The Story of a Lamb on Wheels by Laura Lee Hope
Chapter III. A Home on Shore
The jolly sailor held in his hands the Lamb on Wheels. He looked her over carefully, and rubbed her warm, woolly sides. Though his hand was not as soft as was that of the little girl who had stroked the Lamb the day before, yet the sailor was gentle in his touch.
"Well, I suppose there is no use thinking any longer of having a home like the one the Sawdust Doll got, with her little girl mistress to love her," said the Lamb on Wheels to herself. "I am to be taken away by this sailor--away out to sea. I never could stand sailing, anyhow. Oh, dear! why do I have to go?"
"Does she squeak?" asked the sailor of the clerk, as he held the Lamb in his hands.
"Oh, no. She isn't that kind of Lamb," answered the clerk, with a laugh. "She is just a Lamb on Wheels, and she has real wool on her back and sides and legs. She does not squeak or go baa-a-a-a, and if you want her to move you have to pull her along."
"Well, I was going to get a Lamb that squeaked," went on the sailor, "but I suppose this one will do just as well."
"We have a Calico Clown who bangs his cymbals together when you press on his stomach or chest," said the girl. "See this toy! Maybe you would like this!"
She picked up the Calico Clown in his gaily colored suit, and, pressing on him in the middle, she made him bang his cymbals together.
"That is a jolly toy," said the sailor. "Let me see it."
He took up the Calico Clown, and did as the girl clerk had done.
"Bing! Bang! Bung!" went the cymbals.
"Oh, I hope he buys me," thought the Clown. "I should love to go to sea on a ship."
But the sailor appeared to like the Lamb on Wheels best. He took her up again, and the Lamb, who had begun to hope that she might not have to go to sea, felt sad again.
"I'll take this Lamb on Wheels," said the sailor. "How much is it?" and he pulled out his pocketbook, as he tucked the lamb under his arm.
"Oh, I must wrap it up for you," said the girl. "You are not supposed to take things from the store unless they are wrapped. I'll get a large piece of paper for the Lamb."
And while the clerk was gone the sailor walked about, looking at some bicycles and velocipedes at the far end of the toy department. Thus the Lamb and her friends were left by themselves for a moment or two, with no one to look at them. This was just the chance the Lamb wanted. She could talk now.
"Oh, just think of where I am going to be taken!" she said to the Calico Clown. "Off to sea!"
"Real jolly, I call it!" said the Clown. "I wish he had picked me for the trip."
"And I wish he had taken me," put in the Bold Tin Soldier. "I have always longed for a sea trip."
"Well, I wish either of you had gone in my place," said the Lamb on Wheels, a bit sadly. "Now I shall never see the Sawdust Doll or the White Rocking Horse again."
"You must make the best of it," said the Monkey on a Stick. "I know what sailors are--I have heard of them. They like to have monkeys and parrots for pets--that is, real ones, not toys such as we are. But sailors are kind, I have heard."
But the woolly Lamb only sighed. She felt certain that she would be seasick, and no one can have a good time thinking of that.
"Well, if you go on an ocean trip we may never see you again," said the Monkey on a Stick. "Ocean travel is very dangerous."
"Nonsense! It isn't anything of the sort!" cried the Calico Clown, and he tried to wink at the Monkey from behind a pile of building blocks. "The ocean is as safe as the shore. Why, look at the English and French dolls," he said, waving his cymbals in the direction of the imported toys in the next aisle. "They came over the ocean in a ship, and they did not even have a headache. And look at the Japanese dolls--they came much farther, over another ocean, too, and their hair was not even mussed."
"That's so," said the Lamb, and she felt a little better at hearing this.
"You want to keep still--don't scare her!" whispered the Clown to the Monkey. "It's bad enough as it is--having her taken away by the sailor. Don't make it worse!"
"All right, I won't," said the Monkey. And he began to talk about the happier side of an ocean trip; how beautiful the sunset was, and how there was never any dust at sea.
Then the sailor came back from having looked at the velocipedes, and the girl clerk brought a large sheet of paper. In this the Lamb was wrapped. She had a last look at her friends of the toy shelves and counters, and then she felt herself being lifted up by the sailor.
Out of the store the sailor carried the Lamb on Wheels. She wished she had had time to say good-bye to her friends, but she had not, and she must make the best of it.
"At any rate I am going to have adventures, even though they may be on a ship, and even though I may be seasick," thought the Lamb. "And perhaps I may not be so very ill."
On and on walked the sailor, down this street up another until, after a while, he stopped in front of a house.
"This must be the place," he said to himself. "I wonder if Mirabell is at home. I'll go in and see."
Up the steps he went and rang the bell. There was a hole in the paper wrapped about the Lamb, and through this hole she could look out. She saw that she was on the piazza of a fine, large house. There was another house next door, and at the window stood a little girl with a doll in her arms.
"Gracious goodness!" exclaimed the Lamb on Wheels to herself. "That looks just like the Sawdust Doll who used to live in our store! I wonder if it could be?"
However she had no further chance to look, for the door opened just then, and the sailor went inside the house, carrying the Lamb with him.
"Where's Mirabell?" asked the sailor of the maid who opened the door.
"She is up in the playroom," was the answer. "She has been ill, but she is better now."
"So I heard!" went on the jolly sailor. "I brought her something to look at. That will help her to get well."
Up to the playroom he went, and no sooner had he opened the door than Mirabell, which was the name of the little girl, ran toward him.
"Oh, Uncle Tim!" cried Mirabell, as soon as she saw the jolly sailor, "how glad I am to see you!"
"And I'm glad to see you, Mirabell," he laughed. "Look, I have brought you something!"
"Is it a monkey, Uncle Tim?" she asked.
"No, Mirabell, it isn't a monkey. It is a woolly Lamb on Wheels. I saw it in a toy store and I brought it to you."
"For me--to keep, Uncle Tim?" asked Mirabell, as the sailor took the wrapping paper off.
"Yes, for you to keep," was the sailor's answer. "Did you think I would be buying a Lamb for myself, to take to sea with me? Ho! Ho! I should say not!" he chuckled.
"Oh, how glad I am! And how I shall love this Lamb!" said the little girl.
As for the Lamb on Wheels, she was glad and happy, too, when she heard, as she did, what the sailor said.
"Oh, I'm to have a home on shore!" thought the Lamb. "I am not going to be taken on an ocean voyage at all, and be made seasick. I am to have a home on shore!"
And that is just what the toy Lamb had. The jolly sailor, who was Mirabell's uncle, had bought the toy for the little girl.
"Do you like the Lamb?" asked Uncle Tim.
"Oh, do I? Well, I just guess I do!" cried Mirabell, and she hugged the Lamb in her arms, and rolled her across the floor on her wheels.
"Do you know, Uncle Tim," went on Mirabell, "this is the very same Lamb I saw in the store, and wanted so much?"
"No! Is she?" asked the sailor, in surprise.
"The very same one!" declared Mirabell. "I was in the store once with Dorothy, the little girl who lives next door. She has a Sawdust Doll that came from the same store. And we were there the other day, before I was taken ill, and I saw a woolly lamb--this very same one, I'm sure-- and I wanted it so much! But Mother said I must wait, and I'm glad I did, for now you gave it to me."
"Yes, I'm giving you the Lamb for yourself--to keep forever," said the sailor. "I wouldn't dream of taking her on a sea voyage with me."
So you see the Lamb need not have been uneasy after all. But of course she did not know that when the sailor bought her.
Mirabell stroked the soft wool of her new toy Lamb. She wheeled it across the floor again, and the sailor watched her. Then, all of a sudden, the door of the playroom was opened with such a bang that it struck the Lamb and sent her spinning across the floor, upside down, into a corner.
"Oh, Arnold!" cried Mirabell to her brother, who had come in so roughly. "Look what you did! You've broken my Lamb on Wheels!"