by Robert Louis Stevenson
Kidnapped Revenge Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
The woman's face lit up with a malignant anger. "That is the house of Shaws!" she cried. "Blood built it; blood stopped the building of it; blood shall bring it down. See here!" she cried again–"I spit upon the ground, and crack my thumb at it! Black be its fall! If ye see the laird, tell him what ye hear; tell him this makes the twelve hunner and nineteen time that Jennet Clouston has called down the curse on him and his house, byre and stable, man, guest, and master, wife, miss, or bairn–black, black be their fall!" (2.18)
This hissy fit thrown by Jennet Clouston is among the first tangible evidence we get that Ebenezer Balfour is probably not a good guy. This is also one of the only instances in the novel when a character swears revenge that doesn't work. Why doesn't Jennet get her vengeance on Ebenezer? Or does she? After all, she's cursing Ebenezer that "blood shall bring it down" – and it is Ebenezer's blood, in the form of his nephew, who takes over the estate from Ebenezer by the end of the novel. Maybe that furious woman was onto something.
"Man Alan," said I, "ye are neither very wise nor very Christian to blow off so many words of anger. They will do the man ye call the Fox no harm, and yourself no good. Tell me your tale plainly out. What did he next?"
"And that's a good observe, David," said Alan. "Troth and indeed, they will do him no harm; the more's the pity! And barring that about Christianity (of which my opinion is quite otherwise, or I would be nae Christian), I am much of your mind."
"Opinion here or opinion there," said I, "it's a kent thing that Christianity forbids revenge."
"Ay" said he, "it's well seen it was a Campbell taught ye! It would be a convenient world for them and their sort, if there was no such a thing as a lad and a gun behind a heather bush!" (12.43-46)
Alan's morality is clearly pretty flexible here, if he can rewrite Christianity as a get-out-of-jail-free card in regards to revenge. Davie's warning that Alan should not "blow off so many words of anger" proves prophetic, since Alan later regrets being so obvious in his hatred of Colin Roy once the man is dead.
"No they," said [Mr. Henderland]. "And that's the worst part of it. For if Colin Roy can get his business done in Appin, he has it all to begin again in the next country, which they call Mamore, and which is one of the countries of the Camerons. He's King's Factor upon both, and from both he has to drive out the tenants; and indeed, Mr. Balfour (to be open with ye), it's my belief that if he escapes the one lot, he'll get his death by the other." (16.38)
There's an inevitability to revenge in Highland circles, it appears. "It's [Henderland's] belief that if [Colin Roy] escapes the [Stewarts], he'll get his death by the [Camerons]." While revenge may be neither the law of the land nor sanctioned by Christianity, it's still the custom in the Highlands.