The Hack Driver Explanation, Line by Line, Meaning of Difficult Words, English CBSE Class 10 NCERT Footprints without Feet Chapter 8
THE HACK DRIVER
(Explanation and Meaning of difficult words)
Author – Sinclair Lewis
|Summon||Legal notice to be present|
I became a junior assistant clerk in a very big legal company. I had joined this company after completing my graduation with honours. I did not get the work of preparing legal notes and notices. My work was to deliver legal notices to people. It looked like work of an ordinary private detective.
|Shadowy||Unclear, difficult to find|
|Seek out||To find out, Search|
To find out the people, I had to go to dirty parts of city. I had to also go to those parts in a city whose address was difficult to find. Some stronger and more confident people used to beat me after getting summons.
|Flee||To run away|
|Right away||Immediately, Directly|
I disliked this boring work. I disliked kind of city life I came to know during my work. I even thought of running away from the city to my hometown. I could have been directly a lawyer there instead of this boring training period.
One day when they sent me to a village forty miles away, I became happy. Name of the town was New Mullion. I was asked to deliver summons to a man called Oliver Lutkins. We wanted this man to be a witness in our legal case. He had ignored all our earlier letters.
|Country village||Rural area|
When I reached New Mullion my expectation of a nice and simple rural village were badly disappointed.
The streets of New Mullion village were full of mud. It had rows of shops made of wood. These shops were either painted in dull brown colour or were without paints.
|Thick about the middle||Had fat stomach|
The only pleasant scene in the village was presence of a delivery man at the station. His age was about forty years. His face was red, he looked happy and slightly fat.
|Working clothes||Clothes worn while working|
He was wearing dirty and very old clothes. His manners were friendly. Immediately I understood that he liked to talk to people.
|Hard to catch||Difficult to find|
|Up to something or other||Doing different things|
I told him that I wanted to find out [meet] a person called Oliver Lutkins. He replied that he had seen Lutkins there only about half an hour ago. He further told that it was difficult to find Lutkins because he is always doing something different.
The deliveryman told that probably Lutkins was trying to start a game of poker behind the shop owned by Firtz. He asked if I was in a hurry to find Lutkins.
I replied that I wanted to catch the afternoon train to go back to the city. I did not want to tell by which train I would be going back.
|Hack||Tonga, A carriage pulled by horse|
|Tell you what||Suggest|
|Hang out||To go, To spend time|
The delivery man told that he had a tonga. I suggest that I will take it out and we can go around in it together to find Lutkins. I know most of the places he goes.
|Open||Ready to help|
He was ready to help and was so friendly that I was impressed by his affection. I certainly knew that he wanted some business from me [He will ask some money for his service and help] but his kindness looked so real.
I was happy that I will be paying rent to a nice person. I bargained the rent of the carriage to two dollars for an hour. Then he brought a carriage of black colour from his house. It looked like a big box.
He addressed me as a young man and said that here was the carriage. He smiled at me as if I was his old friend. I thought these villagers are always ready to help a stranger. My work to find Lutkins had now become his work also.
|Cent||One hundredth of a dollar|
He said that he did not want to interfere in my work but he made a guess that I wanted to collect money from Lutkins. He said that Lutkins never returns money to anyone.
|Owes me||He needs to give me|
He is yet to return me fifty cents that I won in a poker game. It was foolish of me to play with him. He is not a bad person, but it is very difficult to get money from him.
|Fancy clothes||Good looking clothes|
|Suspicious||Have a doubt, Doubtful|
|Get away||Run away|
|Ask for||To enquire|
|Out of sight||To hide|
The hack driver continued. If you try to collect money from him in those good cloths, he will have a doubt and run away from you. If you want I can go into the shop of Fritz and enquire if he is present there. You can hide behind me.
I liked his idea. I alone would have never found Lutkins. With the knowledgeable help of hack driver, I was sure of finding the person I was looking for.
|Took into confidence||Believed him, Told him a secrete|
I believed him and told him that I wanted to serve the summons to Lutkins. That man had refused to become a witness. The information he had, would have settled the case in our favour.
The driver listened to me sincerely. Then he laughed and patted my shoulder. He told me that we would give a small surprise to Brother Lutkins.
|Most folks||Most of the people|
I requested the driver to start moving. He told me that most of the people in the village called him Bill or Magnuson. My company is called ‘William Magnuson Fancy Carting and Hacking’
|Firtz’s||Shop owned by Fritz|
I asked Bill to go to Fritz’s. He said that Lutkins is likely be there or he may be at another place also. [It was not sure that Lutkins will be there]. He plays lot of poker. He is expert in deceiving people.
It seemed to me that Bill was appreciating talent of Lutkins for his dishonesty. I thought if Bill was a good policeman, he would arrest Lutkins with lot of respect. And Bill would regret sending Lutkins to jail.
Bill took me into shop of Fritz. Bill happily asked if Fritz had seen Oilver Lutkins at his shop. One of his friend is searching for him.
|A little while ago||Sometime before|
I was trying to hide behind Bill. Fritz tried to look at me. Then he accepted that Lutkins was at his shop some time ago. He might had gone to Gustaff’s [Shop of Gustaf] for a shave.
|Linger||To stop, To move around|
Bill requested Fritz , that if Lutkins comes there, to tell Lutkins that Bill was trying to find him out. Then we went to Gustaff’s barber shop. Again first Bill went into the shop. I stopped at the door.
|Swede||Person from Sweden|
Bill asked the Swede (Gustaff) and the two customers also if they had seen Lutkins. Gustaff angrily said that he had not seen Lutkins and he does not bother about Lutkins. Gustaff said that if Bill finds Lutkins, he should collect a dollor and thirty five cents which Lutkins has to return to Gustaff.
One customer said that he had seen Lutkins was walking in Main Street going towards a hotel.
I and Bill climbed back to the hack. Bill concluded that Lutkins was not getting any credit at Gustaff’s. So he had probably gone to Gray’s [shop of Gray] for shave.
|Pool||A type of game, Betting|
|Poolroom||Place where pool is played,|
At Gray’s barber shop, we reached five minutes after Lutkins had left. He had probably gone towards poolroom. We went to poolroom. It appeared that Lutkins had bought a pack of cigarettes and had gone out of the poolroom.
So we were following Lutkins since one hour till one o’clock. We were always just behind him but we never met him. I became hungry. But I had enjoyed the rural area with Bill and his opinion about his neighbours. I enjoyed so much that I hardly bothered if I found Lutkins or not.
I suggested that we should now eat something. Let us go to a restaurant and I will pay for the lunch for both of us. Bill replied that we should go to his house where his wife would do the cooking. There are only four restaurants in the town and all of them are bad.
|Greasy meal||Oily food|
Bill suggested that he would ask his wife to pack lunch for both of us. She will charge less than half dollor. The oily food at a restaurant will be more costly. Then we will go to Wade’s hill. We will eat while enjoying the scene from the hill.
I knew that Bill was not helping me (Young Fellow from the City) only for the sake of helping. I was paying for the time he was spending with me. Finally I paid him for six hours including the lunch time. The money paid was very high by the standards of those days.
If he was dishonest in charging me money I was also a part of it. Because I would charge the expenses to my company. I thought it would have been correct to pay him from my side also because he was a good companion.
His knowledge about rural area made me happy. My own memories of rural area became fresh in my mind. I was bored of city life.
|Creek||A small & narrow water stream|
|Pasture||Land for grazing|
|Painted a picture||Talked, Narrated|
While sitting on the top of the hill, we could see pastures and the water stream. The water stream was going through the tress. He talked about New Mullion. He narrated about all the people of the town.
Bill observed everything. He laughed a lot at them. But he always understood and forgave them for their foolishness. He described the wife of the priest. She used to sing very loudly in the church when she was in debt.
He talked about the boys who used to come back from college wearing different dresses. He also talked about a lawyer. His wife tried to teach her husband to wear both a collar and a tie. But the lawyer could not learn.
Bill described all of them accurately. That day I came to know so much about New Mullion that I started liking it. Now I knew more about this village than I knew about my city.
Bill did not know many things about colleges and cities. But he had travelled a lot in rural areas. He had done so many jobs. Because of his experiences he had started believing in simplicity and laughter. He made me strong.
We left that peaceful scene of greenery and jungle. We started our search of Oliver Lutkins. We could not find him.
|Laying plans||Making plans|
Finally Bill forced a friend of Lutkins to tell us about him. His friend told us that Oliver had gone to his mother’s farmhouse. It was three miles north of New Mullion. We went there making our plans to meet Lutkins.
|Took my skin off||Scolded severely|
Bill said that he knew Oliver’s mother. She is very frightening. Once Bill had taken an iron box to her farm. She scolded me too much because I had not handled it delicately.
Bill said she is about nine feet tall [very tall] and four feet thick [very fat and stout]. And that she can surely shout and abuse a lot. Bill was sure Oliver knew that somebody had been searching for him. So he had gone to his house to hide behind his mother.
Bill said that we shall meet her and talk to her. Bill said that I should allow him to talk to her. You may be good at vocabulary and may have good knowledge of law, but you do not have good training in use of abusive language.
|Carter||One who transports luggage|
|Hackman||Driver of carriage for rent|
We reached the yard of the house. It was not a good farmyard. We saw a very big and happy looking woman. Bill bravely went to her and asked if she remembered him. He said he was Magnuson, the carter and the Hackman. I want to meet your son Oliver.
She very loudly said that she did not know anything about Oliver and she did not want to know. Bill told her to understand that they have listened such things enough number of times. This young man (pointing to the narrator) has come from the court of the city. And we have the legal authority to search every property of Oliver.
Bill talked about me as if I was very important person. The woman was impressed. She went into the kitchen and we went behind her.
|Marched on us||Walked towards us|
|Retreat||To step back, To move back|
She took out an iron rod from the old type of stove and held it in her hand. And she walked towards us. She was shouting and warned us that if we searched anything she would burn us with that hot iron rod. We were frightened and stepped back. She laughed at us.
Bill told in a low voice to go out of there. He feared that she might kill us. When we came out of the farmyard he told that she was smiling and laughing at us.
|Pretty disrespectful||Quite an insulting|
|Peer||Peep, Look secretly|
I agreed that it was an insulting behaviour from the woman. However we searched the house. The house was only one storey high building [Building had only ground floor] Bill went around the building and looked through all the windows.
|Barn||A shed to store grains|
|Stable||A shed to keep animals|
We searched the barn and the stable. We had become quite sure that Lutkins was not there. Now it was the time to catch my afternoon train to city. Bill took me to the station in his hack.
On my journey to the city I was not worried about my failure to find Lutkins. I was thinking about Bill Magnuson. Actually I thought of returning to New Mullion to start my own practice as a lawyer.
|Deep person||Knowledgeable person|
|Richly human||Having excellent human qualities|
I had liked Bill who was a knowledgeable person and had excellent human qualities. I thought I may start liking Fritz, Gustaff and other people of the village. They all were simple, spoke softly and could be wise neighbours.
I imagined an honest and happy life. This life would be away from strictness of universities and legal firms. I was eager for such life. I found a new way of living which could be very good and simple.
Though I did not think much about Lutikins, my office people were serious about finding Lutkins. They all were upset. Next morning the case was coming up in the court and they wanted Lutkins to be present in the court.
|Promising career||Good future career|
They considered me a useless and shameful fool. That morning they considered removing me from the job. My future career as a lawyer would have ended before it had started.
The boss scolded me too much. He told me that I should start a work like digging pits because it does not require use of brain. I was ordered that I should go back to New Mullion to find Lutkins. This time a person from office was coming with me. He had worked with Lutkins earlier.
I felt very sad that one more person was coming with me. Because now I will not be able to again move around with Bill. When train reached the station of New Mullion, Bill was on the platform. He was standing near his cart.
|Tigress woman||Fierce woman, Daring woman|
It was quite strange that the old fierce woman, mother of Lutkins was also standing there. She was laughing with Bill. They were not fighting.
From the train itself I pointed towards Bill. I told my colleague that Bill is a good person. I had spent the full day with him.
My colleague asked if Bill had helped me in finding Lutkins. I replied that he had helped me a lot. My colleagues said he must have helped you because he is himself Lutkins.
|Served the summons||Gave summons|
|Felt hurt||Felt insulted|
I gave summons to Lutkinks. I felt insulted when Lutkins and his mother laughed at me as if I was a child of seven years age.
With lot of kindness they earnestly requested me to come with them to house of their neighbour for a cup of coffee.
Lutkins happily said that he had told his neighbours about me. They are very eager to meet me. Probably they are the only people in the town who had not met you yesterday.