A neat, quiet, and pleasant Regency debut--in which Jane Ash, a 24-year-old ""spinster,"" aids a newly minted Lord in managing a troublesome family, sprawling in unsuitable directions. Jane, who has recently turned down a gooseberry-eyed suitor, hastens to the home of her just-widowed Aunt Louisa, Lady Meriden, to hear some upsetting news. It seems that, due to Lord Meriden's death, everything will now belong to Lord Meriden's son by his first wife: Julian, a slightly crippled Waterloo veteran who reluctantly takes on title and problems. Jane is suspicious, then, when Julian turns up to meet his estranged relations and puts them on a budget: Louisa howls; her gambling son Vincent throws a tantrum; blind son Felix gets tyrannically violent. But Julian is soon winning them all over--with chess, music, education, and shrewd psychology. (Louisa's terrible twins, however, are to be shipped off to school.) And, throughout all this, Jane soothes tempers, scolds Julian for lapses in tact. . . yet comes to admire and love this witty cousin-in-law. With lots of fussing, a few journeys, and intermittently bright repartee: likable, agreeably paced froth, if a bit out of period in idiom and outlook.