Chapter 27 Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 504

I Come to Mr. Rankeillor

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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 up to David and asks what he wants. When David tells him who he is looking for, the man announces that he is Rankeillor and this is his house. David tells the man his full name and asks for a chance to talk to him; the man ponders the pitiful-looking boy and then invites him into the house. The lawyer tests the boy a bit and David announces that he believes he has some rights to the Shaw estate.

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Rankeillor asks him some basic questions about his family, and David assures him that Mr. Campbell will vouch for him, as might his uncle, Ebenezer Balfour. David explains that his uncle had him kidnapped and placed on the Covenant where he was carried off until a shipwreck freed him; since then, he has endured “a hundred other hardships” before arriving here today. Rankeillor says the Covenant sank on June 27 and asks what has transpired between then and today, August 24th. David explains that he has suffered for being too trusting, so he wants some assurance that Rankeillor is an ally.

Rankeillor explains that on the day of the wreck, Campbell came to Rankeillor demanding to see David. The lawyer fears the worst. Ebenezer Balfour admitted to having seen David but claimed to have given his nephew money to pursue his education in Europe and told no one of his plans because he wished to sever all ties to his past life. Neither Campbell nor Rankeillor believed Balfour, but they had no proof he was lying until Hoseason appeared to report David’s drowning. Campbell was distraught and Balfour had another blemish on his already black character; however, there was nothing more to be done.

David now trusts Rankeillor with his complete story. Rankeillor advises David to refer to Alan Breck Stewart as Mr. Thomson for the rest of his story. David understands and renames all Highland characters as he tells his story. Rankeillor says it would be best if Stewart were not connected to David any more, but he admires David’s loyalty, assuring the boy that all his troubles may soon be ending. It is a wonderful and satisfying moment for David, but he is ashamed of his beggarly appearance. Rankeillor provides the boy with soap, water, and clothes.

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