The novel “Rob Roy” gives a broad and complex picture of Scottish and English public relations of the early XVIII century. Action develops quickly, more lively than in other novels of Walter Scott. The protagonist, Francis Osbaldiston, was suddenly recalled from Bordeaux to his father on an important matter. Arriving in London, a twenty-year-old young man learns that his father wants to instruct him to lead the affairs of the trading house “Osbaldiston and Tresham,” whose director he is. Osbaldiston the elder understands that years or a sudden illness will someday overwhelm his stout body, and seeks to prepare in advance a helper in the person of a son who will take his wheel from him when his arm weakens and lead the ship according to the advice and instructions of the old captain.
But Frank has no desire to comprehend the secrets of commerce, this is an artistic nature, he writes poetry, loves literature. His refusal leads his father into indignation,
our hero is in danger of losing his inheritance, but that does not frighten him, and Frank throws Owen, the company’s senior clerk, the phrase: “I will never sell my freedom for gold.” The father punishes Francis to the north of England, visit his uncle and get acquainted with his family, with whom he himself does not maintain any relationship. One of his uncle’s sons will, according to the plan of Osbaldiston Sr., have to take the place of Frank in the trading house.
Francis sets out on his way and in one of the hotels at dinner he meets Mr. Campbell, a Scotch by birth, who becomes the soul of the company and causes everyone’s interest. But the ways-the roads of Campbell and Frank diverge.
So, the young man arrives at the castle of his uncle, Osbaldiston Hall, a stronghold hanging over the woods and rocks of Northumberland – the border region, beyond which begins the romantic Romantic Scotland, unknown to Frank. The family portrait of the inhabitants of the castle is devoid of romance. “A good collection,” says Frank after meeting his six cousins - drunkards,
gluttons and loafers. Only one of them stands out from the general series – Rashley, Jr. Osbaldiston; he, as we later learn, should take the place of Frank. In the castle lives a distant relative of his uncle, Miss Diana Vernon, a beautiful, intelligent and educated girl. Frank fascinated her, he listens to her every word, listens to the accurate psychological characteristics that she gives to the inhabitants of the castle; her speech marvelously combines insight, boldness and frankness.
A measured, boring life in the castle suddenly breaks off. Frank is accused of high treason – this news tells Diana. Morris, one of Frank’s companions on the road, was robbed and suspects him of what he did; due to the fact that Morris drove money from the treasury to pay troops in Scotland and he was abducted at the same time by very important documents, it is no longer a matter of simple robbery, but of treason. Diana offers Frank his help and wants to send him to Scotland. (“No one will intercede for you, you are a stranger, but here, on the outskirts of the kingdom, local courts do sometimes ridiculous things.”) But Frank objects: he is not guilty, therefore it is necessary to go to court and restore justice. In the judge’s house, Mr. Campbell suddenly appears, who expose Morris, incriminating him in lies.
It turns out that Campbell accompanied Morris on his way and witnessed the incident; he drew a picture of the events, and the listeners learned that Morris was terribly scared and did not even try to resist the robbers, although he was in his Majesty’s army, and there were only two robbers. About himself, Campbell noticed that he is of a peace-loving disposition and never interferes in quarrels and fights. Frank, who listened attentively to Campbell’s story, caught the discrepancy between the words and the expression on his face when he spoke of his peacefulness, and suspected that Campbell was not part of the incident as Morris’s companion, injured with him, and not even as a spectator. But it is thanks to Campbell that the slanderer and coward Mor-rice is ready to give up his testimony against Mr. Osbaldiston. The court case is closed, Frank is beyond suspicion.
However, this story is only the beginning of the trials that fell to the lot of our hero. From Rushley Frank learns the secret of Diana: according to the contract concluded between the families, she must either marry one of Frank’s cousins, or go to the monastery. The enamored Frank falls into despair. Diane warns him of a new danger: Frank’s father left for Holland for urgent matters, and Rashley was entrusted with leading the firm in his absence; which, in her opinion, will lead to the ruin of the father, since he wants to use the income and property of Osbaldiston the elder as a means to realize his ambitious and treacherous designs. Miss Vernon, alas, is right: Frank soon receives a letter from his father’s companion who asks him to immediately go to the Scottish city of Glasgow, where Rushley is likely to be hiding with a large amount of stolen money and bills, Frank on arrival, you need to meet with Owen, who has already left for Glasgow. The young man is sad about parting with Diana, but he understands that for his father “bankruptcy will be the greatest, indelible disgrace, a grief to which the only cure is death”; therefore, taking in the conductors of a Scotch gardener, he makes the shortest route to the city.