“Er — Petunia, dear — you haven’t heard from your sister lately, have you?”
As he had expected, Mrs. Dursley looked shocked and angry. After all, they normally pretended she didn’t have a sister.
“No,” she said sharply. “Why?”
“Funny stuff on the news,” Mr. Dursley mumbled. “Owls… shooting stars… and there were a lot of funny-looking people in town today…”
“So?” snapped Mrs. Dursley.
“Well, I just thought… maybe… it was something to do with… you know… her crowd.”
Mrs. Dursley sipped her tea through pursed lips. Mr. Dursley wondered whether he dared tell her he’d heard the name “Potter.” He decided he didn’t dare. Instead he said, as casually as he could, “Their son — he’d be about Dudley’s age now, wouldn’t he?”
“I suppose so,” said Mrs. Dursley stiffly.
“What’s his name again? Howard, isn’t it?”
“Harry. Nasty, common name, if you ask me.”
“Oh, yes,” said Mr. Dursley, his heart sinking horribly. “Yes, I quite agree.”
He didn’t say another word on the subject as they went upstairs to bed. While Mrs. Dursley was in the bathroom, Mr. Dursley crept to the bedroom window and peered down into the front garden. The cat was still there. It was staring down Privet Drive as though it were waiting for something.
Was he imagining things? Could all this have anything to do with the Potters? If it did… if it got out that they were related to a pair of — well, he didn’t think he could bear it.
(Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone)

What do the last two highlighted terms refer to?

1 Answer 1


They refers to the Dursleys. I.e if it got out that the Dursleys were related to the Potters.

A pair of— is cut off, because Mr Dursley doesn't want to think about the thing that the Potters are. I don't know what Mr Dursley thinks the Potters are, but that is what would replace the dash. For example "a pair of wizards".

  • 1
    If 'a pair' is the Potters, logically, 'they' needs to be the Dursleys, doesn't they?
    – Listenever
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 13:05
  • Yes. The pair referred to in "a pair of —" are Mr. and Mrs. Potter (not Harry).
    – Matt Ellen
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 13:07

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