That fellow Zabini imported a wife, the same way one might ask to have a very fine and sacred artwork shipped to them, something stolen from the wall of a museum (where all might enjoy it), and tossed on the Knockturn market, and then seized up by some wealthy opportunist and affixed in the drawing room, on the wall, to be enjoyed by only a select few, a crime everyone is aware of but no one can prove, a rare bit of beauty and a taunt all at once.
And it always seemed to her, struggling to learn his language, that underneath all his pretty love speech he was really telling her as much. He was telling her: “I’ve rescued you, and I’ve stolen you at the same time. Where you were, with your family - thankfully all magical, but so very poor compared to us, all the same, and so very uneducated, and so unable to appreciate what they had, looking on you in that stupid, small-minded way — that was not the place for you. My arm is the place for you. And here you will stay. A thing I display. Because this is what you have always been. A thing to display.”
When he died, no one thought to trace it back to the very lovely thing in the drawing room. She hardly even spoke the language, after all, so how could she have masterminded something like that? And, in any case, she was busy looking down at the child in her arms and telling him, in her own language, of the cut-glass vase her noble grandfather had once purchased from a neighboring land, of how the vase had stood proudly in the hall, admired by all, how it had been nothing but a sad and empty thing with no life in it, and how a small girl had crept in and stuck a snake in the vase when no one was looking, just for a bit of fun, just to have something alive, to disrupt that tedious beauty everywhere.
And when the snake sprang out and killed? Well. That was a crime no one could prove. The little girl had felt bad about it, at the time. But now she knew how terrible it was to be condemned as beautiful and lifeless, only the sort of thing one might look upon, nothing more.
"Unless I should have a snake coiled inside me," she told her son, "Waiting, very patiently, to strike."