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Epilogue of Drink Up Thy Zider, annotated - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
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Epilogue of Drink Up Thy Zider, annotated
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Epilogue

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The old order changed, giving place to new.[1] Even as Draco began to settle into life with Harry at Evelake, the Moot was dissolved and a general election had, which returned Harry’s party to power. Harry nor Draco paid the least attention. From August through November, there were apples to harvest, as their several varieties dictated, and then to store, to crush and press, to ferment and to rack and to bottle; there was much for Harry to rejoice in teaching, and much for Draco happily to learn.

By Old Twelfth Night, and the wassailing of the orchards – Hagrid there in full fig as the Green Man, and all their acquaintance gathered in support of them – they had settled in. Draco had learnt how cider was made, and had assisted in the creation and skimming of clotted cream, and was now versed in the ways of pigs and sheep and cattle. He had lost his haunted look, and – although still as fit as his own son – had filled out with peace and content; he had even acquired, by October, a touch of colour from the Sun.

He found himself increasingly putting down roots, like one of Harry’s – no: of their – own pear or apple trees. Packhorse bridge and parish magazine, farrier and forge, ford and footbridge and field, and the characteristic South Hams field barns, built of rubble or of cob, red-roofed or thatched, so like yet so unlike the field barns of the North Country, standing not at all alien amidst the corn: these became his horizon, and, although he prodded Harry to place the enterprise on a sound commercial level, charity or no, Draco soon ceased to be merely a man who knew the share price of everything and the value of nothing. He was made free of the District from the standing stones at Cleave St Urith to the long barrow beyond Evelake Pomeroy, and all that was between. He had become a contemplative man, and an angler when time permitted.

Harry, for his part, was yet more calm than before, and merrier; he had taken up a pipe (Neville, by way of contrast, had been a devotee of clay and briar since university days): which was a portent, for all his friends and family knew, if Harry (as was commonly the case) did not, that he had unconsciously strived in the past, not from vanity so much as from hope of finding a new partner, to preserve his youthfulness as in amber and to admit to no increase in age. Settled anew into the domesticity for which he was so clearly made, and which he had possessed so briefly with his late wife, Sir Harry was becoming, to his children’s mingled amusement and despair, more conventional than ever in a well-worn, retired-colonel sort of fashion: agricultural sales and herbaceous borders; the Hunt (Harry was less Peppery Colonel than a man whose craving for speed and swiftness had not been left behind on his school Quidditch pitch); the parish and the parish accounts, the choir – he had long been a mainstay of the basses, but never so devoted as now, now that Draco adorned the tenors – and his work as councillor; the Times and the Torygraph and the Shipping Forecast four times a day.

The Sun, majestic, went onwards in his slow diurnal course. Almost before they knew it, orchards and hedges had been white with voluptuary sweetness,[2] the apples lovelier of trees even than the cherry,[3] white-blossomed or blushed with maiden pink, pollinated by singing masons rising from their roofs of gold[4] even as the bee-lore Harry had received of the Dumbledores had taught; and then the buds had set and the incipient fruit, and to Draco’s joy, leaf and turf were once more as green as Harry’s eyes, bough and bole as dark and tangled as his hair, and Summer was again upon the land.

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Once more it was the 13th July, and a perfect day in Budleigh Babberton. It being a Saturday in the Year of Our Lord 2025, Horace Slughorn rose precisely half an hour after his weekday wont. It being a Saturday in mid-July, the seasonal and seasonable perfection of the day inhered in a gentle sea-breeze, a flawless sky, and the distant susurration of the sea – the innumerable laughter of the waves, Horace observed to himself, as he had done every morning since the fall of Voldemort – upon the pebble beach of Budleigh Babberton. Gazing placidly from his window, hygienically open top and bottom, Horace drew a deep breath of the famed seaside ozone, and luxuriantly exhaled it, for the nine-thousand-nine-hundred-three-and-thirtieth matutinal time since the fall of Voldemort.

These things abide: the immutability of the counsel of God,[5] he reflected cheerfully as he observed with satisfaction the familiar and unchanging scene. This Logos holds always, it always was and will be: an ever-living fire, with measures of it kindling, and measures going out.[6]

Sound buildings endure with the permanence of dogma,
[7] he solaced himself as he went through his unchanging round in his sound and pleasant house. For the nine-thousand-nine-hundred-three-and-thirtieth time, he undid his gorgeously oriental and resplendent bathrobe, with its tasselled cord that in its fringed and knotted ends so satisfactorily echoed the bone acorn of the window blind, and began to divest himself of his voluminous silk pyjamas of more than oriental splendour. Quite so, he thought happily as he sank into his sybaritic morning bath (for the nine-thousand-nine-hundred-three-and-thirtieth time since the fall of Voldemort):

Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are....
[8]


He must, he reflected, remember to send a very punctilious note of thanks to Harry-and-Draco (there is nothing new under the sun)[9] for their very kind and welcome gift of cider and cheese and wine.

Contentedly considering how little had changed in a wonderfully quiet year, Horace Slughorn, for the nine-thousand-nine-hundred-three-and-thirtieth time since the fall of Voldemort, plied his loofah and splashed happily in his bath.

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Finite

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[1] More Tennysonian Idylls.

[2] Eliot, Four Quartets, ‘4. Little Gidding’, as I should hope you know.

[3] Housman.

[4] Shakespeare, Henry 5th.

[5] Ultimately from Heb. 6.17.

[6] Heraclitus.

[7] GKC, paraphrased, if memory serves.

[8] Tennyson – this time, from ‘Ulysses’, of course.

[9] Eccles. 1.9.


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