Chapter 2 : Charms Class
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I couldn’t help but to wake early for my second day of classes and took my time getting ready for the day. I looked at myself in an antique mirror that had seen better days, given that the gilding was chipping away from the frame. The school dress uniform was very dreary-looking with its grey wool fabric. The overdress jacket at least made up for what was lacking in adornment with its primary color of rose with a wide cream panel in the front on each side that was decorated with tiny red buttons that seemed to sparkle. My sleeve cuffs matched the cream panel with more tiny red sparkling buttons. There was a high collar, done in cream, which was slightly hidden behind the rose ribbon that was tied in a pretty bow. My hat sat carefully perched on my head with a matching rose ribbon wrapped about the crown. I had tied my hair in a simple horse’s tail with a slender rose-colored ribbon after having brushed it about one hundred times.
I pulled a tiny silver pocket watch from my jewelry box and pinned it to my lapel. My mother had chosen it for me after we had returned from Diagon Alley. The pin was decorated with a small owl in flight and the clock face was etched with an owl sitting on a branch.
I was glad that my comfortably broken half-boots, which were only several weeks old, still looked new. I finished buttoning my boots then placed my button hook back in my trunk. It was only then that I turned my attention to my school books and marveled at how much information could be stored in such slender books. My satchel was filled with my ink, quill and loose parchment for notes. Carefully, I placed my books inside and double-checked that my assignments were there.
“Julia, are you ready?” Bridget asked as she ignored the other girls in the room who were groaning at waking up so early. She wore the same uniform as me, except she wore a small pocket watch decorated with roses that blended with her outfit.
“I believe so,” I replied with one last glance. “Are you ready?” I asked as she studied the intriguing wall clock that was done in brass and silver. The outer brass-colored ring held the numbers one through twelve and an inner silver ring displayed the numbers double zero through fifty-nine. Instead of the hands moving around the clock, they remained in place and the rings moved about as time passed. The clock facing was composed of a clear material that allowed the brass gears to be seen and watched. On every hour, a small golden ball with wings would fly out around the room and disappear back into the clock.
Bridget smoothed non-existent wrinkles from her uniform. “I believe so.” She was already holding her brown satchel.
I picked up my own light brown satchel and followed Bridget from the room, shutting the door behind me. Our next challenge for the day would be to find our way to the Great Hall for breakfast.
We didn’t see Albus in the common room and I had my suspicions that he had already left to meet with his friend, Elphias in the Great Hall. I followed Bridget through the portrait of the Fat Lady and shook my head in dismay again at the tarnished state of the silver and gold frames in the corridor just outside the Gryffindor tower. We stopped to take a closer look at one Portrait’s golden frame since gold shouldn’t be tarnishing; however our examination and discussion concerning the frame alarmed the wizard who was wearing an ear horn as a hat. Both of us were surprised when he stood and quickly left his frame and watched us from a still life painting held within a silver frame. A swipe of my finger on the frame relieved both of us when we saw the bright sparkle on the frame and the filth on my finger.
I wiped my finger clean as we continued on our way through the hall, our steps echoing on the stone floor as we discussed how that amount of grime wouldn’t be allowed in our homes, even with the soot that managed to always find its way inside. Bridget guessed that was the reason that their maid was always busy cleaning their house.
There weren’t many students walking in the corridors at this particular moment but the peace would soon change when those in the commons rooms realized there wasn’t as much time as they believed. Yesterday had shown that the Great Hall would be filled with the other early-rising students and proved to be the case again today.
We sat at the Gryffindor table and it was still incredible when breakfast seemed to blossom on the delicate china plates in front of us. Today there was a small bowl of porridge with toast on the side. A small creamer filled with milk appeared with a small plate of butter and a tiny jar of strawberry jam. I stirred the butter and milk into my porridge while Bridget chose to add only the milk, but both of us added the thick strawberry jam on our toast having learned it was the richest we had ever tasted. We ate in silence and watched those around us even as I wondered where Albus and Elphias were as I didn’t see them at either the Gryffindor table or the Ravenclaw table.
Charms class was still as fascinating to me as it was on our first day. There was a large piece of slate resting on an easel at the front of the classroom and Professor Bricklesworth’s stained desk sat off to one side. There was an odd person standing in the corner though it was quite evident that the person was not a real person given that it had been fashioned from brass. Another remarkable clock hung on the wall. While the gears could still be plainly seen, there was only one ring of gold with the numbers one through twelve standing out in constantly changing colors of red, blue, green and yellow. A feather touched the ring as it circled the outside of the golden ring while another smaller feather traced the ring’s outer edge more quickly.
We listened to Professor Bricklesworth lecture us once again on the merits of specifying precisely what the spell was to do. She looked at each of us as she stated that she expected to have no lazy students and therefore no lazy spells. We had been surprised yesterday to discover that our professor for Charms was a lady as well as our professor for Herbology. Most of the class shared our surprise and earned quite the lecture in return before she had turned to teaching us our first charm. Today I was glad to hear no grumbling.
As we had done the previous day, we wrote copious notes on the various ways to adapt our spell even though we would only be practicing a plain version of the spell until we had mastered it. Professor Bricklesworth then carefully enunciated the syllables for our first spell as she waved her wand at the slate board where the spell appeared neatly written. “Tabernus Pinnam.”
We repeated the spell without our wands, attempting to copy her inflection exactly. After listening to us state the spell as a class several times, Professor Bricklesworth finally called for us to stop then asked, “Please pull out your wands and copy the motion of my wand.”
I picked up my wand and tried my best to copy exactly what she was demonstrating and decided that it was more difficult that it appeared to be. I chanced only a small glance at Bridget sitting next to me and noticed that she was frowning at her wand. A few rows over from us, I saw that Albus already had succeeded in copying Professor Bricklesworth’s wand motion and now was looking bored. Elphias sat next to him working on the wand motion which made me feel slightly better that the other students were also having difficulties.
“Wands down, please,” Professor Bricklesworth’s voice cut through both the noise in the classroom and my thoughts. I hurried to comply. “In the little time remaining, you will work on saying the spell and performing the wand motion.” I watched as she waved her wand making feathers appear in front of every student. “You may begin now.”
I hurriedly picked up my wand and began trying to wave it correctly as I stated the spell as properly as I could. My feather remained firmly attached to the desk. It was a little difficult to concentrate while Bridget grumbled next to me about stupid feathers. I glanced over at Albus and Elphias again to see that Albus’ feather was already floating while Elphias’ feather appeared to be spouting water! I stared in bewilderment, wondering how he had managed to do that, but I quickly turned my attention back to my feather when I noticed that Professor Bricklesworth was watching me.
“Tabernus Pinnam,” I whispered while waving my wand. I smiled when my feather rose a few inches from the desktop and floated in the air only to fade when it fell with an ungraceful drop back to the desk.
Bridget finally poked at her uncooperative feather and we both stared in horror as it shriveled up to leave only ash behind!
“What did you do?” I asked her, eyeing the mess with concern.
“I don’t know!” Bridget had trouble looking away from what had been her feather.
Neither of us noticed when Professor Bricklesworth stopped in front of us, but she tapped the once-feather making it disappear. A second tap created another feather. “Speak a little slower, Miss Franklin, and a little clearer.” She then turned to deal with a feather that had begun to emit ink as it hovered.
“Yes, Ma’am,” Bridget replied, her cheeks turning a dull red with embarrassment. It seemed that her feather was determined to remain solidly on our desk with her efforts ending in disappointment.
“Practice your incantation and your wand work for tomorrow.” Professor Bricklesworth stated to our surprise, “You are dismissed.” While others began to scramble to gather their belongings, I took my time putting everything back in my satchel even though Bridget was waiting impatiently.
After sitting through Potions and Transfiguration classes, I was more than ready for lunch. Bridget looked as if her head was hurting her. “Tell me it gets easier,” she complained.
Clara, who looked to be about a year older than us, was sitting next to us. “It does and it doesn’t,” she replied cryptically. We both looked at her with confusion at her explanation, leading her to clarify her statement. “The work load remains about the same, but you adjust to learning what they teach.” She stood, gathering her satchel, “Just do your best and you’ll do fine.”
I rubbed my own forehead and wished that there was something that I could take to ease my headache. Raised voices caught my attention and I looked over to see another one of the First Years, who I thought was a Hufflepuff, talking angrily with Albus who looked resigned while Elphias looked upset. “What do you think that’s about?” I asked Bridget.
She looked over and watched them for a long moment as the angry student threw his hands into the air and stormed away leaving Albus shaking his head. Elphias was still very upset and began talking animatedly to Albus who continued to shake his head slowly. We watched as he asked another question only to get another shake of his head in answer. Bridget shook her own head, “I can only guess that Albus disagreed with whatever that other boy was telling him.”
“I wonder what that was about,” I turned my attention back to my lunch.
The afternoon classes seemed to drag, but finally the last class ended and we headed back to the Great Hall for dinner where I managed to convince Bridget that we should study in the library instead of the common room. She reluctantly agreed and sighed often as we made our way through the other students in the corridors. I was astonished to see how full the library was and began to think that Bridget was right and we should have gone to the common room to study, but just as I was about to leave, I noticed an unused table half hidden by the shelves where we could sit and study. Bridget was less than pleased but sat with me and opened her books as well as I began reading through my notes again.
I had just finished reviewing my notes on the cure for boils for our potions class and closed the notebook softly. I looked around, curious to see how much time had passed when I noticed that a nearby table had been taken by Albus who was quietly revising his own notes. I was grateful that Bridget’s muttering had changed to practicing spell pronunciations in a whisper.
“Dumbledore, just the person I wanted to see!”
I looked up completely annoyed at having been disturbed and noticed that Albus also looked displeased with the speaker. I didn’t recognize the older boy, but it was evident that Albus did because he began to put away his books which apparently did nothing to stop the one-sided conversation. I nudged Bridget to watch as Albus’ expression changed from bored to upset and finally furious.
We were both astonished when the older boy didn’t immediately stop speaking and leave, perhaps with an apology, and we stared in surprise when Albus started speaking too quietly for us to hear though he obviously made his point as his temper flared. When he finished stuffing his last book into his satchel, he stood and with one last furious statement he left without a backward glance. His opponent finally shrugged and left, walking by us without even a glance in their direction.
“Albus, are you here?” Elphias asked in a tentative whisper. I sighed, watching him looking around for his friend before he paused at our table. “Good evening, have you seen Albus by chance?”
“He was over there,” Bridget replied, pointing to the table where he had been sitting, “but someone said something that made him upset and he left in a dramatic fashion.”
Elphias glanced at me and I nodded my agreement. “I see… Would you happen to know where he went?”
We shook our heads, “He didn’t stop to speak with us.”
Elphias’ shoulders slumped in defeat. “Would you mind terribly if I studied with you?” He held up his hands to forestall an immediate denial. “I assure you that I will be green only for a couple more months at the most.”
I was nodding while Bridget was shaking her head. “Please, sit,” I finally offered over Bridget’s objection. Elphias chose to sit at the far end of the table as Bridget sighed with annoyance making me turn to her and demand in a whisper that he hopefully wouldn’t hear, “He has said several times now that he is no longer contagious. What is your objection to him?”
“Tabernus Pinnam” is Latin for “hover the feather”.
I hope you have enjoyed this chapter especially with Julia’s curiosity about the other students’ reactions to Albus. What is your first impression of Albus? What do you like best and least about Julia and Bridget?
Thank you very much for your constructive criticism!
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