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"Well, it wasn't exactly your own work, was it?" she said stiffly.
Dumbledore and Harry followed him onto a narrow dirt track bordered by higher and wilder hedgerows than those they had left behind. The path was crooked, rocky, and potholed, sloping down-hill like the last one, and it seemed to be heading for a patch of dark trees a little below them. Sure enough, the track soon opened up
"Here we are," said Mrs. Cole, as they turned off the second landing and stopped outside the first door in a long corridor. She knocked twice and entered.
"And nothing I say can change that?"
"How did you do that?" he whispered to Harry as they left the dungeon.
For or the rest of the week's Potions lessons Harry continued to follow the Half-Blood Prince's instructions wherever they de-viated from Libatius Borage's, with the result that by their fourth lesson Slughorn was raving about Harrys abilities, saying that he had rarely taught anyone so talented. Neither Ron nor Hermione was delighted by this. Although Harry had offered to share his book with both of them, Ron had more difficulty deciphering the handwriting than Harry did, and could not keep asking Harry to read aloud or it might look suspicious. Hermione, meanwhile, was resolutely plowing on with what she called the "official" instruc-tions, but becoming increasingly bad-tempered as they yielded poorer results than the Prince's.
"It is called Hogwarts," said Dumbledore.
"Don't touch it!"
"They probably want to look as though they're doing some-thing," said Hermione, frowning. "People are terrified — you know the Patil twins' parents want them to go home? And Eloise Midgen has already been withdrawn. Her father picked her up last night."
"'Professor'?" repeated Riddle. He looked wary. "Is that like 'doctor'? What are you here for? Did she get you in to have a look at me?"
"It was an accident, I'm sorry, Demelza, really sorry!" Ron shouted after her as she zigzagged back to the ground, dripping blood everywhere. "I just —"
"Or herself," said Hermione irritably, overhearing Harry point-ing some of these out to Ron in the common room on Saturday evening. "It might have been a girl. I think the handwriting looks more like a girl's than a boy's."
Chapter 10: The house of count
"You go!" said Ginny. "I want a word with my dear brother!" Dean left, looking as though he was not sorry to depart the scene.
She led him out of her office and up the stone stairs, calling out instructions and admonitions to helpers and children as she passed. The orphans, Harry saw, were all wearing the same kind of grayish tunic. They looked reasonably well-cared for, but there was no denying that this was a grim place in which to grow up.
"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!"。