There was not a sign of life about the house. Peggy knocked firmly on the door, but there was no answer. She and Maddie went around to the back yard and knocked there. Still there was no answer.
 
There was no doubt about it. The Petronskis were gone. How could they ever make amends?
 
They turned slowly and made their way back down the hill.
 
“Well, anyway,” said Peggy, “she’s gone now, so what can we do? Besides, when I was asking her about all her dresses, she probably was getting good ideas for her drawings. She might not even have won the contest, otherwise.”
 
Maddie turned this idea carefully over in her head, for if there were anything in it she would not have to feel so badly. But that night she could not get to sleep. She thought about Wanda and her faded blue dress and the little house she had lived in. And she thought of the glowing picture those hundred dresses made — all lined up in the classroom. At last Maddie sat up in bed and pressed her forehead tight in her hands and really thought. This was the hardest thinking she had ever done. After a long, long time, she reached an important conclusion.
Explanation:
 
When Peggy and Maddie reached the house, there was no sign of human existence. Peggy knocked on the door firmly. But no one opened the door. Then Maddie and Peggy went around the backyard and knocked there. But they didn't get any response from them. Finally, they thought Wanda's family had left the place. After that, there arises a question about how Maddie and Peggy will ever get to apologise for their mistakes. Then both turned slowly and made their way down the hill.
 
Peggy said Wanda had gone now, so what could they do after that? She then said that whenever she asked Wanda about her dresses, Wanda got more new ideas for her drawings. In addition, she said that if Peggy didn't ask such questions, Wanda wouldn't have won the drawing contest. Here, one can find that Peggy was not feeling for the mistake she had made; on the other side, she was making things normal by telling her that because of her, Wanda won the contest.
 
After hearing Peggy's talk, Maddie took all those things into her mind. Then she thought that if Peggy said it was true, she shouldn't feel bad about that. But on that night, Maddie couldn't sleep. She was thinking about Wanda, her faded dress and the small house she lived in. In addition, she thought of the hundred beautiful pictures Wanda designed. She also recalled about the hundred dresses lined up in their classroom. Maddie finally got out of bed, gripped her forehead firmly with her palms, and gave it some serious thought. The hardest she had ever thought was at this moment. After a long thought, she concluded.
 
Meanings of the difficult words:
 
S.No
Words
Meanings
1
Knock To repeatedly hit something, producing a noise
2
AmendTo do something good to show that you are sorry about something you have done
3
Forehead The flat part of the face, above the eyes and below the hair
4
ConclusionThe final part of something
Reference:
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2007). First Flight- The Hundred Dresses I-Eleanor Estes (pp. 73-83). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.