Kidnapped | Study Guide

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Kidnapped | Chapter 21 : The Flight in the Heather: The Heugh of Corrynakiegh | Summary

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Summary

As the following day breaks, Alan and David reach a shallow cave in the mountains where Alan decides they will make camp. He tells David that they must send word to his kinsman James Stewart of the Glens to request money to fund their continuing journey. Alan fashions a cross tied with one of his buttons as well as birch and pine branches to signal their location to another kinsman John Breck, who lives in a village near their hideout. John comes to find them, takes their message to the house of James, and returns with money and a message from James's wife, who tells them that James has been imprisoned for presumed involvement in the murder of the Red Fox. The money she sends is so little to fund a journey to France that David fears Alan will impose upon his own small amount of funds and wonders whether it would be to his advantage to separate from the outlaw.

Analysis

Throughout their journey, David often considers separating from Alan and making his own way to Queen's Ferry. When he learns about the small amount of money that Mrs. Stewart was able to send Alan to help pay for his journey to France, he again considers separating from his traveling companion. Because Alan is already an outlaw and neither one of them had anything to do with the shooting of the Red Fox, David feels confident that he could secure his freedom and move freely throughout the countryside if he left Alan. He only chooses to stay because he feels obligated to stay with the man who has helped him through so much. However, David's assumptions about his safety are problematic. First, David was seen speaking with the Red Fox, delaying the man long enough for someone else to make a clean shot and kill him. He has no proof that this was an accidental meeting, and it is likely that he would have ended up in jail if he tried to make his case to the soldiers. Second, David is completely unprepared to survive in the wilderness of the highlands by himself, as he demonstrated by getting stuck on the islet and by not knowing the danger they faced if they had stayed in the valley instead of baking on the rock as Alan directed. David is still too arrogant to see that he needs Alan to survive.

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