Study Guide

Kidnapped Chapter 28

By Robert Louis Stevenson

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Chapter 28

I Go in Quest of My Inheritance

  • Davie is pleased to look a little more like himself and less like a beggar.
  • Mr. Rankeillor brings him into his office once again and offers to tell him the whole story of his father and uncle.
  • When he was a younger man, Ebenezer Balfour was a fine-looking gentleman with a good spirit. He ran away to join the Jacobite rebels in 1715, and his brother, Davie's father, went after him to get him back.
  • Well, Davie's father did succeed in getting Ebenezer back, but only after both had fallen in love with the same lady. They both carried on and fought over who should have her.
  • Ebenezer was spoiled and certain of getting his way, while Davie's father was weak and finally gave up in favor of Ebenezer. But the lady chose Davie's father, and Ebenezer couldn't stand it.
  • Finally, the two brothers struck a deal: Ebenezer would get the Shaws estate if Davie got the girl.
  • This deal was a disaster: Davie's family was poor, while Ebenezer's reputation suffered hugely under the sudden, mysterious disappearance of his brother.
  • Rankeillor tells Davie that the Shaws estate belongs to him, no matter what his father agreed to. But to avoid a big, messy lawsuit (which might also bring in "Mr. Thomson"), Rankeillor suggests that Davie allow Ebenezer to remain at Shaws and settle for a fair amount of cash.
  • That sounds good to Davie, and he starts to hatch a scheme to persuade Ebenezer to see things his way. The whole plan hinges on Davie's kidnapping, which makes Ebenezer look pretty bad.
  • The plot also demands that Rankeillor meet "Mr. Thomson," which he is initially too worried about his position to do. But finally, after thinking about it all day, Rankeillor agrees.
  • Rankeillor calls in his clerk, Torrance, and tells him that he will be needed as a witness.
  • He then tells Davie a weird story about forgetting his glasses awhile back; without them, he could not recognize his own clerk.
  • Then the three men (the clerk, Rankeillor, and Davie) set out to the place where Davie is supposed to meet Alan.
  • On their way, Rankeillor suddenly exclaims that he's forgotten his glasses. Suddenly, Davie understands: by making such a fuss about his own nearsightedness, Rankeillor can meet Alan without becoming a credible witness of his face.
  • Davie meets up with Alan and explains his plan (which we still don't know), and Alan agrees.
  • They start walking together toward the house of Shaws, Davie accompanying Torrance, the clerk, while Alan and Rankeillor talk closely together a bit further up the road.
  • Once they arrive at the house, Rankeillor, Torrance, and Davie hide while Alan knocks on the door.

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