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"Hedwig, dear?" said Mrs. Weasley distractedly. "No. . . no, there hasn't been any post at all."
They heard urgent voices as they approached the spot where the Portkeys lay, and when they reached it, they found a great number of witches and wizards gathered around Basil, the keeper of the Portkeys, all clamoring to get away from the campsite as quickly as possible. Mr. Weasley had a hurried discussion with Basil; they joined the queue, and were able to take an old rubber tire back to Stoatshead Hill before the sun had really risen. They walked back through Ottery St. Catchpole and up the damp lane toward the Burrow in the dawn light, talking very little because they were so exhausted, and thinking longingly of their breakfast. As they rounded the corner and the Burrow came into view, a cry echoed along the lane.
"Yeah, but was it, though?" said Harry, turning to look out of the window at the brightening sky. "It's weird, isn't it?. . . My scar hurts, and three days later the Death Eaters are on the march, and Voldemort's sign's up in the sky again."
"Stunned? By you lot, you mean? But why - ?"
The words were no sooner out of his mouth than the doors of the Great Hall opened and silence fell. Professor McGonagall was leading a long line of first years up to the top of the Hall. If Harry, Ron, and Hermione were wet, it was nothing to how these first years looked. They appeared to have swum across the lake rather than sailed. All of them were shivering with a combination of cold and nerves as they filed along the staff table and came to a halt in a line facing the rest of the school - all of them except the smallest of the lot, a boy with mousy hair, who was wrapped in what Harry recognized as Hagrid's moleskin overcoat. The coat was so big for him that it hooked as though he were draped in a furry black circus tent. His small face protruded from over the collar, looking almost painfully excited. When he had lined up with his terrified-looking peers, he caught Colin Creevey's eye, gave a double thumbs-up, and mouthed, I fell in the lake!
Hagrid hurried over to him, looking anxious.
"Coming, Arthur!" called Mrs. Weasley, hurrying out of the room.
Harry scanned the table more carefully. Tiny little Professor Flitwick, the Charms teacher, was sitting on a large pile of cushions beside Professor Sprout, the Herbology teacher, whose hat was askew over her flyaway gray hair. She was talking to Professor Sinistra of the Astronomy department. On Professor Sinistra's other side was the sallow-faced, hook-nosed, greasy-haired Potions master, Snape - Harry's least favorite person at Hogwarts. Harry's loathing of Snape was matched only by Snape's hatred of him, a hatred which had, if possible, intensified last year, when Harry had helped Sirius
He moved quickly around Mr. Diggory and strode off toward the place where he had found Winky.
"No," said Mr. Weasley. "We found Barry Crouch's elf holding Harry's wand, but we're none the wiser about who actually conured the Mark."
"But I think Durmstrang must be somewhere in the far north," said Hermione thoughtfully.
Seamus and Dean, who were working nearby, sniggered loudly, though not loudly enough to mask the excited squeals from Lavender Brown - "Oh Professor, look! I think I've got an unaspected planet! Oooh, which one's that, Professor?"
Mr. Weasley groaned.
"You're going to have an interesting year," said Bill, his eyes twinkling. "I might even get time off to come and watch a bit of it."
"She didn't run amok!" shouted Hermione. "She just picked it up off the ground!"
"He's retired, used to work at the Ministry," said Charlie. "I met him once when Dad took me into work with him. He was an Auror - one of the best. . . a Dark wizard catcher," he added, seeing Harry's blank look "Half the cells in Azkaban are full because of him. He made himself loads of enemies, though. . . the families of people he caught, mainly. . .
"Arthur, you know Mad-Eye," said Mr. Diggory's head, rolling its eyes again. "Someone creeping into his yard in the dead of night? More likely there's a very shell-shocked cat wandering around somewhere, covered in potato peelings. But if the Improper Use of Magic lot get their hands on Mad-Eye, he's had it -- think of his record -- we've got to get him off on a minor charge, something in your department -- what are exploding dustbins worth?"？
Hagrid was standing outside his hut, one hand on the collar of his enormous black boarhound, Fang. There were several open wooden crates on the ground at his feet, and Fang was whimpering and straining at his collar, apparently keen to investigate the contents more closely. As they drew nearer, an odd rattling noise reached their ears, punctuated by what sounded like minor explosions.。