Study Guide

Kidnapped Chapter 24

By Robert Louis Stevenson

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Chapter 24

The Flight in the Heather: The Quarrel

  • After this squabble, Alan and Davie set out east, on the other side of Loch Errocht (better known now as Loch Errochty), accompanied by one of Cluny's servants as a guide.
  • Things are awkward: Davie is angry at Alan for taking his money and losing it, and Alan is ashamed and angry at Davie for taking it so hard.
  • With their friendship strained, Davie thinks more and more about leaving Alan behind – a thought that also makes him feel disloyal and guilty.
  • Finally, Alan can't take it anymore. He tells Davie he's sorry, then asks if Davie has anything to say in return.
  • Davie says no, he has nothing more to say.
  • Alan is clearly hurt and asks if he was really the only one to blame.
  • Yep, replies Davie: it's all Alan's fault.
  • Alan says that Davie once suggested that they part (see Chapter 18), and he wants to know if that's what he wants now.
  • Because this is exactly what Davie had been thinking, he gets super defensive and strikes out at Alan, saying that Alan's the one who brought this all up in the first place, so he should just let it lie.
  • They resume their earlier silence.
  • The next day, their guide tells them how to get to Forth river, on a route that unfortunately brings them through the land of the Glenorchy Campbells. The guide argues that that's actually the safest place for Alan: the last place the soldiers will expect to find him is in Campbell country. So off Davie and Alan go together.
  • They travel for three days pretty much entirely in silence, through hard country and bad weather.
  • At the dawn of the third day, they find themselves on an exposed hill. Alan, worried about Davie's health, offers to carry his pack for him.
  • Davie says he's fine in a really passive-aggressive way. Alan is so offended at his bratty conduct that he stops feeling ashamed about taking Davie's money and starts singing and whistling like he used to.
  • Alan takes to taunting Davie, calling him "Whig" (that's the Royalist party, loyal to the current kings of England, and so probably the worst thing a Jacobite could call anyone) and mocking him for his weakness.
  • Davie is yet again feeling sick, and also guilty for behaving like a child, but he's too stubborn to apologize. So he takes to imagining himself dying and picturing how bad Alan will feel then!
  • Things come to a head when Davie is feeling too awful to continue. Alan's just called him Whig and Davie stops on the road and says it's ungentlemanly to tease someone about his politics.
  • Alan responds by singing a mocking song about the defeat of General John Cope at the Battle of Prestonpans in 1745. (Ooh, snap!)
  • Davie tells Alan he better start speaking well of Davie's king (King George II) and his good friends the Campbells (remember Mr. Campbell back in Essendean?). Them's fighting words!
  • Davie makes it worse by implying that Alan's family, the Stewarts, could stand to bathe more often, and that Alan himself keeps having to run away from both the Campbells and the Whigs.
  • Alan says he can't forgive Davie for saying such terrible things.
  • Davie's like, right! I will now draw my sword on you and we shall duel!
  • Alan doesn't want to fight Davie, even though he's so insulted, because they're so unfairly matched that it would be like murder.
  • All the fight drains out of Davie at this. Alan's been so good to him, and Davie feels bad for taking things so far.
  • Davie knows that Alan won't be able to accept just an apology for insults of this magnitude. So he appeals to Alan's pity: he claims that he's dying. And actually, he's not that far from the truth. He begs Alan to help him to a nearby house so he can die inside.
  • Alan's immediately taken in. He begs Davie to forgive him for not noticing how badly off he was, since Davie is just a "bairn" (baby; 24.62).
  • It's actually really sweet when they make up. Davie asks Alan how Alan can be so good to Davie when he's such a worthless guy? And Alan answers that he'd always liked Davie because he never argues, but now that they have fought, he likes Davie even better.

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