The Hack Driver By Sinclair Lewis
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 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.
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.
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.
“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?”
“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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
“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.
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.”
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.
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.
“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.
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 myself 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.
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 laughter. 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.
“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.”
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. “
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.
“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.
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.
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 5 2 Footprints without Feet morning my promising legal career almost came to an end before it had begun.
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.
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.”
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.”
The Hack Driver Summary
The Narrator’s Job
The narrator, a young lawyer works in a law firm and is assigned the duty to serve summons to a witnessess required in a court case. The narrator graduated with honours in law and dreamt of practising law. But all his hopes are dashed because he does not get any case to handle but is sent to serve summons. As this work is difficult and dangerous, he hates it. He thinks of going back to his town to become a lawyer.
The Lawyer Goes to New Mullion to Serve Summons
One day he goes to a village named New Mullion to serve summons on Oliver Lutkins. He expects to find a beautiful and peaceful village. But his expectations are proved false as the village has streets full of mud. There are shabby wooden shops all around. The only cheerful thing is that the lawyer finds a man at the station. This man drives a carriage and offers to help him find Oliver Lutkins.
The Hack Driver Tells the Lawyer about Lutkins
The Hack driver informed him that Lutkins was hard to catch. He was always busy doing one thing or another. He tells him that Lutkins even ows him some money. The lawyer is quite impressed by the friendly conduct of the hack driver. Now, he trusts him completely. The lawyer hires his carriage for a couple of hours to find Lutkins. He even tells him that he had summons to serve on Lutkins.
The Hack Driver Takes the Lawyer Around
The hack driver suggests that he would find out about Lutkins as Lutkins might run away on seeing the lawyer. The driver takes him to Fritz’s shop. Then he takes him to Gustaff’s barber shop. After that they go to Gray’s and the pool room. But they miss Oliver Lutkins every time. Lunch time arrives. The driver gets him some some cheap lunch made by his wife.
The Lawyer Enjoys the Driver’s Company
The lawyer did not mind that he had not found Oliver Lutkins because he was enjoying the company of the hack driver. The lawyer was impressed by the wisdom of the man. The driver told him everything about New Mullion. He described the people and their habits. His simplicity and humour influences the lawyer so much that he plans to settle down in the village. He ends up paying the hack driver for six hours.
The Driver and the Lawyer Visit Oliver’s Mother
The hack driver suggested that they should look for Oliver at his mother’s place. She was described as a terrifying women. The women chase them away with a burning iron and threatened to burn them. The two escaped to save themselves.
The Lawyer Returns to Town
When the lawyer returned to town without serving the summons his chief got very angry with him. They needed Lutkins as an important witness in their case. The next day he sent another man who knew Lutkins with the lawyer to the village to bring Lutkins.
The Lawyer Serves Summons on Lutkins
The lawyer and his companion went to the village the next day. They found the hack driver at station laughing and joking with Lutkin’s mother. He pointed out the driver to his companion and explained how the driver helped him in trying to find Lutkins. Surprisingly, his companion told the lawyer the driver was Lutkins himself. The lawyer served summons on Lutkins who made fun of him.
The story ‘The Hack Driver’ by Sinclair Lewis, is about a man whose name was Oliver Lutkins. He was a cunning man who was a witness in a case, but he ignored all the requests for appearing. A young lawyer was given the duty to find this man in New Mullion. There he meets a helpful and cheerful hack (cart) driver. The driver takes him around the village in the search of Lutkins but is unable to find him.
Later on the lawyer came to know that the hack driver was Oliver Lutkins himself. The young lawyer becomes the laughing stock (joke) of all.
About the Characters
Narrator: A young lawyer who is gullible. The hack driver makes a fool out of him.
Oliver Lutkins: A dishonest man who tricks others and receives summons from the court. He is a great story teller. He takes up the name of Bill Magnuson to fool the lawyer.
- The narrator completed his graduation in law and joined a big firm as a Junior Assistant Clerk.
- He was given the dirty and dangerous job of serving summons.
- He gets an opportunity to go to a village to serve summons.
- A helpful hack driver at the station offers to take him in his cart and find Lutkins.
- The driver takes him to all the places where Lutkins could be found but fails to locate him.
- He shows him the village and describes the country life.
- They do not find Lutkins but the lawyer is very happy to find such a friendly and helpful man.
- They visit Lutkin’s home and meet his mother who frightens them away.
- The lawyer ends up paint for six hours to the hack driver.
- He returns to the city. His chief is angry at his failure to find Lutkins.
- The chief sends the lawyer back the next day with a man who knows Lutkins.
- The lawyer shows him the helpful hack driver.
- His companion tells him that the hack driver was Oliver Lutkins.
- The lawyer feels embarrassed and unhappy when he serves summons to a laughing Oliver Lutkins.
summons: an order to appear before a judge
agreeable sight: pleasant sight
rejoice: feel or show great Joy or delight
cent: a monetary unit in various countries, equal to one hundredth of a dollar
part with: to give up (money, property, control etc)
lingered: to take a longer time to leave
swede: a native of Sweden
earnestly: sincerely and seriously
creek: a narrow area of water that flows into the land from the sea
meadow: a piece of Grassland
retired: went back
seized: got hold of
retreat: an act of moving back or withdrawing
barn: a large farm building used for storing hay/ grain etc.
swearing: rude or offensive language that someone uses especially when they are angry
peering: to look carefully or with difficulty
loafing: to spend one’s time in an aimless, idle way
Questions and Answers
Read and Find Out
1. Why is the lawyer sent to New Mullion? What does he first think about the place?
Answer: The lawyer was sent to New Mullion to serve summons on Oliver Lutkins, who was needed as a witness in a law case.
He first thinks that the place must be a sweet and a simple country village.
2. Who befriends lawyer? Where does he take him?
Answer: A hack driver at the station who called himself Bill Magnuson, befriends him. He told the lawyer that he knew Lutkins and would help in finding him.
Bill took him to all the places where Lutkins was known to hang out. He took the lawyer to Fritz’s shop, where Lutkins played a lot of Poker; to Gustaff’s barber shop and then to Gray’s barbershop; and to the pool room and several other places before finally taking him to Lutkin’s mother’s farm. However, Oliver Lutkins was not found.
3. What does Bill say about Lutkins?
Answer: Bill told the lawyer that Lutkins was a hard person to find as he was always busy in some activity or the other.
He owed money to many people including Bill, and had never paid back anybody. He also said that Lutkins played a lot of poker and was good at deceiving people.
4. What more does Bill say about Lutkins and his family?
Answer: Bill told the lawyer that he knew mother of Lutkins’. He said that she was a terror. He narrated an incident when he took a trunk to her once and she almost took his skin off because he did not carry it carefully. He also said that she was very tall and bulky. She was very quick and could talk a lot. He said that Lutkins must have heard that somebody was chasing him and consequently would have gone into hiding at his mother’s place.
5. Does the narrator serve the summons that day?
Answer: No the narrator did not serve the summons that day.
6. Who is Lutkins?
Answer: The hack driver himself is Lutkins but pretends to be Bill Magnuson. He tricks the lawyer to avoid the summons to be a witness in a case.
Think About It
1. When the lawyer reached New Mullion did Bill know that he was looking for Lutkins? When do you think Bill came up with this plan for fooling the lawyer?
Answer: No, Bill did not know initially that the lawyer was looking for him.
He must have made his plan for fooling the lawyer when the lawyer told him that he was looking for Lutkins, as he knew that he was required as a witness but did not want to give his testimony.
2. Lutkins openly takes the lawyer all over the village. How is that no one lets out the secret.
(Hint: Notice that the hack driver asks the lawyer to keep out of sight behind him when they go into Fritz’s). Can you find other such subtle ways in which Lutkins manipulates the tour?
Answer: Lutkins never allows the lawyer to reach the place where the imaginary Lutkins is supposed to be present at a given time. The way he weaves stories about Lutkins’ vagabond nature and the way he scares the lawyer about Lutkins’ mother are ways of fooling the lawyer devised by the hack driver. Everywhere he does not allow the lawyer to ask about Lutkins but he himself pretends to ask about him, which the villagers are knowing is a pretence. So, the villagers also join in the whole drama.
3. Why do you think Lutkin’s neighbours are anxious to meet the lawyer?
Answer: Almost the entire village had enjoyed Lutkins making a fool of the lawyer. Only Lutkins neighbours had not seen the lawyer but had come to know what happened. They wanted to see the gullible man who Lutkins had taken for a ride. That is why they wanted to meet him.
4. After his first day’s experience with the hack driver the lawyer thinKs of returning to New Mullion to practice law. Do you think he would have reconsidered his idea after his second visit?
Answer: No, absolutely not. After knowing how Lutkins had made fool of him, he would never return to New Mullion to practice law.
5. Do you think the lawyer was gullible? How could he have avoided being taken for a ride?
Answer: Yes, the lawyer was gullible (innocent).
He believed every word of what Oliver Lutkins said. He should’ve asked about Lutkins from other villagers. Instead, he dependent completely on the hack driver.
Talk About It
1. Do we come across persons like Lutkins only in fiction or do we encounter them in real life as well? You can give examples from fiction, or narrate an incident that you have read in the newspaper, or an incident from real life.
Answer : Persons like Lutkins are found in real life as well. They do not just appear in stories. They are very much real. Newspapers are full of reports of such tricksters. There is this famous con man in ‘David Copperfield’ written by Charles Dickens. His name is Uriah Heep. He traps a gullible, rich old man. The old man depends on him entirely. He takes advantage of his trust and takes all his money. He makes the old man addict to alcohol. Then he forces the old man to marry his daughter to him.
2. Who is a ‘con man’ or a ‘confidence trickster’ ?
Answer: A ‘con man’ or a ‘confidence trickster’ is a person who makes a fool out of other people. He wins their trust first and then, he gets from them whatever he wants.
Extract Based Questions
Read the following extract carefully and choose the correct option.
1. I was sent, not to prepare legal briefs, but to serve summons, like a cheap detective.
(i) At what post was ‘I’ working?
(a) ‘I’ was working as a Junior Assistant Clerk
(b) ‘I’ was working as a Clerk
(c) ‘I’ was working as a Head Clerk
(d) ‘I’ was working as a Junior Associate Clerk
(ii) Why was he not given legal briefs to prepare?
(a) Because he had taken a lot of leaves
(b) Because he was inexperienced
(c) Because he was not regular employee
(d) Because he opted to do other things
(iii) Find the word meaning ‘court order’ from the given extract.
(iv) What is the present tense of ‘sent’?
Answer: (i) (a) ‘I’ was working as a Junior Assistant Clerk
(ii) (b) Because he was inexperienced
(iii) (c) Summons
(iv) (d) Send
2. 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) Who is ‘he’ in these lines?
(c) Bill Magnuson
(ii) Give an instance of his kindness
(a) He offered to take the narrator to the court to find Lutkins
(b) He offered to take the narrator to the city to find Lutkins
(c) He offered to find a match for the narrator
(d) He offered to take the narrator through the village to find Lutkins
(iii) Find a word from the extract which means ‘a gentle feeling of fondness’.
(iv) What is the opposite of kindness?
Answer: (i) (c) Bill Magnuson
(ii) (d) He offered to take the narrator through the village to find Lutkins
(iii) (b) Affection
(iv) (c) Cruelty
3. So we pursued him, just behind him, but never catching him, for an hour it was past one ‘o’clock.
(i) Who was pursuing whom?
(a) The narrator was pursuing Lutkins
(b) The chief was pursuing the narrator
(c) The chief was pursuing Lutkins
(d) The narrator and Bill were pursuing Lutkins
(ii) Why were they pursuing him?
(a) Because the lawyer had to serve summons on him
(b) Because the lawyer had to take him to jail
(c) Because the lawyer wanted to meet him
(d) Because Bill had to serve summons on him
(iii) ……….in the extract is the same meaning as ‘followed.
(iv) What is the opposite of behind’?
Answer: (i) (d) The narrator and Bill were pursuing Lutkins
(ii) (a) Because the lawyer had to serve summons on him
(iii) (c) Pursued
(iv) (b) Ahead
4. 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.
(i) What hurt the narrator?
(a) The crying of Lutkins and his mother
(b) The laughter of Lutkins
(c) The laughter of Lutkins’ mother
(d) Both (b) and (c)
(ii) Why did the two laugh?
(a) Because the young lawyer had cracked a joke
(b) Because the young lawyer had lost the summons
(c) Because they had been successful in fooling the young lawyer
(d) Because they had gone mad
(iii) Which word in the extract is same in meaning as ‘delivered’?
(iv) What is the opposite of ‘bright’?
Answer: (i) (d) Both (b) and (c)
(ii) (c) Because they had been successful in fooling the young lawyer
(iii) (a) Served
(iv) (c) Dull
5. I had to go to dirty and shadow corners of the city to seek out my victims. Some of the larger and more self-confident ones even beat me up.
(i) Who is ‘I’?
(a) The young doctor
(b) The junior assistant clerk
(c) The hack driver
(d) The chief
(ii) What was the nature of his job?
(a) To serve summons on people
(b) To prepare legal briefs
(c) To meet new clients
(d) To take interview of new joinees
(iii) Find the word from the extract which means ‘find’.
(d) Seek out
(iv) What is the opposite of ‘dirty’?
Answer: (i) (b) The junior assistant clerk
(ii) (a) To serve summons on people
(iii) (d) Seek out
(iv) (c) Pristine
6. 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 rose of wooden shops, either painted a sour brown, or bare of any paint at all.
(i) Who is ‘I’?
(a) Bill Magnuson
(b) Oliver Lutkins
(c) The Young lawyer
(ii) Why was ‘I’ disappointed?
(a) Because he came to know that Lutkins had left
(b) Because he came to know that was no more
(c) Because he did not like the muddy streets and unpainted shops of New Mullion
(d) Because he did not want to go to New Mullion
(iii) What does the word ‘expectations’ mean?
(a) The feeling that good things are going to happen in the future
(b) The feeling that bad things are going to happen in the future
(c) The feeling of getting something different than expected
(d) The feeling of being alone
(iv) What is the opposite of ‘disappointed’?
Answer: (i) (c) The Young lawyer
(ii) (c) Because he did not like the muddy streets and unpainted shops of New Mullion
(iii) (a) The feeling that good things are going to happen in the future
(iv) (d) Pleased
Short Questions and Answers
1. Why did the narrator call his work unpleasant?
Answer: The narrator was sent to serve summons. He had to go to all sorts of dirty and dangerous places. At times, he was also beaten by those very people. That is why he called his work unpleasant.
2. Describe the hack driver’s appearance in your own words?
Answer: The hack driver looked to be about 40 years in age. His face was red. He wore dirty and worn out clothes but he was cheerful. His simplicity and humour could influence anyone.
3. Why does the hack driver offer to ask about Oliver Lutkins?
Answer: The hack driver was none other than Oliver Lutkins himself. He did not wish to take the summons and go as a witness. So, he pretended to be a hack driver. He offered to help the lawyer so that the lawyer could not come to know about him from someone else.
4. ‘But he was no more dishonest than I’. Explain.
Answer: The narrator meant to say that the hack driver was as dishonest as him because he was getting paid for riding the narrator on his cart on the pretence of helping him. But in this way, he was trying to save him from the narrator.
5. The narrator was happy though he had not found Lutkins. Why?
Answer: The narrator had hated city life. This ride through the village made him very happy. He was overjoyed to meet the hack driver. Even he planned to settle down in that village. So he was happy though he had not found Lutkins.
6. What impressed the narrator most about Bill? Mention any two things.
Answer: The first quality that struck the narrator was that Bill was a cheerful, friendly and helpful man. Secondly, he loved Bill for his simple and philosophical wisdom as he had helped the narrator to find Lutkins.
7. Why did Lutkins pretend to be Bill Magnuson?
Answer: Lutkins pretended to be Bill Magnuson as he did not want to accept the summons and be a witness in the case. So, he pretended to help him in finding Lutkins and wandered everywhere.
8. What did the hack driver tell the narrator about Lutkin’s mother?
Answer: The hack driver told the narrator that Lutkin’s mother was a real terror. He described her as a large and hefty lady with a fierce temper. He also said that she was quick as a cat. And he suggested him to keep himself away and safe from her.
Long Questions and Answers
1. In life, people who easily trust others are sometimes made to look foolish. One should not be too trusting. Describe how Oliver Lutkins made a fool of the young lawyer.
Answer: Oliver Lutkins made a fool of the young lawyer throughout his first visit to the village. First he introduced himself as Bill at the railway station and assured the lawyer that they would together search for Lutkins. He told the lawyer that he knew most of the places where Lutkins used to hang out. In succession, he took the narrator to Fritz, then to the barber’s shop, then Gray’s shop and finally Lutkins’ mother who he called a ‘terrible’. He deceived the lawyer throughout and also made money by taking the lawyer around. Thus, he was able to make a fool of the lawyer by taking him all over the village without success, as the lawyer did not recognise Lutkins and so did not realise that it was Lutkins himself who was taking him around.
2. Do you think Lutkins was right in befooling the lawyer and earning money by using unfair means. What precaution should one take to avoid a situation like the one in which the lawyer was placed?
Answer: Lutkins was not right in befooling the lawyer and earning money by using unfair means. This shows that Lutkins did not care for the law at all. If we are in Lutkins’ place, we should not believe in things as they are seen.
We should judge every action taken by the other person carefully before accepting it. Instead of depending on others, we should carry out our enquiries ourselves. The lawyer was befooled because he let Lutkins do the finding and questioning and did not do anything himself. This resulted in his failure to serve the summons on Lutkins. If we do our duty without being personal and judge everything very carefully, we can get better results. As lawyer did not ask anyone about Lutkins and allowed the hack driver to do the same, he became a victim of Lutkins’ tricks. And in result, he made his senior angry who accused him as an irresponsible person. In the same way, we can be treated by our seniors if we are not able to fulfil our duty efficiently.