Kidnapped | Study Guide

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Kidnapped | Chapter 26 : End of the Flight: We Pass the Forth | Summary

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Summary

When David is healthy again, he and Alan continue toward Queen's Ferry, where David hopes to meet with Mr. Rankeillor and regain his inheritance. To reach Queen's Ferry, they must first pass over the Rver Forth. The Forth is too deep to cross without a bridge, and it soon becomes a large open firth, or estuary, where the river meets the sea tide near Queen's Ferry. Still afraid of detection, they find they cannot cross the Forth over the Bridge of Stirling, where sentries are posted. They head east, toward the Firth of Forth, where Alan hopes they can secure secret passage on a boat. Stopping at a small public house for food, they meet a friendly young woman. With a bit of playacting, they convince her that David is being hunted as a Jacobite and that he must reach Mr. Rankeillor, whose good reputation she knows. After she agrees to help them, they hide near the beach for the remainder of the day. At night, the young woman appears with a boat she has stolen, rows them across the firth, and leaves them on the shore as she returns.

Analysis

The Forth represents the final obstacle in David's journey, and one of the most dangerous. He can cross the Forth in only a few ways, and each way has its own risks. They find that their previous methods to avoid detection will not work, as the sentries have been posted in all the locations they would need to pass. Alan and David must instead rely on the charity of the lass—the young woman—they meet in the pub where they find some food. Out of money, they have nothing to offer her in return. Here, in the final leg of their journey, David and Alan meet a wholesome kind of stranger who is willing to help out of the goodness of her heart. She rows them across in the secret of night and then returns, without David and Alan being able to fully express their gratitude. They wonder at her, and she restores their faith in the kindness and fairness of the world. She does so at a critical moment, just before David needs to have a little faith and a little daring to present his case to Mr. Rankeillor and put all his trust in the unknown lawyer. The honest lass's confidence in the reputation of Mr. Rankeillor provides David with one more testimony to the lawyer's honor and gives him a little confidence that the man can be trusted.

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