The House of Arden
by E. Nesbit
First publication: The Strand, Jan–Nov 1908
Janet found The House of Arden for me at Christmas in 2014. In the story, Edred Arden, a nine-year-old poor orphan, unexpectedly discovers that he’s actually the next Lord Arden, but still pennyless unless he and his sister can use a trunk of magic clothes to have adventures in past times and discover where the family treasure lies hidden—much like the time-traveling mechanism in Nesbit’s earlier The Story of Amulet. Also like Amulet, this story was initially serialized in The Strand before the book publication. A companion book, Harding’s Luck, appeared the following year.
In the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, John Clute connects the two books to the Fabian Society (named after the British socialists Fabian Society, which also included included H.G. Wells) because “Nesbit’s consistent Fabian socialism is central to the version of British history’ presented in the books.
Hear, Oh badge of Arden’s house,
The spell my little age allows;
Arden speaks it without fear,
Badge of Arden’s house, draw near,
Make me brave and kind and wise,
And show me where the treasure lies.