Once again Duffus writes with character -- and wry wit -- of New England. Also, once again, he takes an idea, stays by it, but fails to make a novel out of it. Slight, light comedy, as the patriarch of the Hendricks family in Vermont, a fearless old codger, uses his own methods -- with the help of the doctor -- to bring them into line. There is the son, Lincoln, bent on wildcat schemes; there is the grandson, Bryan, butter, eggs and good cigars; there's great-grandson Pershing, a ""Commie"", and his sister Benita, gay and mocking. But the Ancestor, at 95,is the best of the lot.