So they drifted back into the celebration and their interest in the proceedings soon began to dull the sharpness of their disappointment. Oh-Pshaw was nowhere to be seen, however, and by-and-by Sahwah slipped away from the others and went in search of her. She guessed that Oh-Pshaw might have gone home, to get away from the girls, and went to the house, but it was closed and locked, and there was no sign of Oh-Pshaw in the garden anywhere. Then Sahwah remembered that Oh-Pshaw had a favorite nook out in the woods where she went when she wanted to be alone, a wide-spreading, low-boughed chestnut tree in a dense, shady grove, away from the singing brook with its terrifying gurgle; into the branches she climbed and sat as in a great wide armchair, secure from interruption. She had taken Sahwah with her once. Of course that was where she would go.
Sahwah hesitated a moment. Over on Main Street the fun was going at full blast; it was just about time for the balloon to go up. If she went out to look for Oh-Pshaw she would miss it. After all, Oh-Pshaw might not have gone to the woods; she might be in the crowd somewhere, watching the performance where the girls couldn’t see her. But Sahwah knew Oh-Pshaw, and knew that she considered herself disgraced and that she would have no heart to look at the rest of the performance. She had a vision of Oh-Pshaw sitting disconsolate out in the woods, hiding away from the festivities, and that vision refused to go away.
“I’ll go and see, anyway,” Sahwah decided resolutely, “and if she is there I’ll make her come back with me, and if she isn’t, there’s no harm done by going. I’ve seen balloons before, and I’ll see them again.”
Turning her back on the festive town she took the path to the woods, and hurried along with light, swift footsteps, humming as she went. Just inside the woods she pounced on something in the path with a little exclamation of triumph. It was a red, white and blue arm band, undoubtedly Oh-Pshaw’s. She had come to the woods after all. Sahwah sped on to the big chestnut tree, finding it without difficulty, although she had only been there once. Sure enough, there was Oh-Pshaw, all curled up in the embrace of the wide branches, her face in her arms, the picture of abandoned woe. Sahwah swung up beside her and called her gently by name. Oh-Pshaw raised her head with a start and looked surprised when she saw who it was.
“Hello,” she responded forlornly to Sahwah’s greeting.
“Don’t take it so to heart,” said Sahwah cheerfully. “It wasn’t as bad as you think.”
“The girls will never speak to me again,” said Oh-Pshaw dismally, “and you can’t blame them, either.”
“Oh, come, they will, too,” said Sahwah. “They’re all over it already and out enjoying the rest of the show. Come on back. You wouldn’t want to miss the sham battle for anything.”