Kidnapped, p.1
Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font       Night Mode Off   Night Mode

       Kidnapped, p.1
Download  in MP3 audio

           Robert Louis Stevenson
Kidnapped


  Produced by An Anonymous Volunteer and David Widger

  KIDNAPPED BEING MEMOIRS OF THE ADVENTURES OF DAVID BALFOUR IN THE YEAR 1751

  HOW HE WAS KIDNAPPED AND CAST AWAY; HIS SUFFERINGS IN A DESERT ISLE; HIS JOURNEY IN THE WILD HIGHLANDS; HIS ACQUAINTANCE WITH ALAN BRECK STEWART AND OTHER NOTORIOUS HIGHLAND JACOBITES; WITH ALL THAT HE SUFFERED AT THE HANDS OF HIS UNCLE, EBENEZER BALFOUR OF SHAWS, FALSELY SO CALLED

  WRITTEN BY HIMSELF AND NOW SET FORTH BY ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON WITH A PREFACE BY MRS. STEVENSON

  PREFACE TO THE BIOGRAPHICAL EDITION

  While my husband and Mr. Henley were engaged in writing plays inBournemouth they made a number of titles, hoping to use them in thefuture. Dramatic composition was not what my husband preferred, butthe torrent of Mr. Henley's enthusiasm swept him off his feet. However,after several plays had been finished, and his health seriously impairedby his endeavours to keep up with Mr. Henley, play writing was abandonedforever, and my husband returned to his legitimate vocation. Havingadded one of the titles, The Hanging Judge, to the list of projectedplays, now thrown aside, and emboldened by my husband's offer to give meany help needed, I concluded to try and write it myself.

  As I wanted a trial scene in the Old Bailey, I chose the period of 1700for my purpose; but being shamefully ignorant of my subject, and myhusband confessing to little more knowledge than I possessed, a Londonbookseller was commissioned to send us everything he could procurebearing on Old Bailey trials. A great package came in response to ourorder, and very soon we were both absorbed, not so much in the trialsas in following the brilliant career of a Mr. Garrow, who appeared ascounsel in many of the cases. We sent for more books, and yet more,still intent on Mr. Garrow, whose subtle cross-examination of witnessesand masterly, if sometimes startling, methods of arriving at the truthseemed more thrilling to us than any novel.

  Occasionally other trials than those of the Old Bailey would be includedin the package of books we received from London; among these my husbandfound and read with avidity:--

  THE TRIAL OF JAMES STEWART in Aucharn in Duror of Appin FOR THE Murder of COLIN CAMPBELL of Glenure, Efq; Factor for His Majefty on the forfeited Estate of Ardfhiel.

  My husband was always interested in this period of his country'shistory, and had already the intention of writing a story that shouldturn on the Appin murder. The tale was to be of a boy, David Balfour,supposed to belong to my husband's own family, who should travel inScotland as though it were a foreign country, meeting with variousadventures and misadventures by the way. From the trial of James Stewartmy husband gleaned much valuable material for his novel, the mostimportant being the character of Alan Breck. Aside from having describedhim as "smallish in stature," my husband seems to have taken AlanBreck's personal appearance, even to his clothing, from the book.

  A letter from James Stewart to Mr. John Macfarlane, introduced asevidence in the trial, says: "There is one Alan Stewart, a distantfriend of the late Ardshiel's, who is in the French service, and cameover in March last, as he said to some, in order to settle at home; toothers, that he was to go soon back; and was, as I hear, the day thatthe murder was committed, seen not far from the place where it happened,and is not now to be seen; by which it is believed he was the actor. Heis a desperate foolish fellow; and if he is guilty, came to the countryfor that very purpose. He is a tall, pock-pitted lad, very black hair,and wore a blue coat and metal buttons, an old red vest, and breeches ofthe same colour." A second witness testified to having seen him wearing"a blue coat with silver buttons, a red waistcoat, black shag breeches,tartan hose, and a feathered hat, with a big coat, dun coloured," acostume referred to by one of the counsel as "French cloathes which wereremarkable."

  There are many incidents given in the trial that point to Alan's fieryspirit and Highland quickness to take offence. One witness "declaredalso That the said Alan Breck threatened that he would challengeBallieveolan and his sons to fight because of his removing thedeclarant last year from Glenduror." On another page: "Duncan Campbell,change-keeper at Annat, aged thirty-five years, married, witness cited,sworn, purged and examined ut supra, depones, That, in the month ofApril last, the deponent met with Alan Breck Stewart, with whom he wasnot acquainted, and John Stewart, in Auchnacoan, in the house of thewalk miller of Auchofragan, and went on with them to the house: AlanBreck Stewart said, that he hated all the name of Campbell; and thedeponent said, he had no reason for doing so: But Alan said, he had verygood reason for it: that thereafter they left that house; and, afterdrinking a dram at another house, came to the deponent's house, wherethey went in, and drunk some drams, and Alan Breck renewed the formerConversation; and the deponent, making the same answer, Alan said, that,if the deponent had any respect for his friends, he would tell them,that if they offered to turn out the possessors of Ardshiel's estate, hewould make black cocks of them, before they entered into possession bywhich the deponent understood shooting them, it being a common phrase inthe country."

  Some time after the publication of Kidnapped we stopped for a shortwhile in the Appin country, where we were surprised and interested todiscover that the feeling concerning the murder of Glenure (the "RedFox," also called "Colin Roy") was almost as keen as though the tragedyhad taken place the day before. For several years my husband receivedletters of expostulation or commendation from members of the Campbelland Stewart clans. I have in my possession a paper, yellow with age,that was sent soon after the novel appeared, containing "The Pedigree ofthe Family of Appine," wherein it is said that "Alan 3rd Baron of Appinewas not killed at Flowdoun, tho there, but lived to a great old age. Hemarried Cameron Daughter to Ewen Cameron of Lochiel." Following thisis a paragraph stating that "John Stewart 1st of Ardsheall of hisdescendants Alan Breck had better be omitted. Duncan Baan Stewart inAchindarroch his father was a Bastard."

  One day, while my husband was busily at work, I sat beside him readingan old cookery book called The Compleat Housewife: or Accomplish'dGentlewoman's Companion. In the midst of receipts for "Rabbits, andChickens mumbled, Pickled Samphire, Skirret Pye, Baked Tansy," andother forgotten delicacies, there were directions for the preparationof several lotions for the preservation of beauty. One of these was socharming that I interrupted my husband to read it aloud. "Just whatI wanted!" he exclaimed; and the receipt for the "Lily of the ValleyWater" was instantly incorporated into Kidnapped.

  F. V. DE G. S.

 
Turn Navi Off
Turn Navi On
Scroll Up
Scroll
Add comment

Add comment