Chapter 2 Summary

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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 by the old lord, Ebenezer. Nobody tells him anything specific, but everyone warns him against going to the house. Davie is disillusioned by what he hears and imagines everything to be the worst. He has come too far to turn back to Essendean before at least finding out for himself, and he determines to follow through on his intention.

It is nearly sundown when he reaches the Shaw house. It sits in a pleasant valley but is “a great bulk of building standing very bare upon a green.” It appears to be rather ruined, and there is no smoke rising from any of the house’s chimneys. Davie’s heart sinks as a woman on the road in front of the house, Jennet Clouston, spews her bitter anger toward the Shaws. She claims that the house was built with others’ blood, remains unfinished because of others’ blood, and it is blood that will bring it down. She curses Ebenezer and his house for the twelve hundred and nineteenth time and then vanishes.

Davie is shaken by the woman’s hatred and believes her curse on the Shaw house is real. He contemplates the house for a long time and finally detects a tiny thread of smoke emanating from one chimney; this small sign of life gives him hope. No path leads to the house, and the closer Davie gets, the drearier it seems. This is not what he envisioned, but he keeps walking. He knocks twice but no one answers; this lack of acknowledgement angers Davie and he begins to kick and pound on the door, shouting for Mr. Balfour. Suddenly an old man with a blunderbuss sticks his head out of the window above him. Davie hollers up that he has a letter of introduction and will not leave until he has delivered it. The man finally asks the boy’s name and is stunned into silence when Davie announces himself as David Balfour. In a changed voice, the man asks if Davie’s father is dead. The boy is stunned at the question, so the man answers it himself: the boy’s father must be dead or Davie would not be here. The man comes down from the window and lets Davie into the house. 

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Chapter 1 Summary


Chapter 3 Summary