I thought we'd keep this private," said Snape, his voice icy.

"Students aren't supposed to know about the Sorcerer's Stone, after

all."

 

Harry leaned forward. Quirrell was mumbling something. Snape interrupted

him.

 

"Have you found out how to get past that beast of Hagrid's yet?"

 

"B-b-but Severus, I --"

 

"You don't want me as your enemy, Quirrell," said Snape, taking a step





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