(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)
Kidnapped cover image

Kidnapped, like Treasure Island before it, was serialized in Young Folks, the boys’ magazine. It is the most Scottish of Stevenson’s novels in dialect, vocabulary, and worldview. Like Treasure Island, it follows the pattern of a popular genre, in this case the historical romance. Stevenson sets his story in 1751, five years after the defeat of a Scottish rebellion against the English-German King George II. King George has brutally “pacified” the Scottish Highlands, and Stevenson places his protagonist, David Balfour, in conversation with a principal agent of that pacification at the moment when that agent is assassinated (the assassination is a historical fact). Those who witness the assassination suspect Balfour of complicity, and he barely escapes with his life, fleeing for weeks across the Highlands in the company and under the protection of Alan Breck, the man who was historically (and in the novel) accused of the murder.

Under the cover of orthodoxy, however, Stevenson does heretical things with the genre. Morally ambiguous characters abound. Balfour’s kidnapper, a ship’s captain, is an excellent seaman and dotes on his mother. David’s uncle is a thoroughly unlikable character, but he suffers more than any other character in the novel. Alan Breck is a deserter and a turncoat, but he is unshakably loyal to Balfour, even at the risk of his life.

Breck and Balfour, the two principal characters, are an odd couple whose developing friendship constitutes the main business of the novel. Their relationship is made vivid and believable by Stevenson’s deft hand: Balfour is provincial and stodgy, Breck is worldly-wise and extravagant, but readers can believe that they are drawn to each other because Stevenson’s incidents generate the passions in each of them that inevitably make them interdependent. This concern with the niceties of a relationship is another liberty that Stevenson took with this genre.

Once again, then, Stevenson makes of a popular genre something that is more than the sum of its parts. Boys had read Kidnapped with fascination in Young Folks, but adults read it later in book form with even more fascination. Indeed, Henry James, whom some suspect of never having been a boy, believed that Kidnapped was the best thing that Stevenson had done.

Kidnapped Summary

(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

When David Balfour’s father dies, the only inheritance left his son is a letter to Ebenezer Balfour of Shaws, his brother and David’s uncle. Mr. Campbell, the minister of Essendean, delivers the letter to David and tells him that if things do not go well between David and his uncle he is to return to Essendean, where his friends will help him. David sets off in high spirits. The house of Shaw is a great one in the Lowlands of Scotland, and David is eager to take his rightful place in the family from which his father, for some unknown reason, separated himself.

As he approaches the great house, he begins to grow apprehensive. Everyone of whom he asks the way has a curse for the name Shaws and warns him against his uncle. When he arrives at the place, he finds not a great house but a ruin with one wing unfinished and many windows without glass. No friendly smoke comes from the chimneys, and the closed door is studded with heavy nails.

David finds his Uncle Ebenezer even more forbidding than the house, and he begins to suspect that his uncle cheated his father out of his rightful inheritance. When his uncle tries to kill him, he is convinced of Ebenezer’s villainy. His uncle promises to take David to Mr. Rankeillor, the family lawyer, to get the true story of David’s inheritance, and they set out for Queen’s Ferry. Before they reach the lawyer’s office, David is tricked by Ebenezer and Captain Hoseason into boarding the Covenant, and the ship sails away with David a prisoner, bound for slavery in the American colonies.

At first, he lives in filth and starvation in the bottom of the ship. The only person who befriends him is Mr. Riach, the second officer. Later, he finds even some of the roughest seamen to be kind at times. Mr. Riach is kind when he is drunk but mean when sober, whereas Mr. Shuan, the first officer, is gentle except when he is drinking. It is while he is drunk that Mr. Shuan beats Ransome, the cabin boy, to death because the boy displeased him. After Ransome’s murder, David becomes the cabin boy, and for a time his life on the Covenant is a little better.

One night, the Covenant runs down a small boat and cuts her in two. Only one man is saved, Alan Breck Stewart, a Scottish Highlander and...

(The entire section is 937 words.)

Kidnapped Overview

Unlike most Victorians, Stevenson considered the romance a valid literary form. He claimed that the form provided mental relief from the...

(The entire section is 293 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter Summaries

Kidnapped Dedication Summary

Robert Louis Stevenson writes this dedication for Kidnapped in the form of a letter to his childhood friend, Charles Baxter. He explains that after he reads this story, Baxter will undoubtedly have many questions to ask Stevenson. The story is based on a true historical incident, and Stevenson admits he takes great liberties with the original event in this story. For example, Baxter will undoubtedly wonder how the Appin murder of Colin Campbell of Glenure (also known as the Red Fox) happened to take place in 1751 (not the actual date of the murder), how the Torran rocks moved so close to Earraid, or why there is no mention of any David Balfour in the official records of the murder trial.

If Baxter were to question Stevenson regarding Alan Breck Stewart’s innocence, asking how he can support this conclusion, Stevenson could make a compelling case for the man’s innocence. First of all, the Appin lore and tradition still proclaim Stewart’s innocence. The “other man,” the one who fired the shot (the murderer), still has descendants in Scotland today; however, his name will never be known, for Highlanders value their secrets as well as their ability to keep secrets.

While Stevenson could argue and defend other points of evidence, the author confesses that he is not particularly concerned about historical accuracy in this story. This is not a book for scholars to study but for schoolboys to read on winter evenings by the fire as bedtime approaches. Stewart may have been a “grim old fire-eater” in history, but in this story he is the vehicle by which a young man (the reader) is carried off to the Highlands so Stewart’s adventures can mingle with his own dreams.

Stevenson does not ask his old friend to like this tale; but perhaps, when Baxter’s son is older, he will enjoy it and be pleased to see his father’s name on the flyleaf. Whether or not that happens, Stevenson is pleased to remember the friend of his youth. 

Kidnapped Chapter 1 Summary

I Set Off Upon My Journey to the House of Shaws

Davie’s journey begins in Essendean, Scotland, in June, 1751, when he leaves his father’s house for the last time. The kind minister, Mr. Campbell, meets the boy at the front gate and walks companionably with the boy, escorting him as far as the ford to make sure he starts on the right path. The boy has been happy in Essendean, but he has never been anywhere else. Now that both his parents are dead, he will be as close to them in one place as another. Davie just wants to be sure he is going to a place where he will have a chance to better himself.

Campbell explains that after the boy’s mother died and his father got sick, his father gave Campbell a letter which will serve as Davie’s inheritance. His father’s instructions were that his letters should be given to Davie when he leaves Essendean and goes to the house of Shaws, near Cramond. Cramond is where Davie’s father came from, and it is fitting for his son to return there. Though he did not know it until now, Davie’s family name is Balfour of Shaws: “an ancient, honest, reputable house, peradventure in these latter days decayed.” Alexander Balfour was a learned gentleman and served as the town dominie (teacher).

Campbell gives the boy the letter; it is addressed to Ebenezer Balfour, Esq., and Davie is to deliver it to him in person. The seventeen-year-old is excited about this unexpected opportunity after being raised humbly in the country. Campbell says it is a two-day walk to Cramond; in the unlikely event that the boy is not well received, all Davie has to do is come right back to Essendean. Campbell sees it as his duty to prepare the boy for the potential dangers in his new world. He admonishes Davie to be diligent in his prayers and Bible reading and avoid excessive material things. Davie must be quick to learn and slow to speak; he must also be obedient and honor those in authority. Davie agrees.

Campbell gives the boy his small inheritance and three gifts: a shilling, a small Bible, and a recipe for Lilly of the Valley Water which Davy is thankful for and will use for his entire life, in both sickness and health. Campbell prays for the boy and leaves; Davie chides himself for being too eager to be off on this new adventure. After taking a final look at the village of Essendean, the place where his parents are buried, Davie begins his journey. 

Kidnapped Chapter 2 Summary

I Come to My Journey’s End

On his second day of traveling, Davie sees the sea and the city of Edinburgh; it is an extraordinary sight for the boy from the country. Davie asks directions and then walks toward Cramond. He sees a military regiment and is moved by the sights and sounds of it. As he walks, he imagines being welcomed by his wonderful though unknown family.

Once in Cramond, he begins to ask for the house of Shaws; each time he is met with odd looks. At first he thinks the looks are a reaction to his plain clothing, but soon he realizes there must be something unusual about his relatives. Now Davie asks for information. He learns that the Shaw house is grand but is only inhabited...

(The entire section is 508 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 3 Summary

I Make Acquaintance of My Uncle

The door opens with a great rattling of chains and bolts. Davie is then instructed to go straight to the kitchen without touching anything. The boy gropes his way in the dark; other than a few spoons and dishes and a table set with a bowl of porridge, there is nothing in the room but locked chests and cupboards. Once he properly rebolts the door, the man comes to the kitchen. He is between fifty and seventy years old, a mean, stooped creature in a flannel nightgown and nightcap. Davie assumes he is some kind of miserly servant left in charge of this mausoleum, for he never takes his eyes from Davie’s face but refuses to look directly at him. He offers Davie the porridge...

(The entire section is 499 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 4 Summary

I Run a Great Danger in the House of Shaws

Though it began poorly, the day was good—except for the food. All Balfour eats is porridge, cold or hot, and beer. Their conversation is limited, but Davie enjoys reading the books he finds. In one flyleaf, Davie sees that his father gave this book to his brother Ebenezer on Ebenezer’s fifth birthday. Something is strange, for a younger sibling (which is what Ebenezer claims Alexander was) is unlikely to have written such a fine inscription. Davie asks Balfour about it at dinner and the answer confuses the young boy even further.

Then Davie asks if Ebenezer and Alexander were twins. Balfour’s reaction is strange and immediate; Balfour says...

(The entire section is 506 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 5 Summary

I Go to the Queen’s Ferry

Davie is now certain of his uncle’s enmity and knows his life is in imminent danger. But he is young and spirited and does not believe Balfour can harm him. In the morning he unlocks his uncle’s door and is greeted quite civilly before they eat their porridge. Davie jeers at the older man, asking if he has anything more to say to him. Balfour assumed Davie was a weak country rube and Davie assumed his uncle was as good a man as any other. Both of them were wrong.

Davie sees Balfour struggling to fabricate a lie when they are interrupted by someone knocking at the door. Davie opens the door to find a “half-grown boy in sea clothes." The child dances and sings...

(The entire section is 504 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 6 Summary

What Befell at the Queen’s Ferry

Ransome leads Davie and Ebenezer Balfour to the inn and into a small, sparse room where Captain Hoseason waits. The captain is the most studious and self-possessed man that David has ever seen. Immediately Hoseason stands and greets Balfour. The room is extraordinarily hot due to a blazing fire; though he had vowed to keep his uncle always in his sight, Davie is so hot in this room that he eagerly leaves when Hoseason suggests he go play for a while.

As the two men talk, Davie walks straight to the water. The smell of the ocean and the sight of the Covenant “beginning to shake out her sails” make him think of voyages to foreign lands. Davie...

(The entire section is 505 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 7 Summary

I Go to the Brig Covenant of Dysart

Davie wakes and discovers he is bound and lying in the bottom of the ship, though it takes him some time to realize it. He is beset with despair, remorse, and anger—all of which cause him to again lose consciousness. He wakens later to a bout of seasickness, and these are the worst hours of the boy’s young life. He hears a gunshot. Davie later learns that it is Hoseason’s habit to fly the Covenant’s colors and has a gun fired as they pass Dysart, where the captain’s mother lives.

Davie is eventually roused by a small man, about thirty with fair hair and carrying a lantern. When he asks the boy how he is doing, Davie just sobs. The man is...

(The entire section is 514 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 8 Summary

The Roundhouse

Late one night, Captain Hoseason comes down to the forecastle and kindly asks Davie to switch berths with Ransome. Just then two men bring Ransome to Davie’s bunk, and the cabin boy looks nearly dead. Davie runs out on deck and goes to the roundhouse, not realizing that the ship has not travelled as far as he would have guessed.

The roundhouse is large and stands six feet above the deck. Inside are a table, a bench, and two berths, one for the captain and one for the two mates. The cabin has lockers in which the men keep their belongings and a storeroom underneath where the best food, supplies, and ammunition are stored. The firearms are all here in a rack, though the...

(The entire section is 438 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 9 Summary

The Man With the Belt of Gold

More than a week goes by and bad luck follows the Covenant. A thick fogs rolls in and that night the Covenant collides with another ship and all but one man aboard her drowns. The survivor is small and engaging; he has elegant manners and toasts the captain handsomely. The man is Scottish but wears fine French clothes and has his own weapons. Davie thinks to himself that he would rather have this man for a friend than an enemy; the captain thinks he may be able to get at least some of the man’s money.

Alan Breck Stewart is a Jacobite (one who believes that the Stuarts are the rightful heirs to the throne of England) and a Catholic, both sworn...

(The entire section is 438 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 10 Summary

The Siege of the Roadhouse

On deck, everyone is waiting anxiously for David to appear; when he does not return, Captain Hoseason finally appears at the open door of the roundhouse. Stewart draws his sword but Hoseason does not move or flinch. When Stewart tells Hoseason he intends to fight, the captain simply gives David an ugly look and tells the boy he will remember this. The sound of his voice goes through the boy with a jolt, and then Hoseason leaves.

Stewart prepares for battle and David climbs into the berth with an armload of pistols and a heavy heart. Though he can only protect a small part of the cabin, it is enough for this battle. The deck is quiet until David hears some murmuring...

(The entire section is 485 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 11 Summary

The Captain Knuckles Under

At six o’clock, Stewart and David eat breakfast. Though the cabin is in bloody disarray, they are almost giddy over their victory last night. All of the best food and all of the drink are in the roundhouse; and Hoseason and Riach, the heaviest drinkers left on the ship, are condemned to drink water. Stewart assures David the battle will continue, as it is hard to keep men from their liquor. Stewart cuts off one of the distinctive silver buttons on his jacket and gives it to David as a reward for his work last night. Stewart’s vanity and arrogance amuse David, but he does not dare to show it.

Stewart meticulously brushes the stains from his jacket as Riach calls...

(The entire section is 497 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 12 Summary

I Hear of the “Red Fox”

The rain blows off and the sun shines. The Covenant is sailing in the midst of the islands with which Hoseason is not familiar, but the winds are favorable and sailing is pleasant. Stewart shares with David stories about his childhood, and David is eager to learn all he can about the Highlands where they will soon be landing. David also shares his story, and Stewart listens affably until David mentions his good friend Mr. Campbell. Stewart claims he would spend his dying moments trying to shoot any Campbell, which surprises the boy.

Stewart claims that the Campbells have stolen lands which belong to the Stewarts. His father, Duncan Stewart, once...

(The entire section is 410 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 13 Summary

The Loss of the Brig

Late that night a distraught Hoseason asks Stewart to come navigate the ship. Everyone on deck can hear a roaring, which is the sound of the sea breaking on a reef. In a moment they hear the same sound in another place, and Stewart believes these reefs are the Torran Rocks, which he thinks spread out for ten miles. Hoseason gives an order to the steersman; only five men are able (and willing) to work, and they trust Stewart’s assessment of their location.

The night is bright, and soon everyone can see the danger surrounding them. Though neither Hoseason nor Riach displayed any significant bravery during the battle, they stand steadfast now. Stewart had fought bravely...

(The entire section is 405 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 14 Summary

The Islet

The worst part of David’s adventures begins when he steps ashore on the islet of Earraid that night. He paces in the sand until dawn to keep from freezing and then climbs a hill but cannot find any sign of the Covenant. When he looks out over the land, he sees no houses or men. David is afraid to think about what has happened to his shipmates.

The boy begins walking, but it is difficult terrain. He hopes the sun will dry his clothes; instead it begins to rain and David is most miserable. Due to his inexperience, David cannot find a way to cross from the islet to the mainland. In stories, people who have adventures miraculously have chests of supplies or pockets full of...

(The entire section is 445 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 15 Summary

The Lad With the Silver Button: Through the Isle of Mull

David follows the smoke he had observed many times over the past few days. That evening, he finally arrives at a house where an old man sits in front of the house smoking a pipe; he does not know much English, but he tells David his shipmates survived and he fed them the day after the wreck. All but one of them was dressed in sailor garb; the first man arrived alone and was dressed more like a gentleman. That has to be Stewart.

The old man suddenly realizes that David must be the boy with the silver button; Stewart left a message for the boy to follow him to Stewart’s native country by way of Torosay. The old man listens to David’s...

(The entire section is 497 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 16 Summary

The Lad With the Silver Button: Across Morven

David takes the ferry from Torosay to Kinlochaline. The skipper is Neil Roy Macrob; since Macrob is one of the names of Stewart’s clansmen, David is anxious to talk with him privately. It is a crowded ferry and the passage is slow. The one tragedy for David on this trip is seeing what he believes to be an emigrant ship being loaded with exiled Scottish criminals bound for the slave trade in America.

When the ferry arrives in Kinlochaline on the mainland, David talks privately with Macrob and foolishly offers him money in exchange for information rather than just showing Macrob his silver button. When he does, the skipper tells the boy he should...

(The entire section is 447 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 17 Summary

The Death of the “Red Fox”

The next morning, Henderland arranges David’s guide and transportation to Appin. David is thankful to avoid a long day of travel and the cost of several ferries. He and his guide leave at about noon. As they ferry across the Linnhe Loch, David sees glints of steel and a clump of scarlet he eventually identifies as soldiers’ coats. His guide says they are some of King George’s soldiers heading to Appin to besiege the poor country tenants. It is a sad sight to the boy.

Later David asks the guide to set him ashore. As he sits in some bushes just off the road and eats some of the oatbread Henderland gave him, David wonders if he should really be aligning...

(The entire section is 467 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 18 Summary

I Talk With Alan in the Wood of the Lettermore

David is still distraught at having seen a murder and thinks about how coincidental it is that Stewart wanted Colin Campbell dead and was here, “skulking in the trees,” exactly where his murder occurs. It seems to David that his only friend in the Highlands is guilty of premeditated murder. He tells Stewart they must now part ways because Stewart obviously killed Colin Campbell. Stewart assures the boy that he has come to a false conclusion; Stewart would never have killed the Red Fox in his own country, as he is loathe to bring more trouble on his clan, especially armed with nothing but a fishing pole.

Stewart swears that he had nothing to...

(The entire section is 500 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 19 Summary

The House of Fear

Night falls as David and Stewart walk and talk, and David struggles to keep up with the older man. They arrive at James of the Glens’ and Stewart gives the signal before they descend into the house. Stewart introduces David to James Stewart but does not use the boy’s name. James Stewart is distraught that Colin Campbell has been murdered and knows it will bring more trouble on the Stewart clan.

David sees the servants recovering weapons, swords and guns, from their hiding places in all the buildings; the weapons hidden in the thatch of roofs and other unlikely places. Once they are uncovered, the weapons are taken by others and buried. A girl comes out of the house...

(The entire section is 342 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 20 Summary

The Flight in the Heather: The Rocks

Sometimes David and Stewart run and sometimes they walk; during the day they usually have to run. At every hut or house hidden away quietly in the hills, and even as he is running for his life, Stewart stops to deliver the news of Colin Campbell’s murder to his fellow Highlanders. More than half of them had already heard the news; the other half received the news with “more of consternation than surprise.”

One morning the two of them find themselves in a bad place, side by side on a slippery rock with a wild stream roaring and raging up at them. Though Stewart is talking, David cannot hear him; he only sees that the man is angry. Stewart gives David...

(The entire section is 406 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 21 Summary

The Flight in the Heather: The Heugh of Corrynakeigh

Though day breaks early at the beginning of July, it is still dark when David and Stewart arrive at their destination, the Heugh of Corrynakeigh. They can see Mamore below them and the sea loch which divides it from Appin. They spend five happy days here, and Stewart teaches David how to fight with a sword. Stewart makes a blackened cross with several kinds of wood and then borrows the silver button he gave David to make a sign which he will deliver to John Breck Maccoll, a man he trusts. Stewart hopes Maccoll is sharp enough to read the sign correctly and understand that Duncan Stewart’s son is nearby and needs his help; Stewart also hopes Maccoll...

(The entire section is 508 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 22 Summary

The Flight in the Heather: The Moor

Eleven hours of hard travel bring David and Stewart through a mountain range and into a desolate land which they must cross, but they have to stop until the mist dissipates. They cannot go west to Appin or south to Campbells’ lands; going north will not take them either to France or to Queens Ferry, so they must go east. David wishes they could each travel in a different direction but says nothing.

To the east are the barren moors, where a man can be seen from miles away; it will be another difficult passage made mostly at night, but David vows to Stewart that he will keep going until his strength is gone. The mist rises to reveal the desolate moors, but...

(The entire section is 466 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 23 Summary

Cluny’s Cage

At last, Stewart and David are ushered into a hidden place where they see a strange house known in the area as “Cluny’s Cage.” Five or six men can fit comfortably inside; it is oval-shaped and made of trees covered with wattle and moss. This is just one of Cluny Macpherson’s lairs; he moves from one to another whenever soldiers get too close. (Macpherson lives this way for another five or six years before being commanded to go to France by his master where he soon dies. Perhaps he will regret what happens in his Cage on Ben Adler mountain in the next few days.)

Though Macpherson is a plain-looking man, he has the manners and bearing of a king and rises to greet his...

(The entire section is 452 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 24 Summary

The Flight in the Heather: The Quarrel

Macpherson’s men ferry David and Stewart across Loch Errocht under cover of night and escort them to another hiding place. David is able to walk but is still weak from his sickness and the terrain is still treacherous. They travel in silence. David is angry and proud while Stewart is angry and ashamed. David thinks more strongly than ever about leaving, but it would be an awful repayment of friendship, so he keeps walking.

Nevertheless, David is angry that his friend wheedled money from him when he was virtually delirious. Stewart asks David’s forgiveness; but David’s response is frosty. Very quietly, Stewart says he has long owed the boy his...

(The entire section is 500 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 25 Summary

The Balquhidder

Stewart knocks at the door of the first house he sees, a risky thing in the Braes of Balquhidder, which is inhabited by the “chiefless folk,” Highlanders who have been driven into the wild country by the Campbells. This house belongs to Maclarens, who know and respect Duncan Stewart. A doctor treats David and he is bedridden for a week; within a month he is ready to travel.

During that month, Stewart will not leave David, though the friends who know him think he is foolish to stay. By day Stewart hides in the woods, but at night he comes to the Maclaren house to visit the boy. Mrs. Maclaren adores having such an important guest, and many nights the music and revelry last...

(The entire section is 494 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 26 Summary

End of the Flight: We Pass the Forth

It is already late in August when David is able to journey. He and Stewart have virtually no money, so they must get to Mr. Rankeillor, the lawyer, as quickly as possible or they will starve—which they might do anyway if Rankeillor cannot help David with his inheritance. Stewart believes the hunt for the two of them must have abated by now, but the travelers must still be cautious.

After several days, Stewart announces that they have left the Highlands and are in David’s land. They must now cross the Bridge of Stirling. No guards are evident, but David and Stewart still wait and watch. Soon it is dark and an old woman hobbling wearily across the...

(The entire section is 481 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 27 Summary

I Come to Mr. Rankeillor

Stewart spends the next day in hiding while David searches for Mr. Rankeillor. Now that he is nearly at his long-hoped-for destination, David begins to wonder how he will ever prove to a stranger his identity or his right of inheritance—especially in his condition. Now David wonders if he will even get to present his case to the lawyer at all, let alone convince the man of his claim.

Too ashamed to ask for directions, David walks aimlessly until he happens to stop in front of a lovely house, the kind he wishes he had. The door opens and a “shrewd, ruddy, kindly, consequential man” in powdered wig and glasses emerges from the front door. The man walks directly...

(The entire section is 504 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 28 Summary

I Go in Quest for My Inheritance

David does what he can to improve his appearance; when he looks in the mirror, he sees that David Balfour has come back to life but is ashamed that he has to wear borrowed clothes. When he again sits down with Mr. Rankeillor, the lawyer tells David the story of his father and his uncle. It involves a love affair, something which the boy has difficulty reconciling with his old uncle.

Ebenezer Balfour was once a young man with a “fine, gallant air,” and people often admired him when he rode by on horseback. In 1715, the promising young Balfour ran away to join the rebels. His older brother, Alexander (David’s father), pursued Balfour and found him in a...

(The entire section is 498 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 29 Summary

I Come in to My Kingdom

Though everyone else in the neighborhood hears Stewart’s knocking, no one in the Shaw house answers until finally an upstairs window opens. Ebenezer Balfour looks down on his visitor for awhile in silence; then, assuring the man that he has a blunderbuss, Balfour asks who the man is and what he wants. When Stewart mentions David’s name, Balfour thinks they had better talk inside, but Stewart says he would rather talk on the front doorstep and, since he comes from a stubborn family, he will wait.

Balfour takes a long time to get downstairs and undo all the bolts, but he finally emerges and sits on the steps, blunderbuss in hand. Stewart does not reveal his identity...

(The entire section is 468 words.)

Kidnapped Chapter 30 Summary


David feels as if he has come home, but he also still feels responsible for Alan Breck Stewart. In addition, he feels as if he should do something regarding Colin Campbell’s murder and James of the Glens’ imprisonment for complicity. The next morning, David unburdens himself of these matters to Rankeillor. Even as he speaks, David is moved with pride at his future prospects. Rankeillor assures the boy that it is David’s duty to do whatever he can to help his friend Stewart get to France, even though it puts David at risk of prison and even hanging.

Stewart’s kin, James of the Glens, is another matter entirely. David has already thought it through and knows he has to do what...

(The entire section is 449 words.)