Study Guide

Kidnapped Chapter 27

By Robert Louis Stevenson

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Chapter 27

I Come to Mr. Rankeillor

  • Alan lies low for the day as Davie goes to visit his lawyer, Mr. Rankeillor, the man whom his uncle Ebenezer didn't want him to meet.
  • Davie's really nervous about speaking to Mr. Rankeillor because he has no evidence for his story, no money, and he's on the run from the law. He walks up and down the main street in Queensferry worrying.
  • Finally, he winds up outside a very nice house with a guard dog at the front door.
  • The door of the house swings open, and a kind, smart-looking guy comes out. He notices Davie immediately and (presumably because Davie is looking so poor) asks what he needs.
  • Davie tells him that he's looking for Mr. Rankeillor.
  • It is Mr. Rankeillor! Davie introduces himself as David Balfour and asks if they can speak in private.
  • Rankeillor invites him in and starts peppering him with questions. He already seems to know about Hoseason and the wreck of the Covenant, but he wants more info on what Davie's been doing for the past two months.
  • Davie (for obvious reasons) doesn't want to tell Rankeillor without assurance that Rankeillor won't turn him in.
  • Rankeillor tells Davie that, on the day the Covenant sunk, Mr. Campbell of Essendean came into his office asking after Davie. Ebenezer Balfour told his lawyer and Mr. Campbell that he had given Davie lots of money and that he had departed for Leyden (in Holland). No one believed Ebenezer's story, but they have no further information, especially once Captain Hoseason appeared to tell them that Davie had drowned in the Covenant shipwreck.
  • Reassured that Rankeillor seems to believe at least that Davie is who he says he is, Davie goes on with the story of his Highland adventures.
  • But once Davie mentions Alan Breck Stewart, Rankeillor tells him not to mention the names of "Highlanders, many of whom are obnoxious to the law" (27.43). So, for the sake of the rest of the conversation, Davie calls Alan "Mr. Thomson."
  • Rankeillor seems to accept Davie's story and compliments both him and "Mr. Thomson" for sticking together and avoiding the hangman's noose.
  • Rankeillor provides Davie with a change of clothes, water, soap, and a comb, which he puts to good use.

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