Kidnapped | Study Guide

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Kidnapped | Chapter 27 : I Come to Mr. Rankeillor | Summary



The next day David seeks out Mr. Rankeillor while Alan hides in the woods. Mr. Rankeillor agrees to see David, but neither man immediately trusts the other. Mr. Rankeillor asks David to tell his story so that he may check it against information that he already possesses. David shares a portion of his tale, and Mr. Rankeillor explains what has happened in his absence. Mr. Campbell had arrived, demanding to know David's location. Ebenezer Balfour could give no convincing explanation. Captain Hoseason found his way back to Queen's Ferry, claiming that David had drowned when the Covenant sank. David then shares the rest of his story with Mr. Rankeillor, who insists that David use fake names for Alan Breck and any others who might be involved in illegal acts. Finally, Mr. Rankeillor gives David some soap and fresh clothes, inviting him to stay for dinner.


Although David has heard praise of Mr. Rankeillor's reputation from various people, he cannot wholly trust the man upon first acquaintance, because he knows that his uncle had employed Mr. Rankeillor as his lawyer. David has learned and grown so much through his adventures that he is careful not to reveal too much until he is certain that he can trust him. Far from the boy that he was when he first set foot in Queen's Ferry, David has been a cautious man, experienced with dishonest men. Fortunately for David, his familial loyalty was working on his behalf while he was away. Although Mr. Campbell is not related to David by blood, he is the person who comes looking for David when he does not receive letters from him. At Mr. Campbell's request, Mr. Rankeillor begins an investigation, and dissatisfied by Ebenezer's explanations for the boy's disappearance, gives his support to David's side of the affair. Mr. Campbell and Mr. Rankeillor stand in the role of David's parents, looking out for him however they are able.

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