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Kidnapped

Kidnapped

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Kidnapped Chapter 13 Summary

The Loss of the Brig

  • It's late at night and Captain Hoseason comes into the round-house.
  • Hoseason asks Alan if he can steer a boat.
  • Alan is suspicious, but Hoseason assures Alan that he is just worried about the safety of his boat.
  • Alan and Davie both leave the roundhouse. The ship is currently off Scotland's west coast island of Mull.
  • The weather's not so bad and the Covenant seems to be doing fine, so Davie's not sure what's got Hoseason worried.
  • Just then, though, there's a wave that hits something in the middle of the sea and sends up a fountain of water. It's a hidden reef, an underwater shelf of high ground that could sink the ship if it ran into it.
  • Alan tells Hoseason that it's probably the Torran Rocks.
  • (We just have to say, the next couple of chapters are hard to follow without a map of Scotland in your head, which we here at Shmoop sadly do not have. To help us out, we referred to these handy guides.)
  • Hoseason asks how long these rocks go on.
  • Alan says for ten miles. He suggests that Hoseason keep closer to the land, which is supposed to be a safer route for ships – though he doesn't sound too sure of himself.
  • Hoseason orders Riach to lower the sails and keep going. Riach takes the watch and occasionally calls out to change course to avoid the rocks he can see.
  • This is all happening at night, but the Covenant is still far enough north that, since it's summer, the sky remains pretty light even in the evening.
  • Davie admits that he admires the courage of Riach and Hoseason in the face of this danger, especially since Alan (so brave in a fight) goes very pale and says that drowning is "a cold ending" (13.27).
  • Finally, it looks like the Covenant is out of danger.
  • Hoseason compliments Alan for getting them through this and says he'll remember Alan's help "when [they] come to clear accounts" (13.29).
  • Just then, though, Riach calls out that he can see a reef on the side of the ship that's facing the wind.
  • The Covenant gets caught in the tide and can't navigate away from the rock.
  • The Covenant strikes the reef so hard that everyone is thrown to the ground.
  • The crew (including Davie) starts preparing the lifeboat (a "skiff," or small rowboat) and tries to help the wounded.
  • Hoseason doesn't help: he loves his ship so much that seeing it destroyed against a rock leaves him paralyzed and unable to function.
  • Davie also remembers that the land they're next to is the land of Alan's enemy clan, the Campbells.
  • A big swell of the sea tips the Covenant over even further, and Davie is thrown overboard.
  • Davie sinks and rises over and over again, until he manages to catch something to hold onto.
  • He has somehow managed to get too far away from the boat to be heard when he calls out. It's the fault of what he calls a "roost or tide race" (13.42), which we might call a rip tide: a violent current of water that can carry you out to sea really quickly.
  • Davie sees the shores of Earraid (an island off the coast of the larger island of Mull, on the western coast of Scotland) and starts to paddle his way over. He clings to a yard, which is a long, thin piece of wood used to support a sail outwards from a mast (source).
  • After about an hour of swimming, Davie finally makes it to dry land.
  • He collapses on the beach.

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