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MonkeyNotes Study Guide for Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson-Book Notes
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CHAPTER 5: I Go to the Queen's Ferry


Waking up the next morning, David starts contemplating the events of the previous night. Assured of his superior strength, he goes up to release his uncle from his room. Shortly afterwards, a cabin boy appears at the door and delivers a letter to Mr. Balfour. Reading the letter, Ebenezer tells David that they will have to leave for Queensferry to meet the captain of the "Covenant" and, later, to visit their lawyer. David, although suspicious of his uncle, departs with his uncle because he wants to view the sea up close and also to meet the lawyer.

On the way to the boat, David converses with the cabin boy, Ransom. The boy relates his dangerous adventures on the sea and the cruelties he has faced at the hands of his masters. When they arrive at Queensferry, David looks at the "Covenant" with distaste.


The tables are turned on Ebenezer, for he is now in a weak position in respect to David. His attitude is almost groveling as he apologizes to his nephew and acts submissive. When the letter arrives from the captain of the "Covenant", he shows it to David and tells him about his relationship with Hoseason. He convinces David that he would benefit from a trip on the ferry, because he is going to visit their lawyer.

David again shows his caution and maturity in this chapter. He thinks about his uncle's behavior towards him and decides to prepare himself for future acts of malice. When his uncle asks him to accompany him to Queensferry, he considers the consequences of a visit to the port before venturing out. He decides that it would be safe to go since "I was going to some place of shipping, which was doubtless populous, and where my uncle durst attempt no violence, and indeed, even the society of the cabin-boy so far protected me."

David is excited about going down to the sea and travelling on a ship. Because of the tales he has read, he has romantic visions about sea voyages. He admires sailors and majestic sailing vessels. Then along the way to Queensferry, David talks with Ransom, the cabin-boy of the "Covenant", about the perils of the ocean and boat travel. The stories about the dangerous nature of sailing are one more lesson in reality, which frightens David. As a result, he decides against traveling on the ship.

Chapter 6: What befell at the Queensferry

At Queensferry, Ransom leads them to the captain's quarters. Captain Hoseason welcomes them and talks to Ebenezer about the ship. In the meantime, David and Ransom walk by the water and explore the docks. The smell of the salty air and the imposing image of the sea stir David's heart again with romantic images of sailing.

When they go to the inn, David becomes acquainted with the inn keeper who gives him information about the lawyer, Mr. Rankeillor, and his uncle. He hears the rumor that his uncle killed Alexander (his father) and took his property. David is stunned to hear this possibility, but chooses not to mention it when he meets his uncle and Hoseason.

The captain invites David to come aboard the "Covenant". When David mentions a visit to the lawyer, Hoseason assures him that he will drop him off near the house of Rankeillor. With excitement, David accompanies the captain and boards the ship. As they start to sail, David notices his uncle's absence. He then catches sight of Ebenezer sailing in a boat towards the land. He realizes his uncle's wicked plan. Before he can react, David is struck by something like a thunderbolt and falls down.


Once again David falls a victim to his uncle's evil designs. Ebenezer's cunning plan is successfully executed. He conspires with the Hoseason to kidnap David and to take him on the "Covenant" to sail the high seas towards Carolina. Without any conscience, Ebenezer leaves his nephew to the mercy of the ocean and the crude seamen. If the ship arrives in America, David is to be sold as a slave.

David unknowingly falls into the trap laid by his uncle. For all his shrewdness, the boy is not able to see through Ebenezer's ruthlessness. Only after he is kidnapped on the "Covenant" does David see his uncle in his true colors. When he sees him sailing back to the shore in another boat, David says, "My uncle turned round where he was sitting and showed me a face full of cruelty and terror."

With the kidnapping of David, the first part of the novel comes to an end. Another adventure begins for him with his voyage on the sea.

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MonkeyNotes Study Guide for Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson-Summary


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