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MonkeyNotes Study Guide for Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson-Book Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

CHAPTER 14: The Islet

Summary

It is late when David reaches the shore. He aimlessly walks along the deserted beach until daybreak. Then, he climbs to the top of a rugged hill to view his surroundings and to search the sea. He is not able to see the "Covenant" or any other boat; neither does he spy any humans. As he turns and walks towards the south, he realizes that he is standing on a little island which is cut off from the mainland. Tired and hungry, he stops to eat some raw shellfish, which is hard to digest.

As if to match David's mood, rain begins to fall. Drenched to the skin, he feels hopeless, helpless, and sick. After walking for a while, David spots a boat. In spite of his cries for help, the vessel speeds past him; however, the same boat returns the next morning with an additional occupant. This time the boat stops, and the men talk to David in Gaelic, which he does not understand. Only when they point their hand towards the mainland and utter the word 'tide' does David realize that he can walk through the shallow, sandy pool of water and reach the main island.


Notes

Stevenson realistically depicts the sad and fearful plight of a lonely boy on a deserted island. David desperately searches for food and shelter. After eating raw shellfish, he feels nauseous; he is also miserable in his clothes that are drenched from the rain and sticking to him. It is a challenge to walk almost anywhere, because of the slippery stones and steep hills. His desperation reaches its peak when he looks longingly at the houses across the island and feels helpless to get to them. The simple Gaelic boatmen make David realize that he can actually walk to the mainland, for the water is shallow.

CHAPTER 15: The Lad with the Silver Button: through the Isle of Mull

Summary

David reaches the Isle of Mull and travels across it. First he meets an old man sitting in front of a cottage built of stones and topped with a roof of turf. The man and his wife are friendly and hospitable. The old man informs David that Alan has passed by their cottage and left instructions for David to follow him through Torosay. David has a good meal and a night's rest before starting on his journey the next morning. Along the way, he meets a man who agrees to act as his guide in exchange for money. However, when the man goes back on his word and demands more money, David overcomes him. He then meets a blind man with a pistol who guides David for a long way in spite of his handicap; but the man's menacing questions provoke David, and he threatens to shoot him.

Finally, David reaches an inn and questions the owner about Alan Breck. The inn keeper, who bears a grudge against Ardshiel, refuses to provide any information about Alan. In spite of his disappointment over not finding his friend, David feels thankful for having secured lodgings for the night to rest his tired body.

Notes

David enters the Scottish Highlands. For the rest of the novel, Stevenson will portray the Highlanders and their way of life in the years following the Jacobite rebellion. As David encounters people on the Isle of Mull, he meets both good and bad. The kindly old man whom David first encounters welcomes him and offers him food. He also provides information about Alan and directs him towards Torosay. David next meets a greedy man who agrees to act as his guide in return for a certain amount of money, but he goes back on his promise, demanding more money. The blind catechist is helpful but is too inquisitive and deceptive, causing David to go ahead alone. The inn-keeper, who refuses to discuss Alan, is friendly and gives David accommodation for the night. From him, David learns that the blind man is indeed a highway robber, known as Duncan Mackiegh. David feels thankful that he was not robbed by the crook.

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