'I . . . yeah . . .'
A warning whistle sounded; the students still on the platform started hurrying on to the train.
Thanks,' said Hermione, relieving Ginny of the cat. 'Come on, let's get a carriage together before they all fill up . . .'
'Yeah, keep your head down and your eyes peeled,' said Moody, shaking Harry's hand too. 'And don't forget, all of you - careful what you put in writing. If in doubt, don't put it in a letter at all.'
The first-years' faces glowed palely in the candlelight. A small boy right in the middle of the row looked as though he was trembling. Harry recalled, fleetingly, how terrified he had felt when he had stood there, waiting for the unknown test that would determine to which house he belonged.
Cornelius Fudge, the Minister for Magic, denied that he had any plans to take over the running of the Wizarding Bank, Gringotts, when he was elected Minister for Magic jive years ago. Fudge has always insisted that he wants nothing more than to 'co-operate peacefully' with the guardians of our gold.
'Shall we go and find a compartment, then?' Harry asked.
'Nearly. Is Ginny all right?' Harry asked, shoving on his glasses.
BUT DOES HE?
Of Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw?
'Course,' said Ron bitterly, stuffing the rest of the Frog into his mouth and taking another.
Liquid squirted from every boil on the plant; thick, stinking, dark green jets of it. They hit the ceiling, the windows, and spattered Luna Lovegood's magazine; Ginny, who had flung her arms up in front of her face just in time, merely looked as though she was wearing a slimy green hat, but Harry, whose hands had been busy preventing Trevor's escape, received a faceful. It smelled like rancid manure.
'Branched out a bit this year, hasn't it?' said Ron, his eyebrows raised.
'Malfoy was being absolutely foul to a first-year back there. I swear I'm going to report him, he's only had his badge three minutes and he's using it to bully people worse than ever . . . where's Crookshanks?'
Harry wiped the lenses of his glasses with his Trevor-free hand. A very pretty girl with long, shiny black hair was standing in the doorway smiling at him: Cho Chang, the Seeker on the Ravenclaw Quidditch team.
When first they came to light,
'S - sorry,' he gasped. 'I haven't tried that before . . . didn't realise it would be quite so . . . don't worry, though, Stinksap's not poisonous,' he added nervously, as Harry spat a mouthful on to the floor.
An old woman greeted them on the corner. She had tightly curled grey hair and wore a purple hat shaped like a pork pie.
The weather remained undecided as they travelled further and farther north. Rain spattered the windows in a half-hearted way, then the sun put in a feeble appearance before clouds drifted over it once more. When darkness fell and lamps came on inside the carriages, Luna rolled up The Quibbler, put it carefully away ii her bag and took to staring at everyone in the compartment instead.