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Kidnapped

Robert Louis Stevenson

Chapters 22–24

Chapters 19–21

Chapters 25–27

Summary

Chapter 22: The Flight in the Heather: The Moors

David and Alan hike for seven hours and come to the end of mountain range. Now they must decide which direction to go in. Appin, to the west, is crawling with soldiers. The land to the south is crawling with Campbells, and going north will not work for David, who wants to get to Edinburgh, and Alan who needs to get to France. So they decide to head east, though David again realizes that if they parted ways, they might both be safer. They must cross the moors, which are wide and flat, and they run a great risk of being seen, but they have no choice.

Half the time they must crawl on their bellies or run on their knees, and soon David becomes very tired. They rest at noon in a bush, and Alan takes first watch. When David takes his watch, he falls asleep, and awakes to discover soldiers coming near them. He wakes Alan, who quickly decides to head for a mountain, Ben Alder, in the northeast. This takes them past the soldiers, forcing them to run on their knees for most of the way. Just as they near the mountain they are ambushed. It turns out to be friends, men of Cluny Macpherson. The men lead them to Cluny's hideaway in the woods.

Chapter 23: Cluny's Cage

Cluny welcomes them to his home in Ben Alder. It is a hut made from trees, leaves and other natural things, and it serves as an excellent hideout. Cluny is a fugitive chief of a clan put down by the English government. He lives well in his small home, but he can hardly ever leave. He has been cooped up so long that has some strange habits.

After they eat, Cluny proposes a game of cards, but David declines to play, and makes a small comment about the immorality of gambling. Cluny takes offense, but Alan says that David is just tired. David sleeps away nearly two days, feeling somewhat ill, while Alan gambles and loses all their money, including David's. David is forced to ask Cluny for their original money back, since Alan's pride won't let him ask for it. Cluny is mortified that they thought he would keep the money, David is angry that Alan gambled it away and he has to swallow his pride and ask for it back, and Alan feels guilty for having gambled it all away.

Chapter 24: The Flight in the Heather: The Quarrel

Alan and David continue their hike through the woods. David is still angry at Alan, who is miserable, knowing he has done David a wrong. But David is very angry, and he cannot bring himself to forgive Alan. Alan apologizes, but David remains bitter. Alan offers, perhaps a bit childishly, to allow them to part, since he is "not very keen to stay where [he's] not wanted." David chides him, asking him whether he thought David would turn his back on a friend. Alan points out that he owes David both his life and his money now, which is clearly a burden to him, and asks that David realize that. David becomes angry with both himself and Alan, and becomes a little cruel.

They hike for many days. David becomes increasingly cold and sick, and remains angry with himself and Alan. Alan asks if he can carry David's pack, and David responds crossly. Alan takes this coldness from David as an excuse to think that they are now even, and even begins to taunt David as a Whig.

Finally, David can take it no longer. He begins to insult Alan harshly. Alan says, "This is a pity, there are things said that cannot be passed over." David draws his sword and challenges Alan to a duel, but Alan cannot do it.

David realizes his misbehavior, so, in his already feverish state, he pretends that he is about to die. Alan, worried, takes him to a nearby house, and admits that he respects David even more since they have quarreled.

Analysis

Cluny Macpherson is yet another of the historical characters in Kidnapped A disenfranchised chieftain, Cluny's greatest claim to fame during this time in his life was that Prince Charles (Bonnie Prince Charlie), a Stuart who held the Jacobites' claim to the English throne, had once stayed there. Cluny was involved with several battles between the Jacobites and the English army. After the Jacobite loss at the battle of Prestonpans, Cluny's house was burned to the ground, and he fled into hiding.

The quarrel between David and Alan is interesting on a number of levels. It is the culmination of the problematic differences between Alan and David: Catholic vs. Protestant, Jacobite vs. Whig, dashing rogue vs. well-mannered young man. Moreover, Alan's selfishness and reckless nature have taken their toll on David.

Stevenson's development of the argument is marvelously realistic. As David nurses a bitter anger toward Alan, a part of him realizes that he is being somewhat unjust by not forgiving the man, and he becomes angry with himself as well. This creates a cycle by which he becomes angrier with himself, then directs that anger toward Alan, making him angrier at himself. The irony of David's bitterness, and his cruel outburst toward Alan, is that he has already chided Alan for nursing vengeful feelings. David has forgotten the Christian teachings he learned from Mr. Campbell and Henderland. There is also so symbolism in this: as David's feelings become darker and angrier, his health suffers more and more, perhaps mirroring the darkness of his soul.

The dialogue in the actual quarrel is excellent. David's bitter comment about Alan's having been "beaten on both sides"—since he fought for the English at the battle of Prestonpans, and with the Jacobites at the battle of Culloden—is a painfully cruel response to Alan's taunting, and yet it is perversely satisfying to see the invincible Alan be pierced by this vicious remark. The problem is that Alan has already has his comeuppance by losing their money, and David carried his bitterness too far. It requires a near-death experience on the part of David to patch up their friendship.

To modern readers, the fight between David and Alan may look a little like a lover's quarrel. There are some critics who might deliberately look at texts with this sort of idea in mind, and they can create legitimate, though sometimes unlikely, interpretations. But it should be understood that such very close friendships between men were common and considered perfectly normal, and still are in many places in the world. American society has come to view such close friendships between men as less manly, but they were once quite common.

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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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