Kidnapped | Study Guide

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Kidnapped | Chapter 15 : The Lad with the Silver Button: Through the Isle of Mull | Summary



On the mainland Ross of Mull, David stops at a small house in the evening, where he learns that Alan Breck had left word for "the lad with the silver button." Alan wants David to find him in Alan's home country of Appin by way of Torosay, so after a pleasant evening of Scottish hospitality, David sets out again. Along the way, David meets a poor man who agrees to guide him to Torosay, but the guide tries to acquire more and more of David's money. David outsmarts him, and then steals the man's dagger and shoes and keeps walking. He then meets a blind old catechist—a man responsible for teaching the principles of Christian religion—who carries a pistol and tries to rob him. At Torosay, David befriends an innkeeper and stays the night.


The button that Alan gave David becomes a useful talisman as soon as David reaches men who might help him. Although David previously did not understand its significance, he now sees that it helps others recognize him and that it connects him to Alan, who feels a responsibility for David.

Throughout his journey to Torosay, David shows how much he has grown since his first overland trip. He meets several men whose cunning threatens to steal his money or even take his life, but David is able to outsmart them. He is now more observant and suspicious, taking note of the blind catechist's gun and the poor man's continued attempts to take more of his money than they had agreed to. Overall, David has learned to take a greater care for self-preservation in his interactions with people he meets, not trusting anyone until he can be more certain that he is right to do so.

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