Audiobook(CD - Abridged, 2 CDs)

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Overview

Classic adventure novel, set in the year 1751, centers around David Balfour, a young Scotsman orphaned by the death of his father. Betrayed by his uncle, the young hero is shanghaied and headed for bondage in the New World, until a swashbuckling highlander comes to his rescue. Stirring, suspenseful; considered by Stevenson his best fiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789626341179
Publisher: Naxos Audiobooks Ltd.
Publication date: 04/01/1997
Series: Classic Literature with Classical Music
Edition description: Abridged, 2 CDs
Pages: 27
Product dimensions: 5.61(w) x 4.93(h) x 0.42(d)
Age Range: 11 - 13 Years

About the Author

Throughout his life, Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was tormented by poor health. Yet despite frequent physical collapses–mainly due to constant respiratory illness–he was an indefatigable writer of novels, poems, essays, letters, travel books, and children’s books. He was born on November 13, 1850, in Edinburgh, of a prosperous family of lighthouse engineers. Though he was expected to enter the family profession, he studied instead for the Scottish bar. By the time he was called to the bar, however, he had already begun writing seriously, and he never actually practiced law. In 1880, against his family’s wishes, he married an American divorcée, Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne, who was ten years his senior; but the family was soon reconciled to the match, and the marriage proved a happy one.

All his life Stevenson traveled–often in a desperate quest for health. He and Fanny, having married in California and spent their honeymoon by an abandoned silver mine, traveled back to Scotland, then to Switzerland, to the South of France, to the American Adirondacks, and finally to the south of France, to the South Seas. As a novelist he was intrigued with the genius of place: Treasure Island (1883) began as a map to amuse a boy. Indeed, all his works reveal a profound sense of landscape and atmosphere: Kidnapped (1886); The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886); The Master of Ballantrae (1889).

In 1889 Stevenson’s deteriorating health exiled him to the tropics, and he settled in Samoa, where he was given patriarchal status by the natives. His health improved, yet he remained homesick for Scotland, and it was to the “cold old huddle of grey hills” of the Lowlands that he returned in his last, unfinished masterpiece, Weir of Hermiston (1896).

Stevenson dies suddenly on December 3, 1894, not of the long-feared tuberculosis, but of a cerebral hemorrhage. The kindly author of Jekyll and Hyde went down to the cellar to fetch a bottle of his favorite burgundy, uncorked it in the kitchen, abruptly cried out to his wife, “What’s the matter with me, what is this strangeness, has my face changed?”–and fell to the floor. The brilliant storyteller and master of transformations had been struck down at forty-four, at the height of his creative powers.

Read an Excerpt

1

I SET OFF UPON MY JOURNEY TO THE HOUSE OF SHAWS

I WILL BEGIN the story of my adventures with a certain morning early in the month of June, the year of grace 1751, when I took the key for the last time out of the door of my father's house. The sun began to shine upon the summit of the hills as I went down the road; and by the time I had come as far as the manse, the blackbirds were whistling in the garden lilacs, and the mist that hung around the valley in the time of the dawn was beginning to arise and die away.

Mr. Campbell, the minister of Essendean, was waiting for me by the garden gate, good man! He asked me if I had breakfasted; and hearing that I lacked for nothing, he took my hand in both of his and clapped it kindly under his arm.

"Well, Davie, lad," said he, "I will go with you as far as the ford, to set you on the way."

And we began to walk forward in silence.

"Are ye sorry to leave Essendean?" said he, after a while.

"Why, sir," said I, "if I knew where I was going, or what was likely to become of me, I would tell you candidly. Essendean is a good place indeed, and I have been very happy there; but then I have never been anywhere else. My father and mother, since they are both dead, I shall be no nearer to in Essendean than in the Kingdom of Hungary; and, to speak truth, if I thought I had a chance to better myself where I was going I would go with a good will."

"Ay?" said Mr. Campbell. "Very well, Davie. Then it behoves me to tell your fortune; or so far as I may. When your mother was gone, and your father (the worthy, Christian man) began to sicken for his end, he gave me in charge a certain letter, which he said was your inheritance. 'so soon,' says he, 'as I am gone, and the house is redd up and the gear disposed of' (all which, Davie, hath been done), 'give my boy this letter into his hand, and start him off to the house of Shaws, not far from Cramond. That is the place I came from,' he said, 'and it's where it befits that my boy should return. He is a steady lad,' your father said, 'and a canny goer; and I doubt not he will come safe, and be well liked where he goes.' "

"The house of Shaws!" I cried. "What had my poor father to do with the house of Shaws?"

"Nay," said Mr. Campbell, "who can tell that for a surety? But the name of that family, Davie boy, is the name you bear—Balfours of Shaws: an ancient, honest, reputable house, peradventure in these latter days decayed. Your father, too, was a man of learning as befitted his position; no man more plausibly conducted school; nor had he the manner or the speech of a common dominie; but (as ye will yourself remember) I took aye a pleasure to have him to the manse to meet the gentry; and those of my own house, Campbell of Kilrennet, Campbell of Dunswire, Campbell of Minch, and others, all well-kenned gentlemen, had pleasure in his society. Lastly, to put all the elements of this affair before you, here is the testamentary letter itself, superscribed by the own hand of our departed brother."

He gave me the letter, which was addressed in these words: "To the hands of Ebenezer Balfour, Esquire, of Shaws, in his house of Shaws, these will be delivered by my son, David Balfour." My heart was beating hard at this great prospect now suddenly opening before a lad of seventeen years of age, the son of a poor country dominie in the Forest of Ettrick.

"Mr. Campbell," I stammered, "and if you were in my shoes, would you go?"

"Of a surety," said the minister, "that would I, and without pause. A pretty lad like you should get to Cramond (which is near in by Edinburgh) in two days of walk. If the worst came to the worst, and your high relations (as I cannot but suppose them to be somewhat of your blood) should put you to the door, ye can but walk the two days back again and risp at the manse door. But I would rather hope that ye shall be well received, as your poor father forecast for you, and for anything that I ken come to be a great man in time. And here, Davie, laddie," he resumed, "it lies near upon my conscience to improve this parting, and set you on the right guard against the dangers of the world."

Here he cast about for a comfortable seat, lighted on a big boulder under a birch by the trackside, sate down upon it with a very long, serious upper lip, and the sun now shining in upon us between two peaks, put his pocket handkerchief over his cocked hat to shelter him. There, then, with uplifted forefinger, he first put me on my guard against a considerable number of heresies, to which I had no temptation, and urged upon me to be instant in my prayers and reading of the Bible. That done, he drew a picture of the great house that I was bound to, and how I should conduct myself with its inhabitants.

"Be soople, Davie, in things immaterial," said he. "Bear ye this in mind, that, though gentle born, ye have had a country rearing. Dinnae shame us, Davie, dinnae shame us! In yon great, muckle house, with all these domestics, upper and under, show yourself as nice, as circumspect, as quick at the conception, and as slow of speech as any. As for the laird—remember he's the laird; I say no more: honour to whom honour. It's a pleasure to obey a laird; or should be, to the young."

"Well, sir," said I, "it may be; and I'll promise you I'll try to make it so."

"Why, very well said," replied Mr. Campbell, heartily. "And now to come to the material, or (to make a quibble) to the immaterial. I have here a little packet which contains four things." He tugged it, as he spoke, and with some great difficulty, from the skirt pocket of his coat. "Of these four things, the first is your legal due: the little pickle money for your father's books and plenishing, which I have bought (as I have explained from the first) in the design of reselling at a profit to the incoming dominie. The other three are gifties that Mrs. Campbell and myself would be blithe of your acceptance. The first, which is round, will likely please ye best at the first off-go; but, O Davie, laddie, it's but a drop of water in the sea; it'll help you but a step, and vanish like the morning. The second, which is flat and square and written upon, will stand by you through life, like a good staff for the road, and a good pillow to your head in sickness. And as for the last, which is cubical, that'll see you, it's my prayerful wish, into a better land."

With that he got upon his feet, took off his hat, and prayed a little while aloud, and in affecting terms, for a young man setting out into the world; then suddenly took me in his arms and embraced me very hard; then held me at arm's length, looking at me with his face all working with sorrow; and then whipped about, and crying good-bye to me, set off backward by the way that we had come at a sort of jogging run. It might have been laughable to another; but I was in no mind to laugh. I watched him as long as he was in sight; and he never stopped hurrying, nor once looked back. Then it came in upon my mind that this was all his sorrow at my departure; and my conscience smote me hard and fast, because I, for my part, was overjoyed to get away out of that quiet countryside, and go to a great, busy house, among rich and respected gentlefolk of my own name and blood.

"Davie, Davie," I thought, "was ever seen such black ingratitude? Can you forget old favours and old friends at the mere whistle of a name? Fie, fie; think shame!"

And I sat down on the boulder the good man had just left, and opened the parcel to see the nature of my gifts. That which he had called cubical, I had never had much doubt of; sure enough it was a little Bible, to carry in a plaidneuk. That which he had called round, I found to be a shilling piece; and the third, which was to help me so wonderfully both in health and sickness all the days of my life, was a little piece of coarse yellow paper, written upon thus in red ink:

To make Lilly of the Valley Water—Take the flowers of lilly of the valley and distil them in sack, and drink a spooneful or two as there is occasion. It restores speech to those that have the dumb palsey. It is good against the Gout; it comforts the heart and strengthens the memory; and the flowers, put into a Glasse, close stopt, and set into ane hill of ants for a month, then take it out, and you will find a liquor which comes from the flowers, which keep in a vial; it is good, ill or well, and whether man or woman.

• • •

And then, in the minister's own hand, was added:

• • •

Likewise for sprains, rub it in; and for the cholic, a great spooneful in the hour.

• • •

To be sure, I laughed over this; but it was rather tremulous laughter; and I was glad to get my bundle on my staffs end and set out over the ford and up the hill upon the farther side; till, just as I came on the green drove-road running wide through the heather, I took my last look of Kirk Essendean, the trees about the manse, and the big rowans in the kirkyard where my father and my mother lay.

All new material in this book copyright © 1988 by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

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Kidnapped (Enriched Classics Series) 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my all time favorites. I first read kidnapped in high school after being recomended by a friend. 30years later and read three times i still find it hard to put down. They dont write them like that anymore.
LisasGeode More than 1 year ago
This paragon of colorful and lovely writing is now often classified as YA, young adult. My unabridged version would be a challenge for less than a strong high school reader. The language is appropriate for the mid-1700s setting primarily in Scotland. That makes the vocabulary sometimes obscure or unfamiliar to twenty-first century readers. That is surely not a complaint. The story, language, and structure are terrific and the footnotes and dictionary in this version really helped with that. The story: David Balfour at age 17 becomes an orphan upon the death of his father. Following instructions his father had given the local preacher, David seeks the uncle he never before knew existed, the one holding the family’s traditional manor. The uncle’s shady dealings with some sailors lead to the sailors’ taking away David without his consent. Upon the ship, David faces personal hardships as well as seeing rather unsavory men doing rather unsavory things. When a curious event leads to Alan Breck’s entrance onto the ship, David’s life changes in ways he couldn’t have foreseen. He and Breck become allies and friends through many harrowing events, including a battle with the ship’s sailors, shipwreck, false accusations, overcoming political differences, and life on the run through dangerous and inhospitable terrain in Scotland. The politics of the day influence their tale and life in Scotland, where many disagree with the British king. David as a character is very well made, Breck nearly so, and their relationship, which becomes central to the story in many ways, is developed beautifully. This reader was a bit surprised that the tale never left the British Isles, but found it to be exotic, exciting, and captivating. Good adventure in great writing.
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Im bored
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was really into reading this book it is very dramatic. I couldnt put it down i was really into how the kid was coming along straight to the end. It is based with the political side of how goverment was in ireland back when the british ruled it. I found it sad but intriging. I find the book to be ok
Bill Hughes More than 1 year ago
the sample is boring all it is it tells about the auther for like 30 pages and then it is only 1 page of the book.