With inquisitive sister in low (and as ploy), Nial Wren moves around the hamlet of Ponkiesbergh (L.I.) the village of Brooklyn, and even gets to the great city itself. His father is considering a move to opportunity-filled Ohio, a step up from his underling status on the property of Hugh Wilkins (a D. H. Lawrence man of horseback). Nial and sister Dorcas (who hate to leave their goats) are reconciled when Hugh discovers Wren's intent and throws the caretaker into debtor's prison on a technicality. New York was a little different in the early 1800's: not only do the people here get involved, they also volunteer, suggest strategies and help carry them out. Nial and just-met friends enact a great escape for Mr. Wren, then meet high Hugh just before crossing the safety line. A series of quickies gets Mr. Wren back into prison (to avoid the stigma of jailbreaking) long enough to get the debt paid; a nice bystander gets their goats and they're off to higher horizons via Dorcas' farewell, surely the most excisable last line of the year: ""It's a very nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there."" The scenery is set up straight but the characterization is a little crooked.