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Book 24: Great Britain: Scotland (English) – Kidnapped (Robert Louis STEVENSON)

“We were going down a heathery brae, Alan leading and I following a pace or two behind, like a fiddler and his wife; when upon a sudden the heather gave a rustle, three or four ragged men leaped out, and the next moment we were lying on our backs, each with a dirk at his throat.

                I don’t think I cared; the pain of this rough handling was quite swallowed up by the pains of which I was I was already full; and I was too glad to have stopped walking to mind about a dirk. i lay looking up in the face of the man that held me; and I mind his face was black with the sun and his eyes very light, but I was not afraid of him. I heard Alan and another whispering in the Gaelic; and what they said was all one to me.”

 

Another classic that everyone else has probably read… I fell in love with RLS the man as a 21-year-old when I visited his moving hilltop grave “under the wide and starry sky” in what was then Western Samoa, but somehow missed this rollicking adventure story, so I seized the excuse to read it now. It is soaked in the atmosphere of heavy inter-clan rivalry and injustices suffered from the English. Stevenson is up there with luminaries like Dickens for creating some of the most memorable characters ever. Through the narrator, David (Davie), we follow a boy who is swept out of his comfort zone but revels in the thrilling adventures life throws at him. Some of the Scottish words were unfamiliar to me but it was often possible to guess their meaning and nothing holds up the impetus of the narrative. If, like me, you missed this wonderful book in your childhood, don’t dismiss it as a ‘mere’ children’s book, you will still love it!

 

STEVENSON, Robert Louis (1850 – 1894), Kidnapped, London: Vintage, 2009 (originally 1886), ISBN 978-0-099-51896-9

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