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Kidnapped

Robert Louis Stevenson

Chapters 25–27

Chapters 22–24

Chapters 28–30

Summary

Chapter 25: In Balquhidder

Alan takes the sick and exhausted David to a house in Balquhidder, which is fortunately a house of the Stewart-friendly McLarens. The owner takes David in and puts him in a bed, and the area doctor is called for. Soon the whole surrounding community is aware that they are harboring Alan Breck Stewart and his accomplice. David lies in bed for just over a week, and within a month he is ready to move again.

While sick, David is visited by one of the sons of the notorious Rob Roy, Robin Oig. He is aloof, and not very mannered with the McLaren household owner. He speaks to David, thinking he is related to another Balfour, a gentleman, who once helped Oig's brother. David says he is not sure, and Oig turns to leave, rather disgusted that he has actually been talking to a lowbred boy. As he leaves he runs into Alan. The two recognize each other and Alan points out that Rob Roy attached the Campbell name to his own. After some tough talking, the two men prepare to duel, but the owner of the house intervenes and suggests that they duel by playing the bagpipes instead.

The two men play, and when Robin plays an air from Alan's country, Alan softens. They then exchanged airs the rest of the night, and become friends.

Chapter 26: End of the Flight: We Pass the Forth

It is late August, and Alan and David finally choose to depart Balquhidder. They plan to head south, cross the Forth River into Stirling, and head into Edinburgh from there. They go to the bridge, but there is a guard. Instead, they sneak down the river to the small town of Limekilns. There, they enter an inn, where David pretends to be deathly sick. Alan pretends they are disinherited gentry, and a young woman takes pity on them. Alan also pretends that David is a Jacobite and likely to be killed if caught, but David counters this claim, claiming that it is all "a dreadful error" and that King George has no better friend in Scotland than himself. The young woman then borrows a neighbor's boat and rows them across herself. David is amazed by the woman's kindness.

Chapter 27: I Come to Mr. Rankeillor

David and Alan arrange to meet again later in the day, after David has spoken to his lawyer, Mr. Rankeillor. After wandering the streets of Newhalls (near Edinburgh) looking for Rankeillor. He finally runs into the man by accident, who takes him in, and David unloads the entire story. At the mention of Alan's name, Rankeillor pretends he did not hear the name, and insists that David must have said "Mr. Thomson." This is so he can swear under oath, in a court of law, that he never heard the name Alan Breck Stewart, should it come to a trial somehow. Many of the Highland names are changed the same way. After the story, Rankeillor takes David upstairs and gives him a change of clothes.

Analysis

Yet another historical persona pops up, this time in the form of Robin Oig, the son of the famous Rob Roy Macgregor, one of the main characters in Sir Walter Scott's novel Rob Roy. In many ways, Stevenson is following in the footsteps of his fellow Scottish writer; Kidnapped involves many of the same clans and Highland-related issues as Rob Roy (which was published in 1818, seventy years before Stevenson's novel). The peace that is established between Robin and Alan is a pleasant break from all the Campbell-Stewart arguments that have filled the novel.

With their arrival in Limekilns and then Newhalls, the "flight through the wilderness" ends, as does the Alan-David focus of the book. Now the focus begins to shift back to David and his inheritance, which is the outer plot of the entire novel. The inner plot is the murder of Campbell and the trip through the wilderness with Alan.

David is now able to resist Alan's advice when he thinks it necessary. In the change-house, he realizes the confusion they have put the young woman in, and so he assures her of his devotion to King George. This is not only a move calculated to win her help; it is also a slight defiance of Alan, who has doubtlessly found it amusing to turn the tables and make his Whig friend a Jacobite. As Alan's "face darkened," we can surmise Alan was not amused at David's canceling of his little ruse.

Now that they have reached Newhalls, the balance of power between Alan and David shifts for the third time. The first time, David rescued Alan from death on the Covenant, then Alan was David's savior and guide in the Highlands, and now David must again rescue Alan by helping him escape to safety in France. This shift takes place during the ruse with the change-house girl. Alan begins it, but David's thoughtfulness is required to achieve it. Once they are across, Alan is entirely in David's hands—he has no money and few friends in the Lowlands.

David's arrival at the house of Mr. Rankeillor provides a relieving end to David's journeys. Rankeillor turns out to be just the levelheaded savior that David was searching for. His wise decision to "mistake" Alan's name insures that Alan can escape safely, and Rankeillor will not have to give any information under oath in court.

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Vengeance or Loyalty? It depends on your point of view!

by English-Lit-Major, August 20, 2013

"To them, vengeance is a code of ethics that is acceptable."

This seems all wrong to me!

Stevenson takes a very sympathetic approach with the Highlanders. He wants us to LIKE them. He would not have considered vengeance an acceptable code of ethics, so he would not have meant for us to view the Highlanders as a vengeful people. There is something missing in this Sparknotes interpretation.

Considering the historical context, we know the Highlanders considered the English Whigs to be USURPERS. Therefore, they did not v... Read more

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