The Hack Driver Class 10 Summary, Explanation with Video, Question Answers from Footprint Without Feet Book
Class 10 English (Footprints without feet book)
Chapter 8 – The hack driver
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About the Poet
Harry Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) was an American novelist, short-story writer and playwright. He is the first American writer to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. Some of his famous novels are ‘Hike and the Aeroplane’, ‘The Job: An American Novel,Free Air etc.
The Hack Driver Summary
The Hack Driver Summary – The narrator of the story explains that after completing his graduation he started working with a famous law firm in the city. He was working as an assistant clerk there. He was not very happy with his job of serving summons because sometimes he had to face harsh situations while serving them. One day, he got the task of serving summons to Oliver Lutkins who was a key witness in some case. He lived in a small town named New Mullion.
The narrator was very excited to visit a small and beautiful town but his excitement ended by the dull appearance of the town. He saw a hack driver standing at the platform who was very cheerful and nice. He went up to him and enquired about Oliver Lutkins as he was new to the town and wanted to find him. The driver told him that Oliver was a nasty man who owed debt to many people. He also cunningly extracted information from the lawyer that he needed Lutkins for some court case.
A deal was cracked between both- he decided to hire Bill’s hack and go on a search for Lutkins. Bill somehow traps the lawyer in his story and they visit different places in search of Lutkins. He always asks the lawyer stay behind. They go to Fritz’s to catch Lutkins while playing poker. But he tells them that he has gone to Gustaff for a shave. At Gustaff’s they weren’t able to meet him and were told that someone saw him at the pool room. Here also somebody said that he left the poolroom after buying cigarettes.
Bill described Lutkins as a cunning man and guessed that he must have gone to gray’s for a shave. In the afternoon, Bill offered him to buy lunch from his wife as it would be less costly than at the restaurant. They had lunch at wade’s hill which was a very beautiful place. By that time the clerk was totally impressed by Bill’s nice and cheery nature. He had even started comparing village people to city people. Later on, they went to search for Lutkins at his mother’s house on the basis of information derived from one of his friends.
There the lady was horrible and they hurriedly left the place as she was about to attack them with a hot iron rod. At last, the lawyer had to leave without serving summons to Lutkins. Next day he was scolded badly by his chief and was again sent to New Mullion with a companion who knew Lutkins. Upon reaching the station, the clerk happily pointed out that Bill was such a helpful person to him search Lutkins.
At this time, the truth was revealed by his companion that the hack driver was none other than Lutkins himself. The clerk felt so bad and ashamed of how he had been fooled by a villager.
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The Hack Driver Class 10 Video Explanation
The Hack Driver Explanation
The Hack Driver Explanation – AFTER graduating with honours, I became a junior assistant clerk in a magnificent law firm. I was sent, not to prepare legal briefs, but to serve summons, like a cheap private detective. I had to go to the dirty and shadowy corners of the city to seek out my victims. Some of the larger and more self-confident ones even beat me up. I hated this unpleasant work, and the side of city life it revealed to me.
I even considered fleeing to my hometown, where I could have been a real lawyer right away, without going through this unpleasant training period.
Magnificent: glorious, majestic
Legal briefs: A written legal document
Summons: court order
Shadowy: dark, dim
The narrator gives his introduction that after completing his graduation with honours, he got selected for a job of junior assistant clerk in a very famous law firm. But instead of preparing legal papers like a lawyer, he had to deliver the court orders to various people whom he had referred to as his victims. He said so because in many of the cases he had to face very awkward situations where he was beaten up by them.
They did so in order to avoid court orders as they had to then comply with them. So, the narrator says that he hated his job. He hated it to the extent that he sometimes thought of running away to his hometown where he could work as a real lawyer and not as a mere clerk.
So I rejoiced one day when they sent me out forty miles in the country, to a town called New Mullion, to serve summons on a man called Oliver Lutkins. We needed this man as a witness in a law case, and he had ignored all our letters.
Rejoiced: happiness, joy
Witness: viewer, observer
One day, the narrator was very happy to know that he had to visit a place which was forty miles away from the place where he lived. He says that the town which he had to visit was New Mullion. He had to visit this place in order to serve summons (court orders) to a man named Oliver Lutkins. Oliver Lutkins was a witness or observer in some case and the firm needed him for that case but he had constantly been neglecting the letters sent by the law firm.
When I got to New Mullion, my eager expectations of a sweet and simple country village were severely disappointed. Its streets were rivers of mud, with rows of wooden shops, either painted a sour brown, or bare of any paint at all. The only agreeable sight about the place was the delivery man at the station. He was about forty, red-faced, cheerful, and thick about the middle. His working clothes were dirty and well-worn, and he had a friendly manner. You felt at once that he liked people.
Expectation: belief, supposition
Agreeable: pleasing, nice
When the narrator reached New Mullion, his excitement about visiting a village was washed off. It happened so because the village was not as per his expectations. The streets were in a bad condition as they were full of mud. The shops were also very dull. Everything he saw was full of dullness making him sad. But then he saw a delivery man who was about forty years old and was very cheerful.
It seemed to the narrator that he was very friendly with other people. This made him like the delivery man and he refered him as the only person in the village who made him feel nice.
“I want,” I told him, “to find a man named Oliver Lutkins.”
“Lutkins? I saw him around here about an hour ago. Hard fellow to catch though — always up to something or other. He’s probably trying to start up a poker game in the back of Fritz’s shop. I’ll tell you, boy — is there any hurry about locating Lutkins?”
Poker game: a type of card game.
The narrator went up to this cheerful delivery man and told him that he was searching for a man named Oliver Lutkins. The delivery man quickly repeated the name of the person being searched by the clerk. He then told him that he saw Lutkins an hour ago. He also told him that it was not easy to find him as he was always upto something. Then he told him that Lutkins could be found at Fritz’s shop where he played a card game known as poker. He also inquired him about the urgency of finding Lutkins.
“Yes. I want to catch the afternoon train back to the city.” I was very important and secret about it.
“I’ll tell you what. I’ve got a hack. I’ll get it out and we can drive around together and find Lutkins. I know most of the places he hangs out.”
Hack: A horse drawn vehicle, horse cart
Hangs out: To spend time doing nothing in particular
The clerk narrator replied that it was very urgent to find Lutkins as he had to go back to the city by the afternoon train. To this the delivery man said that he had a horse cart and he would help him in finding Lutkins.
He knew all those places where Lutkins spent his free time.
He was so open and friendly that I glowed with the warmth of his affection. I knew, of course, that he wanted the business, but his kindness was real. I was glad the fare money would go to this good fellow. I managed to bargain down to two dollars an hour, and then he brought from his house nearby a sort of large black box on wheels. He remarked, “Well, young man, here’s the carriage,” and his wide smile made me into an old friend. These villagers are so ready to help a stranger. He had already made it his own task to find Oliver Lutkins for me.
Glowed: Here, it means impressed
Affection: love and care for someone
Bargain: to negotiate the price of something
Black box on wheels: refers to the horse cart
The clerk was impressed by the friendly and caring behavior of the delivery man. He says that though he knew that he was trying to earn some money from him but he accepted his offer because he was a very nice man. It was because of his nice and friendly behaviour that he accepted the offer but he cracked the deal at two dollars per hour.
Later on, the delivery man brought his horse cart and offered him to sit. The clerk thought of the kindness and the helpful nature of the villagers who helped a stranger and took his problem as his own.
He said, “I don’t want to interfere, young fellow, but my guess is that you want to collect some money from Lutkins. He never pays anybody a cent. He still owes me fifty cents on a poker game I was fool enough to play with him. He’s not really bad, but it’s hard to make him part with his money. If you try to collect from him, in those fancy clothes, he’ll be suspicious and get away from you. If you want I’ll go into Fritz’s and ask for him, and you can keep out of sight behind me.”
Owes: be in a debt/ an obligation to pay money
The delivery man started a conversation with the clerk and enquired if he had to take back his money from Lutkins. He also told him that Lutkins never paid back his debts. He too had to take back fifty cents from him which he had won in the poker game. The delivery man regretted being a fool who played with Lutkins though he was aware of his nature of nonpayment of money.
Later on he suggested that he not to come in front of Lutkins because his fancy clothes could make Lutkins doubt him and could give him a chance to run away. So he told him to stay behind him at Fritz’s shop.
I loved him for this. By myself, I might never have found Lutkins. With the hack driver’s knowing help, I was sure of getting my man. I took him into my confidence and told him that I wanted to serve the summons on Lutkins — that the man had refused to be a witness, when his information would have quickly settled our case. The driver listened earnestly. At the end, he hit me on the shoulder and laughed,”Well, we’ll give Brother Lutkins a little surprise.”
Hack Driver: the one drives a horse cart or hack
Confidence: trust, belief
As the hack driver was working hard for him, he told him the truth behind his search. He told him that Lutkins was a witness in a very important case but he was not helping them out by giving them the details. That information of Lutkins could help them in solving the case quickly. The driver heard all this seriously and then hit on the clerk’s shoulder and said that they would surprise Lutkins by catching him and fulfilling the clerk’s purpose.
“Let’s start, driver.”
“Most folks around here call me Bill or Magnuson. My business is called ‘William Magnuson Fancy Carting and Hacking’.”
“All right, Bill. Shall we proceed to Fritz’s”.
“Yes, Lutkins is just as likely to be there as anywhere. Plays a lot of poker. He’s good at deceiving people.” Bill seemed to admire Lutkins’ talent for dishonesty. I felt that if he had been a policeman, he would have caught Lutkins respectfully, and jailed him with regret.
Proceed: to begin
Admire: praise, appreciate
Regret: to be sorry
They start their search for Lutkins. On their way, the hack driver introduced himself as Bill or Magnuson and said that his business was called “William Magnuson Fancy carting and Hacking”. The clerk replied in a very friendly way that now he and bill should begin their search mission. Bill also told him that Lutkins was fond of playing poker and also praised his ability to cheat others.
This made the clerk imagine about Bill that had he been a policeman, he would have caught Lutkins in a very respectful manner. Not only this, he would have felt bad to put that man in jail.
Bill led me into Fritz’s. “Have you seen Oliver Lutkins around today? Friend of his looking for him,” said Bill cheerily.
Fritz looked at me, hiding behind Bill. He hesitated, and then admitted, “Yes, he was in here a little while ago. Guess he’s gone over to Gustaff’s to get a shave.”
“Well, if he comes in, tell him I’m looking for him.”
Hesitated: be in two minds, stall
Bill took the clerk to Fritz’s shop and enquired about Oliver Lutkins. He tried to appear natural by saying that his friend had come to meet him. He did this to make Fritz tell the truth about Lutkins. At first Fritz was confused but then he said that Lutkins was there a few hours ago, but he left for Gustaff’s shop where he had gone for a shave. After getting the information, Bill asked Fritz to convey a message to Lutkins that he was looking for him.
We drove to Gustaff’s barber shop. Again Bill went in first, and I lingered at the door. He asked not only the Swede but two customers if they had seen Lutkins. The Swede had not. He said angrily, “I haven’t seen him, and don’t care to. But if you find him you can just collect that dollar thirty-five he owes me.” One of the customers thought he had seen Lutkins walking down Main Street, this side of the hotel.
Lingered: waited around
Swede: a native or inhabitant of Sweden, or a person of Swedish descent.
Next they went to Gustaff’s shop. Here also Bill went inside the shop first and the clerk waited for him outside. They had to face the anger of the hair dresser because Lutkins had not paid his thirty five dollars. But one of the customers told them that he had seen Lutkins in the main street near the hotel.
As we climbed back into the hack, Bill concluded that since Lutkins had exhausted his credit at Gustaff’s he had probably gone to Gray’s for a shave. At Gray’s barber shop we missed Lutkins by only five minutes. He had just left — probably for the poolroom. At the poolroom it appeared that he had just bought a pack of cigarettes and gone out. So we pursued him, just behind him but never catching him, for an hour till it was past one o’clock. I was hungry. But I had so enjoyed Bill’s rough country opinions about his neighbours that I scarcely cared whether I found Lutkins or not.
Concluded: draw the judgement
Exhausted: used up, finished
Poolroom: A place to play pool, a betting shop
When they were about to climb the hack again, Bill guessed that Lutkins may have gone to Gray’s barber shop as his credit limit with Gustaff had ended. But when they reached Gray’s shop, they came to know that Lutkins left the place just five minutes ago..They decided to visit the poolroom (A betting shop), someone told them that he had left after buying cigarettes.
So their attempts to catch him were all in vain. Almost an hour had passed. It was one o’clock in the afternoon and the clerk was hungry. But Bill’s cheerfulness and his knowledge of the villagers was so delightful for him that he hardly bothered to find Lutkins.
“How about something to eat?” I suggested. “Let’s go to a restaurant and I’ll buy you lunch.”
“Well, I ought to go home to the wife. I don’t care much for these restaurants — only four of them and they’re all bad. Tell you what we’ll do. We’ll get the wife to pack up a lunch for us — she won’t charge you more than half a dollar, and it would cost you more for a greasy meal in a restaurant — and we’ll go up to Wade’s Hill and enjoy the view while we eat.
Greasy meal: oily food
The clerk asked Bill about having lunch. He offered to buy lunch for both of them from the restaurant. Bill replied that there were only four restaurants and none of them were good. He said that he would get food from his wife. Bill also suggested the clerk to buy a food parcel from his wife as he had to pay only half a dollar, which was far less than the price of the restaurant meal which was oily and non tasty. He also suggested that they both go up the Wade’s hill which was a nice place to view while they had their lunch.
I know that Bill’s helpfulness to the Young Fellow from the City was not entirely a matter of brotherly love. I was paying him for his time; in the end I paid him for six hours (including the lunch hour) at what was then a very high price. But he was no more dishonest than I. I charged the whole thing to the firm.
But it would have been worth paying him myself to have his presence. His cheerful country wisdom was very refreshing to a country boy like me who was sick of the city. As we sat on the hilltop, looking over the pastures and creek which slipped among the trees, he talked of New Mullion, and painted a picture in words of all the people in it.
He noticed everything, but no matter how much he might laugh at people, he also understood and forgave their foolishness. He described the minister’s wife who sang the loudest in church when she was most in debt. He commented on the boys who came back from college in fancy clothes. He told about the lawyer whose wife could never succeed in getting him to put on both a collar and a tie on the same day. He made them all live. On that day I came to know New Mullion better than I did the city and to love it better.
Creeks: a stream or minor tributary
The narrator says that he knew that Bill was not helping him because of his helping nature but because he was earning from him. He was getting paid for the six hours he spent with the clerk, even the lunch hour during which they were sitting idle on a hilltop. He was comfortable with this because his law firm would bear all his expenses. So, he felt it to be dishonesty on his own part. Anyways he was happy to get the company of such a cheerful person like Bill.
While they were sitting on the hilltop, they saw the beautiful grasslands and the streams flowing through them. For the clerk they were very beautiful as he was also a villager and did not like the city life much. Bill told him everything about New Mullion. He explained everything and everyone in such a way that he felt like everything had happened in front of his own eyes. Bill told him about the minister’s wife who would sing so loudly in the church whenever she was under debt (liability to pay off your credit or loans).
This means that she prayed to god for her problems. Then there were some college boys who would dress in such a fancy way and the lawyer’s wife who always failed in her attempt to make her husband wear both the collar and the tie on the same day. The narrator says that Bill’s knowledge of his village fellows was so good that it made him love the small town of New Mullion. He says that now he knew almost everything about this place whereas he was not much aware of the city he was living in.
Bill didn’t know about colleges and cities, but he had travelled around a lot of the country, and had had a lot of jobs. From his adventures he had brought back a philosophy of simplicity and laugher. He strengthened me.
We left that peaceful scene of meadows and woods, and resumed our search of Oliver Lutkins. We could not find him. At last Bill cornered a friend of Lutkins and made him admit what he guessed,“Oliver’s gone out to his mother’s farm, three miles north.” We drove out there, laying plans.
Adventures; exploit or event
Philosophy: ideology, beliefs
Meadows: field, pasture
Cornered: forced into a place or situation
Bill knew nothing about colleges and cities may be because he never got the chance to visit these places. But he knew everything about the villages and small towns as he had done different types of jobs at these places. He got his ideology of simplicity and cheerful nature as a gift by exploiting these places. He tried to build faith in the narrator that they would surely catch Lutkins. Both of them left the beautiful fields and restarted their search mission.
At last,Bill forced one of Lutkin’s friends to admit that Lutkin had ran away to his mother’s house which was three miles away from New Mullion. So, both of them prepared to drive to Lutkin’s mother in order to find him.
“I know Oliver’s mother. She’s a terror,” Bill sighed. “I took a trunk out there for her once, and she almost took my skin off because I didn’t treat it like a box of eggs. She’s about nine feet tall and four feet thick and quick as a cat, and she sure can talk. I’ll bet Oliver heard that somebody’s chasing him, and he’s gone on there to hide behind his mother’s skirts. Well, we’ll try her. But you’d better let me do it, boy. You may be great at literature and law, but you haven’t had real training in swearing.”
Bill told him that he knew Oliver’s mother because once he took the delivery of a trunk for her. She treated him very badly as she was angry for not taking proper care of her trunk. He described her physical appearance that she was nine feet tall, four feet thick and compared her quickness to that of a cat.
He added that the Lutkins must have come to know that they were searching for him that is why he had run to his mother’s place in order to hide himself. He also suggested that the narrator should let him deal with the mother as he doubted that the clerk would not be able to extract the truth from the lady’s mouth.
We drove into a poor farmyard; we were faced by an enormous and cheerful old woman. My guide bravely went up to her and said, “Remember me? I’m Bill Magnuson, the carter and hackman. I want to find your son, Oliver.”
“I don’t know anything about Oliver, and I don’t want to,” she shouted.
When they reached the farmland they found a heavily built cheerful old lady. Bill went upto her with guts and introduced himself by saying that he was Bill Magnuson and also told her that he was searching for her son Oliver. To this the lady replied by shouting that she knew nothing about him.
“Now, look here. We’ve had just about enough nonsense. This young man represents the court in the city, and we have a legal right to search all properties for this Oliver Lutkins.”
Bill made me sound very important, and the woman was impressed. She retired into the kitchen and we followed. She seized an iron from the old-fashioned stove and marched on us shouting. “You search all you want to — if you don’t mind getting burnt first.” She shouted and laughed at our frightened retreat.
Represents: Be appointed to act on behalf of or speak for someone
Retired: Here, went inside
Seized: grabbed, snatched
Frightened: afraid or anxious
Retreat: pull back
Bill got a bit strict with the lady and said that they had been through tough and confusing things and then introduced her to the clerk by saying that he was a person appointed by the city court. He also said that they had got the legal right to search her house to find Oliver Lutkins.
The clerk was happy as he was getting due importance from Bill and even the lady seemed impressed by him. She went into the kitchen and both of them followed her. To their shock, she took out a hot iron from the stove and threatened them to burn. She laughed when they stepped back due to fear.
“Let’s get out of here. She’ll murder us,” Bill whispered. Outside, he said, “Did you see her smile? She was laughing at us.” I agreed that it was pretty disrespectful treatment. We did, however, search the house. Since it was only one storey high, Bill went round it, peering in at all the windows.
We examined the barn and stable; we were reasonably certain that Lutkins was not there. It was nearly time for me to catch the afternoon train, and Bill drove me to the station.
Disrespectful: rude, impolite
Examined: to look or consider a person or place
Barn: outhouse, shelter
Stable: A place where horse is tied up
The reaction of the lady was so horrible that Bill murmured to the clerk to leave the place. He agreed that the behavior of the woman was very rude. Yet they managed to search the whole house including the outhouse and the stable (a place where horse is tied). As it was a single storeyed building, they managed to search the whole of it and could not find Lutkins. As the clerk was getting late for his train, therefore, Bill took him to the station.
On the way to the city I worried very little over my failure to find Lutkins. I was too busy thinking about Bill Magnuson. Really, I considered returning to New Mullion to practise law. If I had found Bill so deep and richly human, might I not grow to love Fritz and Gustaff and a hundred other slow-spoken, simple, wise neighbours? I pictured an honest and happy life beyond the strict limits of universities and law firms. I was excited. I had found a treasure. I had discovered a new way of life.
While the narrator was heading back towards the city he did not regret his failure in delivering summons to Lutkins, rather he was happy. He was still thinking about Bill Magnuson and felt like going back to New Mullion and start his practice there. He felt a certain kind of attachment with all the villagers such as Fritz and Gustaff whom he considered humble speakers and wise neighbours.
He imagined a life which was honest, simple and joyous which was not experienced by him in the boundaries of his university or law firm. He was so happy that he felt as if he had got some kind of treasure and had found a new way of life.
But if I did not think much about Lutkins, the office did. I found them all upset. Next morning the case was coming up in the court, and they had to have Lutkins. I was a shameful, useless fool. That morning my promising legal career almost came to an end before it had begun.
Though the narrator was not so worried about finding Lutkins but his firm was. The people there got very upset on hearing that he was not able to serve the summons. He was insulted by being called shameful and useless. He felt that it was his last day in the office as his career was about to end.
The Chief almost murdered me. He hinted that I might do well at digging ditches. I was ordered back to New Mullion, and with me went a man who had worked with Lutkins. I was rather sorry, because it would prevent my loafing all over again with Bill.
Digging: to till
Ditches: a drain or trench
Loafing: spend time in idle way
The narrator’s chief was very angry with him. He treated him so badly that the clerk felt as if he would murder him. Not only this, he also suggested to him that he was better for the job of tilling a drain or something. He was again sent to New Mullion with a man who had worked with Lutkins. The clerk was feeling bad not for what happened but because he would miss the chance to be with Bill.
When the train arrived at New Mullion, Bill was on the station platform, near his cart. Strangely enough, that old tigress, Lutkins’ mother was there talking and laughing with Bill, not quarrelling at all. From the train steps I pointed Bill out to my companion and said, “There’s a fine fellow, a real man. I spent the day with him.”
He helped you hunt for Oliver Lutkins?”
“Yes, he helped me a lot.”
“He must have; he’s Lutkins himself.”
Companion: associate, partner
Hunt: search for
When both the narrator and his new partner reached New Mullion station they saw Bill on the platform. But to his (narrator’s) surprise, Bill was talking and laughing with Lutkin’s mother, whom the narrator compared to a tigress for her rude behavior. He then told his partner that it was Bill, a nice man who helped him search for Lutkins. But he was surprised by the answer given by the companion that the man who helped him find Lutkins was none other than Lutkins himself.
What really hurt me was that when I served the summons, Lutkins and his mother laughed at me as though I were a bright boy of seven. With loving kindness they begged me to go with them to a neighbour’s house for a cup of coffee.
“I told them about you and they’re anxious to look at you,” said Lutkins joyfully. “They’re about the only folks in the town that missed seeing you yesterday.”
Begged: To request
Anxious: concerned, worried
The thing that pinched the narrator a lot was that both the mother and son were laughing at him when he served Lutkins with the summons. Not only this, they requested him to join them for a coffee at a neighbor’s house because they were the only people left in the village who had not seen him yesterday when he was searching for Lutkins though Lutkins was riding with him in the hack.
Important Videos Links
CBSE Class 10 English Syllabus as Per Term 2 From Footprints Without Feet Book
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