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

CHAPTER 25: In Balquidder

Summary

Alan and David arrive at the house of Duncan Dhu Maclaren, who welcomes them with open arms and does his best to keep them in comfort. David is put to bed and the doctor is called. Under the doctor's supervision and the care provided by Duncan's family, David regains his health in a month's time. While David lives in the lap of security, Alan stays out in hiding during the day. David spends his time in the company of his hosts and looks out the window at the scene outside.

One day Robin Oig, one of the sons of the notorious Rob Roy, comes to meet David. He makes inquiries about David's family and about his father in particular. David is not able to give him the necessary information. As Robin Oig goes out of the house, he meets Alan, an enemy of his clan, and they confront each other. Duncan tries to pacify them by making them play on his bagpipe. Thus, instead of fighting with the swords, they compete through their talent. Both of them play well, but Robin is the superior piper. Alan commends his abilities, and they part peacefully.

Notes

This scene set in Balquidder lightens the serious atmosphere that envelops the novel. In the house of Duncan Dhu, David relaxes his body and mind. The Duncan family leads a life of harmony, and they share their happiness with their visitors. David finds himself at peace in the house and entertains himself by listening to the soothing notes of Duncan's music. After the dreary days of fleeing the enemy, the stay at Balquidder is a refreshing change for David.


Alan's selflessness is further brought to the fore in this chapter. Although his life is in danger, he stays with David throughout the period of his convalescence. Despite the inconvenience caused to him, he leads the life of an outlaw by hiding in a part of the woods during the day and entering the house in the night to inquire about David's health. He behaves like a true friend. The Maclaren family holds Alan in high regard and is happy to play host to him. Through Alan, David is provided care and security.

The appearance of Robin Oig and his encounter with Alan initially creates tension in this chapter; however, Duncan intervenes in the animosity and quickly manages to circumvent the ill feelings. Instead of letting them cross swords, he challenges them to compete on the bagpipe. Alan plays very well, but he is humbled when he listens to Robin make music that is almost rapturous. When Robin plays his favorite tune, Alan extends a hand of friendship to him. Music, therefore, conquers the hatred in the hearts of Alan and Robin.

The scene between Robin and Alan is intended to be a contrasting parallel to the earlier quarrel between Robin and Alan. It also acts as a comic interlude in the novel. The duel of words and musical notes between Alan and Robin becomes humorous and shows Stevenson to be just as skillful in creating a scene of mirth and 2laughter as in creating one filled with adventure.

CHAPTER 26: We Pass the Forth

Summary

On a pleasant day in the latter half of the month of August, David and Alan resume their journey. After walking a considerable distance, they spend the night with another Maclaren family whom Duncan has recommended. The next day they continue towards their destination. When they pass the Forth, Alan informs David that they are nearing the land of David's birth, but they must first cross a river. Since they are in need of a boat, Alan decides to approach the innkeeper's daughter, earn her sympathy, and use her to get across the river.

Notes

Once again it is Alan who comes to David's rescue. In order to reach Queensferry, they need a boat to cross the river. While David loses heart, Alan finds a solution. He asks David to feign illness in front of the innkeeper's daughter. The plan works. The girl takes pity on David and promises to help them. True to her word, she brings a boat to row them across the river. Through sheer common sense and a bit of trickery, Alan finds a way to cross the river and to help David reach Queensferry. David's conscience troubles him when he feigns illness. He feels bad cheating the innocent girl and playing "upon her ignorance." Alan also feels indebted to the girl for risking her life to help them.

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