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"Make sure you do fly out of the sun," he told them grudgingly.

"Well, they wouldn't, would they, if he's shown them his Dark Mark?" said Harry.


As it was Sunday morning, nearly all the students were inside their various common rooms, the Gryffindors in one tower, the Ravenclaws in another, the Slytherins in the dungeons, and the Hufflepuffs in the basement near the kitchens. Here and there a stray person meandered around the library or up a corridor. There were a few people out in the grounds, and there, alone in the seventh-floor corridor, was Gregory Goyle. There was no sign of the Room of Requirement, but Harry was not worried about that; if Goyle was standing guard outside it, the room was open, whether the map was aware of it or not. He therefore sprinted up the stairs, slowing down only when he reached the corner into the corridor, when he began to creep, very slowly, toward the very same little girl, clutching her heavy brass scales, that Hermione had so kindly helped a fortnight before. He waited until he was right be-hind her before bending very low and whispering, "Hello…you're very pretty, aren't you?"

"Hepzibah Smith died two days after that little scene," said Dumbledore, resuming his seat and indicating that Harry should do the same. "Hokey the house-elf was convicted by the Ministry of poisoning her mistress's evening cocoa by accident."


T think ... Harry, 1 ihink I love her,' said Ron in a strangled voice.

"Has he?" said Harry, putting his bruised foot gingerly back on the floor. "Hey — you don't know where he goes, I suppose?"

Professor Sprout headed off into the gathering darkness in the direction of her greenhouses, and Slughorn directed his steps to the spot where Harry stood, invisible.

"Oh," said Ron, looking rather glum. "Right. Well, good luck. Hope you hammer McLag — I mean, Smith."

"They're the Montgomery sisters and of course they don't look happy, didn't you hear what happened to their little brother?" said Hermione.


"Well, quite," said Dumbledore, with a faint smile. "And now it is time to hear from Hokey the house-elf, who worked for a very old, very rich witch by the name of Hepzibah Smith."

"No," said Harry confidently. "I'm going to Hagrid's, I've got a good feeling about going to Hagrid's."

The portrait swung closed behind Harry, but not before he had heard Dean make an angry retort.. . . His feeling of elation in-creasing, Harry strode off through the castle. He did not have to creep along, for he met nobody on his way, but this did not surprise him in the slightest. This evening, he was the luckiest person at Hogwarts.

"She remembered putting something in her mistress's cocoa that turned out not to be sugar, but a lethal and little-known poison, said Dumbledore. "It was concluded that she had not meant to do it, but being old and confused —"

"Good one," said Harry. "How'd you do, Hermione?"


He found Ron and Hermione in the Great Hall, already halfway through an early lunch.


The whole class looked around at Harry, who hastily tried to recall what Dumbledore had told him the night that they had gone to visit Slughorn. "Er — well — ghosts are transparent —" he said.


Getting through the portrait hole was simple; as he approached it, Ginny and Dean came through it, and Harry was able to slip between them. As he did so, he brushed accidentally against Ginny.


"Well," Harry stalled, at a loss for what to say next. His single attempt to get hold of the memory suddenly seemed embarrassingly feeble. "Well . . . the day Ron swallowed love potion by mistake I took him to Professor Slughorn. I thought maybe if I got Professor Slughorn in a good enough mood —" "And did that work?" asked Dumbledore. "Well, no, sir, because Ron got poisoned —" "— which, naturally, made you forget all about trying to retrieve the memory; I would have expected nothing else, while your best friend was in danger. Once it became clear that Mr. Weasley was going to make a full recovery, however, I would have hoped that you returned to the task I set you. I thought I made it clear to you how very important that memory is. Indeed, I did my best to impress upon you that it is the most crucial memory of all and that we will be wasting our time without it.",


It was a small roll of parchment, which Harry recognized at once as another invitation to a lesson with Dumbledore.;