Kidnapped

Kidnapped

Read FREE!

Kidnapped

Kidnapped

Read FREE!

Excerpt

IN 1880, Robert Louis Stevenson returned to the old country from California, and he and his wife went to the Highlands. At Strathpeffer he saw a good deal of John Tulloch, Principal of St. Andrews; the latter suggested two subjects to him from Scottish history, and he began to study the documents dealing with the Highland clans and their records in the eighteenth century.

The next stage in the making of the book brings us to Christmas 1885. The family were then at Skerryvore, Bournemouth, and Stevenson received a parcel of old trials sent him for his amusement. Among them was the report of "the Trial of James Stewart in Aucharn in Duror of Appin for the Murder of Colin Campbell of Glenure." With it was a map of the country of Appin. Stevenson's imagination, we are told, was always "wonderfully fired by a map." The tale, it seems, was an old favourite of his, and he made up his mind forthwith to use it, giving it at first the title of "Balfour." In the end he thought it a far better story and far sounder at heart than "Treasure Island."

In one of his letters, written after the book was finished, he says: "I began 'Kidnapped' partly as a lark, partly as a pot-boiler; and suddenly it moved, David and Alan stepped out from the canvas, and I found I was in another world."

When at Appin, in 1881, he had collected what oral memories he could of the murder of Glenure, and these clashed with some of the facts given in the trial. But he had the romancer's magic in dealing with these affairs of history. In a letter to Mr. Edmund Gosse, he wrote saying the story was his special favourite among his works, "not for craftmanship, but for human niceness, in which I have been wanting hitherto."

The people of Appin read the story eagerly, and he had many letters from the two clans, some in praise, some in sharp expostulation.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.