‘afferto epistulas, Dudley,’ inquit Avunculus Vernon actis diurnis celatus. ‘iube Harrium eas affere.’ ‘afferto epistulas, Harri.’
‘iube Dudleum eas afferre.’ ‘fodicato eum baculo isto scholastico, Dudley.’ Harrio, baculo scholastico eluso, epistulas petebat. in tapeti tres res iacebant: publici cursus chartula a Margareta sorore Avunculus Vernon ferias in insula Vecte agente missa et involucrum fuscum in quo mercium venditarum ratio inesse videbatur et – epistula ad Harrium missa.
‘Get the post, Dudley,’ said Uncle Vernon from behind his paper. ‘Make Harry get it.’ ‘Get the post, Harry.’ ‘Make Dudley get it.’
‘Poke him with your Smeltings stick, Dudley.’ Harry dodged the Smeltings stick and went to get the post. Three things lay on the doormat: a postcard from Uncle Vernon’s sister Marge, who was holidaying on the Isle of Wight, a brown envelope that looked like a bill and – a letter for Harry.
‘DA MIHI EPISTULAM MEAM!’ clamavit. ‘ostendenda est mihi!’ postulavit Dudley. ‘EXITE!’ exclamavit Avunculus Vernon, et cervicibus arreptis et Harrium et Dudleum in atrium eiecit. quo facto ianuam culinae magno cum fragore clausit. statim Harrius et Dudley inter se certabant pugna feroci sed tacita utter ad foramen in quo clavis insereretur aurem applicaturus esset; Dudleo victore, Harrius, perspicillis ab una aure pendentibus, pronus in ventre iacebat ut aurem alteram ad rimam inter ianuam et pavimentum patentem applicaret.
‘I WANT MY LETTER!’ he shouted. ‘Let me see it!’ demanded Dudley. ‘OUT!’ roared Uncle Vernon, and he took both Harry and Dudley by the scruffs of their necks and threw them into the hall, slamming the kitchen door behind them. Harry and Dudley promptly had a furious but silent fight over who would listen at the keyhole; Dudley won, so Harry, his glasses dangling from one ear, lay flat on his stomach to listen at the crack between door and floor.
‘ab inferiore parte domus vox Dudlei audiebatur matri clamantis: ‘Noli eum ibi inesse… mihi necessarium est illud cubile… iube eum discedere…’ Harrius susperavit et se in lecto extendit. quidnam heri non dedisset so modo ei permissum esset huc ascendere? hodie autem malebat in armarium regressus epistulam habere quam hic sursum adesse illa varens.
From downstairs came the sound of Dudley bawling at his mother: ‘I don’t want him in there … I need that room … make him get out …’ Harry sighed and stretched out on the bed. Yesterday he’d have given anything to be up here. Today he’d rather be back in his cupboard with that letter than up here without it.
postridie mane horologium monitorium reflectum, ubi sexta hora insonuit, Harrius celeriter sistit et silentio vestes induit. Durslei non excitandi erant. gradus furtim descendit nullis lucernis accensis. tabellarium in angulo Gestarionis Ligustrorum exspectaturus erat ut primus epistulas numero quattuor destinatas acciperet. corde micante per atrium obscurum ad ostium serpebat – ‘AAAAARRRGG!’ Harrius in aera saliit – pede presserat aliquid magnum et mollescens in tapeti iacens- aliquid vivum!
The repaired alarm clock rang at six o’clock the next morning. Harry turned it off quickly and dressed silently. He mustn’t wake the Dursleys. He stole downstairs without turning on any of the lights. He was going to wait for the postman on the corner of Privet Drive and get the letters for number four first. His heart hammered as he crept across the dark hall toward the front door – ‘’AAAAARRRGH!” Harry leapt into the air; he’d trodden on something big and squashy on the doormat – something alive!
die Solis mane, Avunculus Vernon ad mensam ientaculum sumpturus consedit, fessus, ut videbatur, et aegrior, sed beatus. ‘die solis non advenit tabellarius,’ laetus eos admonuit, liquamine malosinesi acta diurna oblinens. ‘hodie nullae reddentur epistulae istae damnabiles -‘ aliqiud ruit de canali fumario culinae et loquentis occipitium vi percussit. deinde triginta vel quadriginta epistulae e foco emicuerunt glandium modo. Durslei capita inclinaverunt, sed Harrius in aera saliit unam capturus- ‘exi! EXI!’
On Sunday morning, Uncle Vernon sat down at the breakfast table looking tired and rather ill, but happy. “No post on Sundays,” he reminded them cheerfully as he spread marmalade on his newspapers, “no damn letters today —” Something came whizzing down the kitchen chimney as he spoke and caught him sharply on the back of the head. Next moment, thirty or forty letters came pelting out of the fireplace like bullets. The Dursleys ducked, but Harry leapt into the air trying to catch one. “Out! OUT!”
As night fell, the promised storm blew up around them. Spray from the high waves splattered the walls of the hut and a fierce wind rattled the filthy windows. Aunt Petunia found a few moldy blankets in the second room and made up a bed for Dudley on the moth-eaten sofa. She and Uncle Vernon went off to the lumpy bed next door, and Harry was left to find the softest bit of floor he could and to curl up under the thinnest, most ragged blanket.
The storm raged more and more ferociously as the night went on. Harry couldn’t sleep. He shivered and turned over, trying to get comfortable, his stomach rumbling with hunger. Dudley’s snores were drowned by the low rolls of thunder that started near midnight. The lighted dial of Dudley’s watch, which was dangling over the edge of the sofa on his fat wrist, told Harry he’d be eleven in ten minutes’ time. He lay and watched his birthday tick nearer, wondering if the Dursleys would remember at all, wondering where the letter writer was now.