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"Surely not?" said Hermione, looking worried.
She opened the lid. Harry edged forward a little to get a better view and saw what looked like a small golden cup with two finely wrought handles.
"Oh . . . yes. .." said Madam Pomfrey, who seemed to have been counting Hagrid as several people due to his vastness. To cover her confusion, she hurried off to clear up his muddy foot prints with her wand.
"She remembered putting something in her mistress's cocoa that turned out not to be sugar, but a lethal and little-known poison, said Dumbledore. "It was concluded that she had not meant to do it, but being old and confused —"
"Yeah, of course!" said Harry loudly, staring at her. "Of course! Malfoy must've been inside the room at the time, so she — what am I talking about? — he dropped the scales to tell Malfoy not to corne out, because there was someone there! And there was that girl who dropped the toadspawn too! We've been walking past him all the time and not realizing it!"
"Oh no, merely friendly with the local barmen," said Dumbledore lightly. "Now, Tom . . ."
Dobby appeared alongside Kreacher, his tea-cozy hat askew. "Dobby has been helping too, Harry Potter!" he squeaked, cast-ing Kreacher a resentful look. "And Kreacher ought to tell Dobby when he is coming to see Harry Potter so they can make their re-ports together!"
"I dunno, Harry, it sounded like Snape was feelin’ a bit overworked, tha's all — anyway, Dumbledore told him flat out he'd agreed ter do it an' that was all there was to it. Pretty firm with him. An' then he said summat abou’ Snape makin' investigations in his House, in Slytherin. Well, there's nothin' strange abou' that!" Hagrid added hastily, as Harry and Hermione exchanged looks full of meaning. "All the Heads o' Houses were asked ter look inter that necklace business —"
She tucked away her powder puff as the house-elf straightened up. The top of the elf's head barely reached the seat of Hepzibah's chair, and her papery skin hung off her frame just like the crisp linen sheet she wore draped like a toga.
But Slughorn seemed paralysed by shock. Ron twitched and choked: his skin was turning blue.
"— because she was a house-elf," said Harry. He had rarely felt more in sympathy with the society Hermione had set up, S.P.E.W. "Precisely," said Dumbledore. "She was old, she admitted to having tampered with the drink, and nobody at the Ministry bothered to inquire further. As in the case of Morfin, by the time I traced her and managed to extract this memory, her life was almost over — but her memory, of course, proves nothing except that Voldemort knew of the existence of the cup and the locket.
'You just picked them up off the floor, didn't you?'
There was a pause while they all watched Ron mumble a little in his sleep.
"What ideas, sir?"
"And thirdly, as a teacher, he would have had great power and influence over young witches and wizards. Perhaps he had gained the idea from Professor Slughorn, the teacher with whom he was on best terms, who had demonstrated how influential a role a teacher can play. I do not imagine for an instant that Voldemort envisaged spending the rest of his life at Hogwarts, but I do think that he saw it as a useful recruiting ground, and a place where he might begin to build himself an army."。