Study Guide

Kidnapped Chapter 26

By Robert Louis Stevenson

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Chapter 26

End of the Flight: We Pass the Forth

  • Alan and Davie are now so broke that they have to try and resolve Davie's inheritance problems or else they'll starve.
  • So they wind up planning to cross the Forth River directly into the Lowlands, again using the logic that the most obvious path is sometimes the best for throwing their pursuers off the track.
  • They decide to use the bridge under Stirling Castle.
  • It's night and they can't see anyone guarding the bridge, but Alan wants to wait a bit before crossing to make sure.
  • A little old lady goes across, and her footsteps seem to wake a sentry who had apparently been dozing. Now that she has woken the guard, it's not safe for Alan and Davie to use that path to the Lowlands.
  • So they're still stuck on the wrong side of the Forth, and Alan's sure that there are soldiers watching at every crossing.
  • Davie's all for attempting to cross the river soon-ish, while Alan wants to go further east, to the sea mouth of the river, to try and hire a boat to get across.
  • Alan convinces Davie to shut up, keep walking, and let Alan do the thinking.
  • At last, the two come upon the small village of Limekilns, which faces Queensferry across the bay. So close and yet so far!
  • The two settle in for a bit of food at a local pub, where they're served by an attractive young woman.
  • Once they leave, Alan hatches a scheme to get that boat they need. They will get the waitress to feel sorry for Davie, which he thinks won't be too tough since Davie's not looking his best these days. Davie laughs at this.
  • Alan tells Davie to be serious and to follow Alan's lead.
  • Alan instructs Davie to lean pathetically on his arm, and Alan helps Davie back to the pub.
  • The young waitress asks what's wrong with Davie.
  • Alan says that poor Davie's been walking hundreds of miles and sleeping in damp heather – no wonder he's expiring.
  • The waitress says Alan should get a horse for Davie. Alan asks what the waitress would have him do: steal?
  • The waitress then asks why Davie has no friends to help.
  • He does, says Alan, if we could get to them. Then he implies that Davie's friends are all Jacobites, and so not in a position to help.
  • The waitress pities Davie for being caught up in all these troubles while so young.
  • But he's not too young to hang, points out Alan, which the waitress allows would be a shame.
  • The waitress is so overcome with sympathy that she offers to let Alan and Davie stay at the inn for free that night.
  • She wants to help Alan with his request for a boat, but she is still afraid that Alan and Davie might be "malefactors," or, to put it simply, criminals.
  • Davie promises her that, while he is in pretty dire straits right now, he's still a loyal subject of King George II.
  • Davie's loyalty and his destination (since she knows Mr. Rankeillor, the lawyer Davie's trying to see) both convince the waitress to help Alan and Davie cross the bay.
  • The girl is so concerned for their safety that she arrives to meet them at the appointed time rowing a boat herself. She takes them all the way across to the opposite shore.
  • Both Davie and Alan are filled with admiration for her. Davie worries about her now that they have involved her in their highly illegal adventures.

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