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Ogden had broken into a reluctant trot due to the steep down-ward slope. Dumbledore lengthened his stride, and Harry hurried to keep up. He thought Little Hangleton must be their final desti-nation and wondered, as he had done on the night they had found Slughorn, why they had to approach it from such a distance. He soon discovered that he was mistaken in thinking that they were going to the village, however. The lane curved to the right and when they rounded the corner, it was to see the very edge of Ogden's frock coat vanishing through a gap in the hedge.
"Well, I have decided that it is time, now that you know what prompted Lord Voldemort to try and kill you fifteen years ago, for you to be given certain information." There was a pause.
"Pass me a bowl," said Hermione, holding the pulsating pod at arm's length; Harry handed one over and she dropped the pod into it with a look of disgust on her face.
"We're allowed to bring guests," said Hermione, who for some reason had turned a bright, boiling scarlet, "and I was going to ask you to come, but if you think it's that stupid then I won't bother!"
"Mr. Gaunt, please!" said Ogden in a shocked voice, as Merope, who had already picked up the pot, flushed blotchily scarlet, lost her grip on the pot again1 drew her wand shakily from her pocket, pointed it at the pot, and muttered a hasty, inaudible spell that caused the pot to shoot across the floor away from her, hit the op-posite wall, and crack in two.
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.
"Around that time, yes, Harry."
It was a scroll of parchment with Harry's name written upon it in familiar thin, slanting writing.
"McGonagall!" said Ron warningly.
"Thank you very much," said Dumbledore, beaming.
"Harry, Malfoy wasn't in Hogsmeade!" said Hermione, actually stamping her foot in frustration.
"What does it matter if we're smuggling Dark stuff OUT?" de-manded Ron, eyeing the long thin Secrecy Sensor with apprehen-sion. "Surely you ought to be checking what we bring back IN?"
"But the villagers' shock was nothing to Marvolo's. He returned from Azkaban, expecting to find his daughter dutifully awaiting his return with a hot meal ready on his table. Instead, he found a clear inch of dust and her note of farewell, explaining what she had done."
Harry gaped at her, deflating.
"No, I acquired it very recently," said Dumbledore. "A few days before I came to fetch you from your aunt and uncle's, in fact."
Harry had already attempted a few of the Prince's self-invented spells. There had been a hex that caused toenails to grow alarmingly fast (he had tried this on Crabbe in the corridor, with very entertaining results); a jinx that glued the tongue to the roof of the mouth (which he had twice used, to general applause, on an unsuspecting Argus Filch); and, perhaps most useful of all, Muffliato, a spell that filled the ears of anyone nearby with an unidentifiable buzzing, so that lengthy conversations could be held in class with out being overheard. The only person who did not find these charms amusing was Hermione, who maintained a rigidly disapproving expression throughout and refused to talk at all if Harry had used the Muffliato spell on anyone in the vicinity.
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.;
Harry caught sight of the headmaster only twice over the next lew weeks. He rarely appeared at meals anymore, and Harry was sure Hermione was right in thinking that he was leaving the school for days at a time. Had Dumbledore forgotten the lessons he was supposed to be giving Harry? Dumbledore had said that the lessons were leading to something to do with the prophecy; Harry had felt bolstered, comforted, and now he felt slightly abandoned.？