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MonkeyNotes Study Guide for Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson-Book Notes
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PLOT SYNOPSIS AND NOTES FOR KIDNAPPED

CHAPTER 9: The Man with the Belt of Gold

Summary

Ten days after the start of its journey, the "Covenant" strikes another boat while heading south on a foggy night. Only one occupant of the boat survives, and he is brought to the Round- house. He is a small man, but appears to be strong and agile. In spite of the accident and the death of all his other shipmates, the lone survivor seems calm. He takes off his greatcoat and lays a pair of silver-mounted pistols down on the table. Speaking with a Scottish accent, he calls himself a Jacobite and informs the captain that he was on his way to France. He offers the captain sixty guineas to take him to Linnhe Loch, and Hoseason agrees.

When David goes to get liquor for the newcomer, he overhears a conversation between the captain and Mr. Riach, who are plotting to kill the stranger and take his money belt. They ask David to get them a few pistols and some powder from the round-house so that they can use it against the man and promise to share the wealth with him. David's conscience does not allow him to become an accomplice in the murder. As a result, he confides in the stranger, who introduces himself as Alan Breck Stewart. Together they devise a plan to outwit their enemies. David gets the pistols, powder and a cutlass (a curved sword), and prepares to attack the captain and his men. While Stewart faces the door, David keeps watch near the window.


Notes

Alan Breck Stewart is introduced in this chapter. He is an interesting character who is sturdy in mind and body. His instinct for survival allows him to emerge unscathed after his boat is wrecked in a crash with the "Covenant". Alan's tough exterior hides his good heart, but he shows his kindness and friendliness to the captain, Mr. Riach, and David. Though Hoseason talks to him roughly, Alan bears no ill will against the captain. When David exposes the wicked plan of Mr. Riach and the captain, Alan expresses his gratitude to the boy and makes him his partner in fighting against their enemies.

More is learned about David in this chapter. He is a sober and honest youth. He had plenty of opportunity to take liquor and supplies, but is never tempted. He is also very bothered when he overhears the captain's plan to murder Alan. David, who definitely has a conscience, feels he must share the information with Alan. The newcomer feels he must fight his enemy and draws David into the battle. Under Alan's guidance, David shows himself to be determined and courageous .

David and Alan are similar in their plights. They are both prisoners of the captain and appear to be at his mercy; however, Alan is a fugitive, while David is the target of his uncle's wickedness. The two young men are also bound together by their determination and physical strength. They refuse to be kept prisoners for long; therefore, this chapter prepares the reader for the climax, the siege of the round-house by David and Alan.

CHAPTER 10: The Siege of the Round-House

Summary

As Alan and David lay their trap and wait, the captain makes the first appearance. Alan challenges him and the captain retreats from the round-house. Shuan enters next. When David informs Alan that Shuan is Ransom's killer, Alan falls on him with full force, stabbing him to death. David then notices five men approaching, and he shoots in their direction; one man is shot and the others run. Then a group of men rush at the door, with one coming in through the skylight. With his pistol, David killed one of the men and wounded another. Alan then fights valiantly against the other men, forcing them to flee. Alan's skill in fighting, aided by David's help, wins the two of them victory over the round-house. Alan is so excited that he breaks into song. The frightened and exhausted David cries.

During the night, David and Alan take turns standing watch over the quiet ship. As dawn breaks, it begins to rain, intensifying the gloom enveloping the "Covenant." In the light, David notices that there is blood all over the round house.

Notes

This chapter is charged with action. David and Alan fight fifteen different men. The manner in which they skillfully and swiftly overpower all of them is remarkable. In order to bring the plot to life, Stevenson constructs the whole scene with graphic detail. Alan, who is motivated by his killing of Shuan, is "swelled with triumph and fallen into so fine an attitude, that he looked to be invincible." Stevenson pictures him almost as a legendary hero. At the end of their victorious fight, Alan sings a cheerful song of celebration.

The innocent and inexperienced David is contrasted to Alan, the image of self-control and calculation. It is the first time he has fought against and killed other men, and his actions are not planned or controlled. At one point, he fires wildly into a group of advancing sailors, and by luck strikes one of them, forcing the others to retreat. There is no pleasure in his victory for David. It is just another exposure for him of life's cruelty. As Alan sings at the end of the chapter, David weeps.

The next day, the mood of the ship matches the weather. All is deathly quiet on the "Covenant" as the rain falls upon the deck. There is enough light in the round house for David to see the blood that is all over the room. It is a dark, dismal atmosphere.

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