There was now no doubt about my uncle's enmity; there was no doubt I carried my life in my hand, and he would leave no stone unturned that he might compass my destruction. But I was young and spirited, and like most lads that have been country-bred, I had a great opinion of my shrewdness. I had come to his door no better than a beggar and little more than a child; he had met me with treachery and violence; it would be a fine consummation to take the upper hand, and drive him like a herd of sheep.
This quote, from Chapter 5, highlights both David's growing perceptiveness and his naïveté. He has swiftly recognized his uncle Ebenezer's dislike or even hatred of him, and also his uncle's intentions toward him. But rather than using his common sense and simply leaving the House of Shaws, David decides to try and "take the upper hand" and get back at his uncle, even come to control him. David's pride leads to his downfall; he underestimates his uncle's cleverness and is kidnapped at Queensferry.