NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Chapter 8 - The Hack Driver

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“The Hack Driver” is a story written by an American novelist, Sinclair Lewis. This story is about how a young lawyer who goes to serve to summon Oliver Lutkins instead got fooled by him in return. One day while the lawyer was going to visit the village of Oliver Lutkins, he met a man called Bill at the railway station. Bill claimed to know everyone in the village. So, he promised the lawyer that he will help him in searching for Lutkins. He took the lawyer to several places and took money from him. Later, when he went to the village with one of his colleagues he got to know that the person who was claiming to be Bill was Oliver Lutkins himself. He felt very ashamed as everyone was laughing at him.

Question 1:

Why is the lawyer sent to New Mullion ? What does he first think about the place ?


The lawyer is sent to New Mullion to serve summons on a man called Oliver Lutkins. He thinks that New Mullion will be a sweet and simple country village.

Question 2:

Who befriends him ? Where does he take him ?


A hack driver befriends him. He offers to help the lawyer. He takes the lawyer to all places where Oliver Lutkins could be found.

Question 3:

What does he say about Lutkins ?


He says that Lutkins is not an honest person. He owes money to many people. But he never pays anybody a cent. Then he also says that Lutkins is not really bad. Only he can’t part with his money.

Question 4:

What more does Bill say about Lutkins and his family ?


Bill says that Lutkins plays a lot of poker. He is good at deceiving people. He says that Lutkins’ mother is a terrible woman. She is about nine feet tall and four feet thick. She is quick as a cat. And she talks too much.

Question 5:

Does the narrator serve the summons that day ?


No, the summons were served but only on the second visit.

Question 6:

Who is Lutkins ?


Lutkins is a hack driver who lives at New Mullion. He is needed by a law firm, because his evidence is very important for a certain legal case.

Question 7:

When the lawyer reached New Mullion, did ‘Bill’ know that he was looking for Lutkins ? When do you think Bill came up with his plan for fooling the lawyer ?


‘Bill’ knew from the very start that the lawyer was looking for Lutkins because the lawyer had himself told him about the purpose of his visit. When he went to fetch his hack for the lawyer, he made up his plan of taking the lawyer around the town and make a fool of him.

Question 8:

Lutkins openly takes the lawyer all over the village. How is it that no one lets out the secret ? Can you find other subtle ways in which Lutkins manipulates the tour ?


Lutkins is an extremely clever person. The lawyer is sent to serve summons on him. The lawyer meets him at the railway station. He very cleverly gets to know from him the purpose of his visit. Then he decides to fool the lawyer. He offers to take him to the places where Lutkins can be found. He takes the lawyer to Fritz’s, Gray’s and Gustaff ’s. But everywhere, he keeps the lawyer at his back. He tells each one in a loud voice that the lawyer is looking for Oliver Lutkins. Thus the other people come to know that the hack driver is fooling the lawyer. They also enjoy being a part of his plan. In this way, Lutkins manipulates the tour very cleverly and also charges a high price for it.

Question 9:

Why do you think Lutkins’ neighbours were anxious to meet the lawyer ?


The hack driver had taken the lawyer around the whole town. Everyone knew how he was fooling the lawyer. Only Lutkins’ neighbours had missed seeing him. So they were also anxious to see the man.

Question 10:

After his first day’s experience with the hack driver, the lawyer thinks of returning to New Mullion to practise law. Do you think he would have reconsidered this idea after his second visit ?


Yes, the narrator must have changed his mind. Everybody in the town knew how the hack driver had fooled him. He could never face their mocking looks. And if Lutkins was so cunning, others in the town could be no less.

Question 11:

Do you think the lawyer was gullible ? How could he have avoided being taken for a ride ?


Yes, the lawyer was a gullible person. He immediately tells the hack driver the purpose of his visit. The hack driver takes advantange of this and takes him round the town. He also charges from him a very high fare for this. He could have saved himself from all this if he had himself made enquiries about Lutkins instead of depending on the hack driver.