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Agnes gave several loud barks.

And look, Broderick, youve been sent a pot plant and a lovely calendar with a different fancy Hippogriff for each month; theyll brighten things up, wont they? said the Healer, bustling along to the mumbling man, setting a rather ugly plant with long, swaying tentacles on the bedside cabinet and fixing the calendar to the wall with her wand. Andoh, Mrs. Longbottom, are you leaving already?

Harrys head span round. The curtains had been drawn back from the two beds at the end of the ward and two visitors were walking back down the aisle between the beds: a formidable-looking old witch wearing a long green dress, a moth-eaten fox fur and a pointed hat decorated with what was unmistakeably a stuffed vulture and, trailing behind her looking thoroughly depressedNeville.

With a sudden rush of understanding, Harry realised who the people in the end beds must be. He cast around wildly for some means of distracting the others so that Neville could leave the ward unnoticed and unquestioned, but Ron had also looked up at the sound of the name Longbottom, and before Harry could stop him had called out, Neville!

Neville jumped and cowered as though a bullet had narrowly missed him.

Its us, Neville! said Ron brightly, getting to his feet. Have you seen? Lockharts here! Whove you been visiting?

Friends of yours, Neville, dear? said Nevilles grandmother graciously, bearing down upon them all.

Neville looked as though he would rather be anywhere in the world but here. A dull purple flush was creeping up his plump face and he was not making eye contact with any of them.

Ah, yes, said his grandmother, looking closely at Harry and sticking out a shrivelled, clawlike hand for him to shake. Yes, yes, I know who you are, of course. Neville speaks most highly of you.

Erthanks, said Harry, shaking hands. Neville did not look at him, but surveyed his own feet, the colour deepening in his face all the while.

And you two are clearly Weasleys, Mrs. Longbottom continued, proffering her hand regally to Ron and Ginny in turn. Yes, I know your parentsnot well, of coursebut fine people, fine people and you must be Hermione Granger?


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  1. At once, several pairs of strong gray hands seized him. Half a dozen mermen were pulling him away from Hermione, shaking their green haired heads, and laughing.
  2. But there was an angry outcry from the surrounding benches. Several of the witches and wizards around the walls stood up, shaking their heads, and even their fists, at Mr. Crouch.
  3. Cedrics bag split. Parchment, quills, and books spilled out of it onto the floor. Several bottles of ink smashed.
  4. Hagrid jumped and looked down at Harry as though he barely recognised him. Harry saw that he had two fresh cuts on his face and several new bruises.
  5. Harry thrust his fist in the air. Again, Professor Umbridge promptly turned away from him, but now several other people had their hands up, too.
  6. He glanced around to make quite sure nobody was listening. Madam Pince was several shelves away, stamping out a pile of books for a frantic-looking Hannah Abbott.
  7. He had moved about two inches when several things happened in very quick succession.
  8. He passed her several small golden coins, all embossed with the letters M.O.M., which he had taken from the witchs purse.
  9. Hermione had knocked over her golden goblet. Pumpkin juice spread steadily over the tablecloth, staining several feet of white linen orange, but Hermione paid no attention.
  10. It was several minutes before Kreacher hiccupped himself into silence. Then he pushed himself into a sitting position again, rubbing his knuckles into his eyes like a small child.
  11. Pettigrew opened his mouth and closed it several times. He seemed to have lost the ability to talk.




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A motherly-looking Healer wearing a tinsel wreath in her hair came bustling up the corridor, smiling warmly at Harry and the others. | Hermione looked rather startled that Mrs. Longbottom knew her name, but shook hands all the same.

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