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A clerk in a Law Firm:
The narrator was a junior assistant clerk in a law firm. He did not prepare legal brief but served summons. He hated city life. It was full of dirt and violence. He was even considered fleeing to his hometown.
Sent to Serve Summons on Oliver Lutkins:
The lawyer (the narrator) rejoiced when he was sent out forty miles to a country town, New Mullion. He was to serve summons on a man called Oliver Lutkins. Oliver was needed in a law case as a witness.
Met Bill-the Hack Driver:
There he met a delivery man with a hack. He was about forty, red-faced and cheerful. He told that his name was Bill. The lawyer told that he had come there to serve summons on a man named Oliver Lutkins. Bill told that he had seen him an hour ago. The narrator hired the hack at a rate of two dollars an hour.
Bill Manipulated the Tour around the Town :
Bill first took the lawyer (the narrator) to Fritz’s place. Fritz told them that Oliver Lutkins was there a little while ago. Perhaps he had gone to Gustaff’s barber shop. They drove to the barber shop. The barber said angrily that he had not seen Lutkins. Then they came to the pool room. They were told that Lutkins had just bought a pack of cigarettes and gone out. The lawyer was impressed with Bill’s cooperation and help.
Meeting with Oliver’s Terrible Huge Mother:
Then Bill drove to the mother’s farm. Again they asked the same question about Oliver. She shouted that she didn’t know anything about Oliver. Bill pressed her to tell Oliver’s whereabouts. He wanted to search the house. She seized an iron bar from the stove and marched on them shouting. She warned if they dared to search her house, she would burn them. Bill asked the lawyer to get out of there as Oliver’s mother would murder them.
The Narrator Returned Disappointed :
The narrator couldn’t trace Oliver Lutkins. He returned disappointed. When he reached his office, the Chief was furious and scolded him for his failure. He was ordered back to New Mullion. He was sent with a man who could recognise Oliver Lutkins as he had worked with him.
Bill Himself was Recognised as Lutkins :
The train arrived at New Mullion. Bill was on the station platform near his cart. Strangely enough, Oliver Lutkins’ mother, the old tigress, was talking and laughing with him. The narrator told his companion that Bill had helped him in hunting for Oliver Lutkins. The companion was surprised. He told that his name was not Bill but he was Oliver Lutkins himself. He had worked with him.
Oliver Lutkins makes mockery of summons:
When the summons were served, Lutkins and his mother laughed at him. They looked at the narrator, as if he were a bright boy of seven. They begged the narrator to go with them to a neighbour’s house for a cup of coffee. They were anxious to look at the narrator. They were the only people in the town that missed seeing him the previous day.
‘The Hack Driver’ is the story of a very cunning manipulator Bill (Oliver Lutkins). It also shows that
appearances are often deceptive. Once, the narrator, a junior clerk in a law firm, had to go to New Mullion
to serve a summon to Oliver Lutkins. There he met Bill (Oliver Lutkins), the hack driver. When the narrator
246 English Language & Literature-X asked about Oliver Lutkins, Bill took him to Fritz who replied that Oliver had been there a little while ago. Bill, who was Oliver Lutkins himself, made a plan to befool the narrator. In a very friendly but subtle way, Bill manipulated the tour, taking the lawyer around the village. He arranged meetings with Fritz, Gustaff’s shop owner, a barber etc. Then Bill took him to Oliver Lutkins’ mother who was a terrible, huge woman who threatened to beat them.
At last, he returned disappointed. He couldn’t trace Oliver Lutkins. His boss rebuked him badly and asked him to go back to New Mullion with a person who knew Lutkins. When they reached there, he found Bill and Lutkins’ mother together. The man recognised Lutkins. He told that Bill no one but Lutkins himself.
A young lawyer went to a village to serve summon on Oliver Lutkins. He met Bill who fooled him and made him believe that he was helping him. He took him at various places in search of Lutkins and everywhere he pretended that Lutkins has just left that place. Convinced himself that someone tried to help him but failed. But when he reached the village again, he was shocked to learn that the man was Lutkins himself. One can learn that a well read lawyer can be duped if he becomes careless or dependent. Cautious moves could have saved the lawyer time and money.
In the lesson ‘The Hack Driver’ a young lawyer is made to serve summons instead of practising law. He
hates his job as sometimes he is beaten up. Once, he is directed by the law firm to serve summons to one
Mr Oliver Lutkins, who lived in a village called New Mullion. The young lawyer goes to the village with
some expectations of village life but he is disappointed. He meets a hack driver who is a very helpful
man according to him.
Justification of the Title
“The Hack Driver” is the title of the story where a driver cheated a man. Basically, this story revolves
around two personalities, Oliver Lutkins (hack driver) and a lawyer. The hack driver was a clever man. He
easily impressed the lawyer with his words that he knew Lutkins. He also added that Lutkins borrowed
money from village people and never returned them. He visited the whole village with the lawyer in search of Lutkins and at last, the lawyer got to know that the hack driver himself was Lutkins.
Key Points (Train of Thoughts)
• The narrator was a junior assistant clerk in a law firm. He was usually sent to serve summons. He hated his unpleasant work because, sometimes, he was beaten up by some of his victims.
• He was very happy when the firm sent him out forty miles in the country.
• He was to serve summons on a man, Oliver Lutkins, in the town called New Mullion.
• He was disappointed to see the narrow, muddy streets and wooden shops of New Mullion.
• The only man he liked in Mulligan was a delivery man who called himself Bill. • Bill, the hack (iiiab) driver was about forty, red-faced and a cheerful man.
• The lawyer (the narrator) told Bill that he came there to serve summons on a man called Oliver Lutkins. He was a witness in a legal case.
• Bill told that he saw Oliver Lutkins only an hour ago around there.
• The narrator hired Bill’s hack at two dollars an hour.
• Bill told him that they could find Oliver at Fritz’s place and suggested him to remain behind him.
• Bill told the lawyer that Oliver Lutkins was good at deceiving people and played a lot of poker.
• Fritz informed them that Lutkins was present there a little while ago. Perhaps, he had gone to Gustaff’s barber shop for a shave.
• Gustaff said angrily that he had not seen Oliver Lutkins. Then, they went to Gray’s barber shop and there they were told that Oliver Lutkins was there only five minutes ago.
• They again started hunting and searching for Lutkins and now Bill suggested going to Oliver Lutkins’ mother’s farm.
• When asked about Oliver Lutkins, his mother shouted that she didn’t know anything about him. • Bill persisted that Lutkins was immediately wanted as a witness in a legal case. He pressed for making a search of the house.
• Oliver Lutkins’ mother seized an iron rod from the stove and threatened to burn them if they dared to make a search there
• The lawyer (the narrator) was highly disappointed as he couldn’t find even a trace of Oliver Lutkins.
• When he came back to his office, the boss rebuked him for his failure.
• He ordered the narrator to go back to New Mullion. He sent with him a man who recognised Oliver Lutkins as he had worked with him.
• When they reached New Mullion, he found Bill standing at the platform near his hack.
• Bill and Oliver Lutkins’ terrible mother stood together talking and laughing freely. The narrator introduced Bill, the hack driver, to his companion. He told how he had helped him in searching Oliver Lutkins.
• The narrator’s companion was surprised. He told him that the man was not Bill but Oliver Lutkins himself. When the narrator served summons, Lutkins and his mother laughed at him as he were a boy of seven.
• They begged the narrator to go with them to a neighbour’s house for a cup of coffee. Oliver Lutkins
told the narrator that his neighbours were eager to meet such a (foolish) man. They were the only persons in the town who missed seeing him the previous day.
Oliver Lutkins :
Oliver Lutkins is a crook who lives in the country town of New Mullion. Though he lives in a small town, he easily cheats the lawyer who comes to serve a summons on him. He pretends to be Bill Magnuson, the hack driver and manages to cheat the narrator of his money. He manages to convey the lawyer that it is very difficult to trace Lutkins. He takes the lawyer to many shops but does not allow the lawyer to directly talk with the people. Over a few hours, Bill takes the narrator all over the town where they keep missing Lutkins by small periods of time. He is also a friendly all over the town where they keep missing Lutkins by small periods of time.
He is also a friedly person. When the lawyer comes to New Mulltion a second time, Lutkins invites
the lawyer for a cup of coffee in his friend’s house. Bill painted Lutkins as a dishonest person. He
owed money to a lot of people. He had a talent for dishonesty. Though he lived in a rural town, he
managed to trick and mislead a lawyer belonging to the city.
The Narrator :
The narrator is a lawyer who hates city life. He thinks of pursuing a career in a small town. He goes to New Mullion to serve a summons on Oliver Lutkins. We find him gullible and he is easily misled by Lutkins himself, who poses as the hack driver, Bill. Bill takes money from the lawyer and gives misleading information about Lutkins. He visits a number of places of New Mullion with Bill but is not able to meet Lutkins. Since he visited New Mullion for an important matter, he failed to be careful in carrying out his job. The narrator appears to be a novice and not a seasoned legal mind. He had romantic view of country (rural) life, but was easily conned by crooks in New Mullion.
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