Fanny Butler stands out from the other cottagers' children ""like a fine eater in a barrel of cooking apples,"" and the labyrinthine maneuvers that lead to her reinstatement as heir to the old Marquis are set down with 19th century thoroughness. The revelations piled on chapter by chapter include: the identity of the man in the ""snuff colored coat"" who tries to kill the Marquis' grandson; the depths of Parson Mandeville's treachery; the relationship between Ned Mandeville and Sally Dade, the local ""witch""; the true identity of George Ware, the down and out sailor who will challenge Ned in the prize ring at the annual fair. . . and more. What distinguishes this from its models--say, Fielding--is that considerations of human nature are ruthlessly crowded out in the press of coincidence, but kids who can get in the swing of the mawkish 18th century dialect will enjoy the calculated ingenuity. Full-bodied fun.