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Ron was scarlet in the face, grinning embarrassedly, but Harry could see one person who didn't look happy at all. Percy was visible over the heads of some excited first years, and he seemed to be trying to get near enough to start telling them off. Harry nudged Ron in the ribs and nodded in Percy's direction. Ron got the point at once.
throat loudly and become mysteriously deaf until the subject was changed.
"Good day to you, Mr. Borgin. I'll expect you at the manor tomorrow to pick up the goods."
The first board took nearly twenty minutes to explain, but there was another board under that, and a third under that one. Harry sank into a stupor as Wood droned on and on.
On the other side of the dungeon was a long table, also covered in black velvet. They approached it eagerly but next moment had stopped in their tracks, horrified. The smell was quite disgusting. Large, rotten fish were laid on handsome silver platters; cakes, burned charcoal-black, were heaped on salvers; there was a great maggoty haggis, a slab of cheese covered in furry green mold and, in pride of place, an enormous gray cake in the shape of a tombstone, with tar-like icing forming the words, Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington died 31st October, 1492 Harry watched, amazed, as a portly ghost approached the table, crouched low, and walked through it, his mouth held wide so that it passed through one of the stinking salmon.
The crowd cheered and clapped and Harry found himself being
* 95 *
They had barely set foot in the cool entrance hall when a voice rang out, "There you are, Potter - Weasley." Professor McGonagall was walking toward them, looking stern. "You will both do your detentions this evening."
"Break it up, there, gents, break it up -"
Harry said nothing. He felt a bit awkward. Stored in an underground vault at Gringotts in London was a small fortune that his parents had left him. Of course, it was only in the wizarding world that he had money; you couldn't use Galleons, Sickles, and Knuts
"'Course I do," said Ron quickly. "But -you must admit it's weird ......
"Enrol!" said Ron, pulling the bedraggled owl out by the feet. Errol slumped, unconscious, onto the table, his legs in the air and a damp red envelope in his beak.
"Look this way, Harry! This way!" he cried shrilly.
Ron stretched out a shaking hand, eased the envelope from Errol's beak, and slit it open. Neville stuffed his fingers in his ears. A split second later, Harry knew why. He thought for a moment it had exploded; a roar of sound fiIled the huge hall, shaking dust from the ceiling.。