Kidnapped | Study Guide

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Kidnapped | Chapter 9 : The Man with the Belt of Gold | Summary

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Summary

More than a week later, the Covenant strikes a small boat that sinks with all its crew except one. The survivor is surprisingly calm. He wears a French coat and carries two silver pistols and long sword. After a short discussion, the stranger admits to being a Jacobite, a member of the failed rebellion against the British king that sought to restore the house of Stuart to the throne in 1745. The Jacobite was headed for France and asks the captain to take him there in exchange for a hefty sum. The captain refuses but makes a deal to leave him on the coast of Scotland, in an area where people friendly to the Jacobite causes might aid him.

The officers leave David and the stranger together in the roundhouse. When David exits the roundhouse to ask for the liquor-cabinet key, he overhears their plan to ambush the Jacobite and steal his money. The officers ask David to retrieve the weapons, which are kept locked inside of the roundhouse. David agrees, but he is still upset at the murder of Ransome, not to mention his own abduction. So when he enters the roundhouse, instead of getting the weapons, he tells the stranger—whose name he learns is Alan Breck—of the officers's plans. The two strike a deal to fight back together.

Analysis

David's first impression of Alan Breck is that he has "luck and much agility and unusual strength" and that after enduring a shocking and dangerous event, he "looked as cool as I did." He then quickly learns that the man is well armed, well dressed, and honorable. David, who has learned a great deal from his misadventures, sums up Alan as "a man I would rather call my friend than my enemy." Rather than trusting implicitly, as he did with Captain Hoseason, David has learned to quickly assess the merits and trustworthiness of a man. This man, he sees, is one that he should trust.

By contrast, when David goes out onto the deck, he overhears the captain speaking with the men of the Covenant. They seek to overtake the stranger, steal his money, and possibly injure the man. David is motivated to ally himself with Alan for several reasons. First, David sees himself as an honorable man who would like to prevent bad men from doing unjust things to other men. Second, David sees the crew as murderers and evil men after the murder of Ransome by Mr. Shuan. Third, David sees Alan Breck as a powerful ally who will perhaps be able to be successful in the fight against the crew. David is growing, deciding where and when to take a stand to defend his principles and finding allies whose character aligns with his view of right and wrong, even if they are technically outlaws and rebels against his country. David's experience of the world has begun to show him that right and wrong are less clear-cut than he once thought.

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