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The Wouldbegoods by Edith Nesbit

The Wouldbegoods by Edith Nesbit

The Wouldbegoods

The Wouldbegoods by Edith Nesbit


The Wouldbegoods


More adventures of the Bastable children - now featured on TV's THE TREASURE SEEKERS


Edith Nesbit






Puffin Books


Classic Children

Place of publication:


Year Published:




Number of Pages:


Dimensions (mm):

189 x 110 x 15 mm

Shipping Weight (g):

200 g

Price (SEK):

40 SEK


Sent away to the country after a particularly unruly episode, the well-meaning but wayward Bastable children solemnly vow to reform their behavior. But their grand schemes for great and virtuous deeds lead to just as much mayhem as their ordinary games, and sometimes more.

In The Would-Be-Goods, the results are more obviously gratifying. The children devise a series of do-gooding schemes that are pretexts for adventures which usually cause fire, flood, injury or other havoc. On one occasion, they buy a pistol; on another, they are mugged by a vagrant. The Victorians were bolder than us.


And they had different mores. I saw the "N-word" coming - still there to this day: when Puffin say "complete and unabridged", they mean it - and changed the money-lender's name from Rosenbaum to Ross. When one of the children suggests that a baby might have been stolen by "gipsies", I took the chance to explain that this is an ancient and false charge born of prejudice. I was not certain where the Fabian and advanced Nesbit stood at the end of The Treasure Seekers, when almost all the Bastables' benefactors are invited to a Christmas party, except the moneylender and the butcher. But the sense of mystery made the Bastables' world more interesting; and that went for both of us.


The Jungle

The Wouldbegoods

Bill's Tombstone

The Tower of Mystery

The Water-works

The Circus

Being Beavers; or, The Young Explorers (Arctic or Otherwise)

The High-Born Babe

Hunting the Fox

The Sale of Antiquities

The Benevolent Bar

The Canterbury Pilgrims

The Dragon's Teeth; or, Army-Seed

Albert's Uncle's Grandmother; or, The Long-Lost















About the Author:

Edith Nesbit (married name Edith Bland; 15 August 1858 – 4 May 1924) was an English author and poet; she published her books for children under the name of E. Nesbit.

She wrote or collaborated on over 60 books of fiction for children, several of which have been adapted for film and television. She was also a political activist and co-founded the Fabian Society, a socialist organisation later connected to the Labour Party.


Edith Nesbit was born in Kennington, Surrey, the daughter of agricultural chemist and schoolmaster John Collis Nesbit. The death of her father when she was four and the continuing ill health of her sister meant that Nesbit had a transitory childhood, her family moving across Europe in search of healthy climates only to return to England for financial reasons. Nesbit therefore spent her childhood attaining an education from whatever sources were available - local grammars, the occasional boarding school but mainly through reading.


At 17 her family finally settled in London and aged 19, Nesbit met Hubert Bland, a political activist and writer. They became lovers and when Nesbit found she was pregnant they became engaged, marrying in April 1880. After this scandalous (for Victorian society) beginning, the marriage would be an unconventional one. Initially, the couple lived separately - Nesbit with her family and Bland with his mother and her live-in companion Maggie Doran. Nesbit discovered a few months into the marriage that Bland had been conducting an affair with Doran, fathering a child with her and previously promising to marry her. Though they argued ferociously Nesbit did not end the marriage, choosing instead to move in properly with her husband and become friends with Doran. She then began to help support Doran and her own family financially by writing and selling sentimental poetry. Nesbit's writing career therefore truly began as a need to support another woman's child.


As the family grew Nesbit and Bland became increasingly politically active. In 1883 they were amongst the founding members of The Fabian Society, a socialist group that would have an enormous effect on the politics of Britain over the next century. The couple named their third child Fabian after the society. At around the same time Nesbit invited her close friend Alice Hoatson to live with the family as housekeeper and secretary, as Hoatson was pregnant out of wedlock. Nesbit agreed to adopt the child to prevent a scandal. However after the child was born it became clear that the father of the child was none other than Nesbit's own husband - Bland. Nesbit demanded that the mother and baby leave her house; however Bland refused to allow it, stating he would leave her in turn if they could not remain. Nesbit relented and adopted the baby, Rosamund, and later dedicated her book 'The Book of Dragons' to her.


Initially, Edith Nesbit books were novels meant for adults, including The Prophet's Mantle (1885) and The Marden Mystery (1896) about the early days of the socialist movement. Written under the pen name of her third child 'Fabian Bland', these books were not successful. Nesbit generated an income for the family by lecturing around the country on socialism and through her journalism (she was editor of the Fabian Society's journal, Today).


Between 1899 and 1900 Nesbit's life altered dramatically. In 1899 Alice Hoatson had another child, John, with Bland - whom Nesbit dutifully adopted as her own son. That year the family moved to Well Hall House in Eltham, Kent. In 1900 her son Fabian died suddenly from tonsillitis - the loss would have a deep emotional impact and numerous subsequent Edith Nesbit books were dedicated to his memory. These personal upsets were occurring at the same time as Nesbit's increasing success and fame as an author for children. In 1899 she had published The Adventures of the Treasure Seekers to great acclaim.


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Edith Nesbit

Edith Nesbit
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