Kidnapped | Study Guide

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Course Hero. "Kidnapped Study Guide." December 20, 2019. Accessed July 23, 2021. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Kidnapped/.

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Kidnapped | Chapter 25 : In Balquhidder | Summary

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Summary

With David very ill, Alan quickly seeks shelter in the first house he sees. Fortunately, they find a man who knows Alan by reputation and is willing to take David in while Alan sleeps in the nearby woods. David recovers over the next week, but he is not well enough to continue the journey until a month has passed. During that month, Robin Oig—a son of the famous Jacobite Rob Roy—visits David. He has heard the name David Balfour and has come to pledge loyalty to him if is the relative of another David Balfour who was a surgeon who saved his brother's life in the Jacobite rebellion. He is disappointed that David has no knowledge of a relation to this other David Balfour. Leaving the house, he runs into Alan entering, and the two men begin to threaten one another on the basis of an old feud between their clans; the host convinces the men to compete with pipes instead of swords. Although Alan is bested, he acknowledges the superior skill of the Macgregor chief, and they settle their differences.

Analysis

Alan is so loyal to David that he stays hidden in the woods while David recovers in a house in Balquhidder for more than a month. Whatever disagreements had passed between them do not change Alan's loyalty to David.

The appearance of Robin Oig touches on two aspects of the theme of familial loyalty. First, Robin Oig visits David because he feels obligated to do so by familial loyalty, but David cannot even confirm whether he is owed this loyalty. David does not know if he is related to the surgeon David Balfour who saved Robin's brother. David's lack of knowledge of his relatives robs him of the opportunity to engage protectors throughout his travels, as Alan can. Second, when Alan and Robin Oig meet, they immediately prepare for a swordfight simply because Alan's "kinsman and captain" had bested "a gentleman" of Robin Oig's name some years ago. In the highlands, such grudges could last generations, making familial loyalty as much of a problem as an advantage.

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