Kidnapped | Study Guide

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Kidnapped | Chapter 23 : Cluny's Cage | Summary



Cluny Macpherson's men take Alan and David to one of their leader's hiding places, a strange kind of house-shelter known as "Cluny's Cage." Cluny welcomes them and gives them food and drink, then invites them to play a game of cards. Alan quickly agrees, but David declines out of concern that it is not a Christian thing to do. The host feels insulted, but Alan smooths things over. David falls into a deep, fevered sleep that lasts for days. Alan plays cards with Cluny throughout this time, begging a loan from David while he is still feverish. When David finally wakes, he finds that Alan has lost all their money and owes more than he could pay. Cluny returns the money David had loaned to Alan, even though it offends the pride of both men.


David prides himself on being the better, more Christian man when he declines to play cards with Cluny and Alan. He does not care that he offends his host by not playing. He continues to feel superior when he wakes up to learn that Alan has lost all his own money as well as David's. David even feels more justified in his opinion that cards are not a game for gentlemen because the game ends with someone's honor injured.

Cluny shows himself to be an honorable man because he insists on returning David's money that Alan had lost. Despite his wide variety of strengths and his honorable character, Alan shows a weakness for gambling that supersedes even his concern for honor and loyalty. His concern for his own return to France, for David's safety, and everything else is subsumed by his desire to win at gambling.

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