Chapter X. Mirabell is Happy

Away rattled the wagon with the load of wood. The man sat on the seat, driving the horse, and behind him, where he had placed her on a board so she would not roll off, was the Lamb on Wheels.

"Are my adventures never going to end?" thought the Lamb. "Here I am riding on a wagon, while, a short time ago, I was on a raft, sailing over the ocean like Uncle Tim."

The Lamb did not know the difference between the brook and the ocean, but we can hardly blame her, as she had not traveled very much.

"I rather like this wagon ride, though," said the Lamb, as the man drove away from the brook and up through the lots. His horse was no longer thirsty.

The man who had picked up the pieces of the boys' raft to take home to be chopped up for firewood, did all sorts of odd jobs in the neighborhood. He would cut grass, beat rugs, cart away rubbish, and do things like that for people who lived near the brook. And soon after loading his wagon with wood and taking away the Lamb on Wheels the man said to himself:

"I'll go around to the Big House and ask if they have any trash that needs carting away. I can't take it now, because I have this load of wood on, but I could come to-morrow and get it. Yes, I'll drive to the Big House and see if they need me."

The "Big House," as the man called it, was a place where a gardener, a cook, and a maid were kept by a rich family, and the gardener used to rake up the trash in the yard and keep it until the rubbish man called with his wagon to take it away.

So along rattled the wagon with the Lamb on Wheels up on the pile of wood. She slid from side to side, as the road was now rough, and once she almost fell out. But the man looked around just in time and saw her.

"Oh, ho! Mustn't have that happen!" he exclaimed. "I don't want to lose the Lamb I found. It's an almost new toy, and maybe I can sell it. I must not lose it!"

Then he reached back and took the Lamb on Wheels from along the loose pieces of wood.

"I'll set it up on the seat beside me," said the man, talking aloud to himself, as he often did. "I can hold it on as we go over the rough places."

But soon the man drove out of the lots to a smooth road, and then the Lamb felt better.

"Now we'll stop at the Big House," said the man, as he drove up along a back road and stopped at a gate in a high fence. "Whoa!" he called to his horse, and when the horse stopped the man got down off the seat, leaving the Lamb still there.

The man who had the load of wood opened the gate in the fence, and just then another man came out.

"Hello, Patrick!" called the wood man. "I was driving past and I just thought I'd stop and see if there was any trash you wanted carted off to the dump. Of course I can't take it now, as I have on a load of wood," he added. "But I can come back later."

"Oh, so you have a load of wood, have you?" asked Patrick, who had a garden rake in his hand. "Where did you get it?" and he walked toward the wagon, letting the garden gate swing shut behind him.

"Found it down in the lot near the brook. Some boys had made a raft, but I guess they got tired of playing with it, so I took the planks and boards. I found something else, too, Patrick!" "You did? What was that, Mike?"

"A toy woolly Lamb on Wheels," answered the odd-job man. "It was on the raft. I brought it along with me. There it is, up on the seat," and he pointed to the toy.

"A Lamb! A toy Lamb on Wheels!" exclaimed Patrick. "Well, if this isn't strange! I never would have believed it!"

"What's the matter?" asked the odd-job man, as Patrick looked more closely at the Lamb on the wagon seat. "What's the matter?"

"Why, this is Mirabell's Lamb! The one she has been looking for!" cried Patrick. "I hunted down in our cellar for this Lamb, but I didn't find her. And now you have her on a load of wood! How strange! Where did you say you found her?"

"On the raft," answered the odd-job man. "But who is Mirabell?"

"A little girl who lives next door," explained Patrick, the gardener. "She plays with our Dorothy, and Mirabell's Uncle Tim brought her a Lamb on Wheels. Mirabell had her Lamb out in the street, but she left it for a moment and then it disappeared. Now here it is!"

"Are you sure it's the same one?" asked the odd-job man.

"Quite sure," answered Patrick, and, oh, how the Lamb wished she dared speak out and say that she certainly was that very same toy! And how she wished they would take her to Mirabell!

"We can soon tell if this is Mirabell's Lamb," went on Patrick. "I'll take it to her. If you want to you can unload that wood here. My master will buy it and I can chop it up. Then you can cart away some trash in your wagon."

"I'll do that," said the odd-job man. "I guess the Lamb brought me good luck. I was thinking maybe I could sell this wood after I had chopped it up myself, but I'd rather sell it as it is. And I can then cart away the trash."

"Well, you be unloading the wood," said Patrick, "and I'll go see if this is Mirabell's Lamb. But I am very sure it is,"

Leaning his rake up against the back fence, Patrick walked up the garden path, around the "Big House," as the odd-job man had called it, and then the gardener went toward the house where Mirabell lived.

The little girl, who had hunted all over for her Lamb on Wheels and was feeling very sad because she had not found it, was in the kitchen getting a cookie from Susan, the cook, when Patrick knocked on the back door.

"I'll go and see who it is!" cried the little girl.

And when she opened the door, and saw Patrick from the "Big House" standing there with the Lamb on Wheels, Mirabell was so surprised that she dropped her cookie. It fell on the floor, and it almost rolled down the back steps, but Patrick caught it in time.

[Illustration: "I Hardly Remember," Said Lamb on Wheels.]

"Oh! Oh!" exclaimed Mirabell, clasping her hands. "Where did you find her? Where did you find my Lamb on Wheels, Patrick?"

"Then she is yours?" asked the gardener.

"Of course she's mine!" cried Mirabell, as she took her toy in her arms. "I've been looking everywhere for her! Oh, where did you find her?"

"I didn't find her. Another man did," explained the gardener. "But as soon as I saw this Lamb on the seat of his wagon, I thought she was yours. And she is!"

"Yes, she is!" cried Mirabell, who was very happy now. "This is my Lamb on Wheels, and I'm never going to lose her again. Oh, Patrick, I'm so glad!" she cried. "Will you thank the other man for me?"

"You may come and thank him yourself if you like," said the good-natured gardener. "He's unloading wood at our back gate, and he's going to take away a load of trash for me. Come and thank him yourself."

And Mirabell, holding the Lamb in her arms, did so.

"I can't tell you how glad and happy I am," said Mirabell.

"I am glad I happened to find your toy for you," replied the odd-job man.

Then, the little girl, nodding and smiling at Patrick and Mike, ran laughing across the yard to tell her mother the good news.

"I'm never going to lose my Lamb on Wheels again!" said Mirabell.

"I wonder where she was, and how she got on the raft by the brook," said Arnold, when he and Dick and Dorothy had heard the story of the finding of the lost toy.

"I don't know," answered Mirabell.

"All I know is that I have her back again, and, oh! I'm so happy!"

"I certainly am glad to get back to Mirabell again," said the Lamb on Wheels to herself. "And what a remarkable adventure I shall have to tell the Sawdust Doll and the White Rocking Horse when I see them again!"

This happened very soon, for a few days later Mirabell carried the Lamb on Wheels over to Dorothy's house. Arnold went with his sister, taking with him his toy fire engine.

"Now we'll have some fun!" cried Dick, as he got his White Rocking Horse. "We'll go horseback riding."

"And I'll get my Sawdust Doll!" exclaimed Dorothy.

The children had fun playing with their toys, and when they laid them down for a moment to go to the kitchen to get some crackers and milk, the Lamb found a chance to tell the Sawdust Doll and the White Rocking Horse about her adventures.

"My, I think they are perfectly wonderful!" exclaimed the Doll, when she heard about the trip on the raft.

"But what is that little squeaky noise, Lamb?" asked the White Rocking Horse suddenly. "I've noticed it every time you have moved."

"Oh, my dear!" cried the Sawdust Doll, "are you sure these dreadful adventures have not hurt you?"

"It's really not very much," answered the Lamb on Wheels. "You know an ocean trip such as mine is apt to be rather damp, and I have been left with a little rheumatism in my left hind wheel. But now that I am back with Mirabell it will soon be all right."

"She ought to have her mother put a little oil on it," said the Sawdust Doll. "That would cure it at once."

"And did the odd-job man's horse go faster than I can go?" asked the Rocking chap.

"I hardly remember," the Lamb answered. "But I was almost seasick riding on that wagon."

"Hush! The children are coming back!" neighed the White Rocking Horse, and the toys had to be very still and quiet.

"I know what we can do!" cried Dick, after he had helped Arnold put out a make-believe fire with the toy engine. "We can play soldier!"

"That will be fun!" said Arnold, who liked games of that sort. "I wish I had some toy soldiers," he went on. "I saw some in the same store where your Rocking Horse came from, Dick. I wish I had a set of tin soldiers, with a captain and a flag and everything!"

"Maybe you'll get 'em!" exclaimed Dick.

"Maybe," echoed Arnold,

"Oh, I hope he does," thought the Lamb on Wheels. And if you children want to know whether or not Arnold got his wish you may find out by reading the next book in this series, called: "The Story of a Bold Tin Soldier."

As for the Lamb on Wheels, she lived with Mirabell for many, many years, and had a fine time. She had some adventures, too, but none more strange than the one of riding down the brook on a raft.