Poor George was drunkenly roped into becoming a trustee for the young Miss Elma Green, not expecting her father to pop off almost immediately. After he hears the sad news about Mr. Green's death, George takes it upon himself to introduce himself to his ward and check on her well-being. Elma is extremely beautiful but naive: her father has raised her to be the perfect Victorian lady, none of this modern woman nonsense, so she is meek and obedient. OR SO IT SEEMS. Elma has a unintentionally hilarious companion who seeks to carry out Mr. Green's wishes, but that doesn't stop Elma from reading the sexy / drinking bits out of a book or going off alone with young men behind her chaperone's back. Elma starts to inconveniently fall in love with George, who is intrigued but also decent enough to realize 1) he is the first young man she's ever really interacted with, and 2) this seriously infringes upon his trustee duties, so he ships her off on holiday with another trustee and his family. Obviously, this other trustee is Not What He Appears, and has nefarious plans in the works. Elma isn't exactly as innocent as she appears either and is determined to become modern in every way -- which means spending loads on new clothes on credit, ignoring everything her poor chaperone tells her, flirting shamelessly with every young male in sight, and running away to London with the son of the evil trustee. Poor George is left to pick up the pieces, but he's dealing with some personal problems of his own. His dear but fiery mother hates Elma with a burning passion, his best friend loves Elma and is furious at George, he suspects the other trustee is up to no good, and he is trying to decide if he actually loves Elma, or just thinks she is beautiful. Meanwhile, his lovely neighbor and best friend's sister, Cathy, loves him from afar.
This is the first DE Stevenson I have read; I read Bel Lamington right after, and I enjoyed this one much more. Another review said this was almost like an old slapstick comedy which I think was particularly apt.