Study Guide

Kidnapped Chapter 2

By Robert Louis Stevenson

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Chapter 2

I Come To My Journey's End

  • It's the morning of the second day of Davie's long walk. He can finally see Edinburgh in the distance.
  • He asks for directions to the town of Cramond from a local shepherd.
  • Davie keeps walking and reaches the parish of Cramond. He starts asking about the house of Shaws.
  • He notices that when he mentions the house of Shaws people start acting a little weird. Could there be something wrong with the Shaws?
  • Davie sees someone coming down the road with a cart and decides to asks the fellow about the house of Shaws.
  • The fellow says that the house is pretty big, but as for the people there – well, there is the lord, Ebenezer, but decent people like Davie should keep clear.
  • The next person Davie speaks to is a barber, and he agrees with the cartman that Ebenezer Balfour of Shaws is "nae kind of a man, nae kind of a man at all" (2.15) ("nae" is Scots for "no").
  • Davie starts to feel unsettled by these comments, which are vague enough to leave lots of room to the imagination. Still, he's got his pride, so he keeps going.
  • Finally, just at sundown, Davie meets a bitter-looking woman. She points to a house at the bottom of the next valley and starts yelling. She tells Davie that, if he sees Ebenezer (the lord), Davie should tell him that this is the 1,219th time that Jennet Clouston has cursed his household.
  • By now Davie is really feeling unnerved. He sits down and stares at the house of the Shaws. The thing is, while the countryside surrounding the house is totally beautiful, the house itself is like a ruins.
  • The sun sets and Davie is starting to feel hungry. He sees a thin line of smoke rising from the house of Shaws and decides that there must be someone living there after all.
  • So he goes to knock on the door. No one answers. He knocks again and listens to the stillness, but it's as though "whoever was in that house kept deadly still, and must have held his breath" (2.27).
  • Davie starts getting a little ticked off: he's come all this way, after all. So he starts kicking and punching the door and calling for Mr. Balfour.
  • He finally gets an answer: a man in a nightcap leans out a window above him, holding a "blunderbuss" (2.28) (a kind of eighteenth century gun that you might recognize from Pirates of the Caribbean).
  • Davie tells the man that he has a letter of introduction for Mr. Ebenezer Balfour of Shaws, which he plans to deliver in person. Davie then announces himself as David Balfour.
  • This visibly surprises the nightcapped man, who asks Davie if his father has died.
  • Davie doesn't reply to this and the man says that Davie's father must have died if Davie is at his door. He offers to let Davie in.

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