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Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
page 3 of 281 (01%)
Estate of Ardfhiel.

My husband was always interested in this period of his country's
history, and had already the intention of writing a story that should
turn 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 in
Scotland as though it were a foreign country, meeting with various
adventures and misadventures by the way. From the trial of James Stewart
my husband gleaned much valuable material for his novel, the most
important being the character of Alan Breck. Aside from having described
him as "smallish in stature," my husband seems to have taken Alan
Breck's personal appearance, even to his clothing, from the book.

A letter from James Stewart to Mr. John Macfarlane, introduced as
evidence in the trial, says: "There is one Alan Stewart, a distant
friend of the late Ardshiel's, who is in the French service, and came
over in March last, as he said to some, in order to settle at home; to
others, that he was to go soon back; and was, as I hear, the day that
the 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. He
is a desperate foolish fellow; and if he is guilty, came to the country
for 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 of
the 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," a
costume referred to by one of the counsel as "French cloathes which were

There are many incidents given in the trial that point to Alan's fiery