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"Come in," said Dumbledore s voice.
There was a funny squelching sound and they all looked around: Hermione let out a tiny shriek, and Ron leapt out of his seat and hurried around the table away from the large barrel standing in the corner that they had only just noticed. It was full of what looked like foot-long maggots, slimy, white, and writhing.
Dumbledore tipped the silvery contents of the bottle into the Pensieve, where they swirled and shimmered, neither liquid nor gas. "After you," said Dumbledore, gesturing toward the bowl. Harry bent forward, took a deep breath, and plunged his face into the silvery substance. He felt his feet leave the office floor; he was falling, falling through whirling darkness and then, quite sud-denly, he was blinking in dazzling sunlight. Before his eyes had adjusted, Dumbledore landed beside him.
It was as though something large and scaly erupted into life in Harry's stomach, clawing at his insides: Hot blood seemed to flood his brain, so that all thought was extinguished, replaced by a savage urge to jinx Dean into a jelly. Wrestling with this sudden madness, he heard Ron's voice as though from a great distance away.
"— and what is more," said Professor McGonagall, with an air of awful finality, "Mr. Malfoy was not in Hogsmeade today."
This made Ron laugh; even Hermione gave a grudging smile, and a distraction arrived in the shape of Ginny.
"Good idea," whispered Hermione, clearly pleased that Harry was calming down. "Ron, what are you staring at?"
"Oh, well, gotta scrape a living," said Mundungus. "Gimme that!"
"I'm afraid I don't know," said Dumbledore, his voice gentle.
"Of course I am!"
"Good lord, you're right!" said the man's voice. "That'll be the son, I told you he's not right in the head. Don't look at it, Cecilia, darling.
"She told me of your suspicions, yes," said Dumbledore.
There was a bang, and Harry felt his hands fly off Mundungus's throat. Gasping and spluttering, Mundungus seized his fallen case, then — CRACK— he Disapparated.
"Ah," said Dumbledore, "perhaps she could. But it is my belief—I am guessing again, but I am sure I am right ?that when her husband abandoned her, Merope stopped using magic. I do not think that she wanted to be a witch any longer. Of course, it is also possible that her unrequited love and the attendant despair sapped her of her powers; that can happen. In any case, as you are about to see, Merope refused to raise her wand even to save her own life."
Together they ran back along the lane. It took them no time to find the little group of people around Katie, who was still writhing and screaming on the ground; Ron, Hermione, and Leanne were all trying to quiet her.
Ogden broke off. The jingling, clopping sounds of horses and loud, laughing voices were drifting in through the open window. Apparently the winding lane to the village passed very close to the copse where the house stood. Gaunt froze, listening, his eyes wide. Morfin hissed and turned his face toward the sounds, his expression hungry. Merope raised her head. Her face, Harry saw, was starkly white.
The house seemed to contain three tiny rooms. Two doors led off the main room, which served as kitchen and living room com-bined. Morfin was sitting in a filthy armchair beside the smoking fire, twisting a live adder between his thick fingers and crooning softly at it in Parseltongue:
"We'll go down after Quidditch," Harry assured her. He too was missing Hagrid, although like Ron he thought that they were bet-ter off without Grawp in their lives. "But trials might take all morning, the number of people who have applied." He felt slightly nervous at confronting the first hurdle of his Captaincy. "I dunno why the team's this popular all of a sudden.";
"Good lord," said Professor McGonagall, looking alarmed as she took the necklace from Harry. "No, no, Filch, they're with me!" she added hastily, as Filch came shuffling eagerly across the entrance hall holding his Secrecy Sensor aloft. "Take this necklace to Profes-sor Snape at once, but be sure not to touch it, keep it wrapped in the scarf!"。