English CBSE Class 10 NCERT Footprints without Feet Chapter 8 The Hack Driver Line by Line Explanation and Meaning of Difficult Words



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.

Word Meaning
Magnificent Very big
Briefs Notes, Notices
Serve Deliver
Summon Legal notice to be present
Cheap Ordinary

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.



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.

Word Meaning
Shadowy Unclear, difficult to find
Seek out To find out, Search
Larger Stronger

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.

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.

Word Meaning
Unpleasant Boring, Annoying
Reveal Disclose
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.

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.

Word Meaning
Rejoiced Became happy
Ignored Neglected

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.



When I got to New Mullion, my eager expectations of a sweet and simple country village were severely disappointed.

Word Meaning
Got to Reached
Sweet Nice
Country village Rural area
Severely Badly

When I reached New Mullion my expectation of a nice and simple rural village were badly disappointed.

Its streets were rivers of mud, with rows of wooden shops, either painted a sour brown, or bare of any paint at all.

Word Meaning
Sour Dull

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.

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.

Word Meaning
Agreeable Acceptable, Pleasant
Sight Scene
Delivery man Driver
Cheerful Happy
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.



His working clothes were dirty and well-worn, and he had a friendly manner. You felt at once that he liked people.

Word Meaning
Working clothes Clothes worn while working
At once Immediately

He was wearing dirty and very old clothes. His manners were friendly. Immediately I understood that he liked to talk to 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.

Word Meaning
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.

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?”

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.



“Yes. I want to catch the afternoon train back to the city.” I was very important and secret about it.

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.

“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.”

Word Meaning
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.

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.

Word Meaning
Open Ready to help
Glowed Impressed

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 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.

Word Meaning
Glad Happy
Fare Rent

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 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.

Word Meaning
Task Work

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.

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.

Word Meaning
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.



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.

Word Meaning
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.


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.”

Word Meaning
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 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 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.

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.

Word Meaning
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 earnestly. At the end, he hit me on the shoulder and laughed, “Well, we’ll give Brother Lutkins a little surprise.”

Word Meaning
Earnestly Carefully, Sincerely

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.

“Let’s start, driver.” “Most folks around here call me Bill or Magnuson. My business is called ‘William Magnuson Fancy Carting and Hacking’.”

Word Meaning
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’

“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.”

Word Meaning
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.

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.

Word Meaning
Admire Appreciate

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 led me into Fritz’s. “Have you seen Oliver Lutkins around today? Friend of his looking for him,” said Bill cheerily.

Word Meaning
Cheerily Happily

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.

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.”

Word Meaning
Admitted Accepted
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.

“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.

Word Meaning
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.

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.”

Word Meaning
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 of the customers thought he had seen Lutkins walking down Main Street, this side of the hotel.

One customer said that he had seen Lutkins was walking in Main Street going towards a 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.

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.

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.

Word Meaning
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 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.

Word Meaning
Pursued Followed, Chased
Scarcely Hardly, Barely
Cared Bothered

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.

“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.

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.

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.”

Word Meaning
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 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.

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.

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.

Word Meaning
Firm Organisation, Company

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 cheerful country wisdom was very refreshing to a country boy like myself who was sick of the city.

Word Meaning
Cheerful Happy, Jolly
Sick of Bored

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.

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.

Word Meaning
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.

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.

Word Meaning
Noticed Observed
Minister Priest

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 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.

Word Meaning
Commented Talked
Put on Wear

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.

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 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 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.

Word Meaning
Adventures Experiences

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 meadows and woods, and resumed our search of Oliver Lutkins. We could not find him.

Word Meaning
Meadows Pasture, Greenery
Woods Jungle
Resumed Restarted

We left that peaceful scene of greenery and jungle. We started 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.

Word Meaning
Cornered Forced
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.

“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.

Word Meaning
Terror Fearful, Frightening
Took my skin off Scolded severely
Trunk Iron box

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.”

Word Meaning
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.

“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.”

Word Meaning
Right Authority

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 made me sound very important, and the woman was impressed. She retired into the kitchen and we followed.

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.

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.

Word Meaning
Seized Held,
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.

“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.”

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.

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.

Word Meaning
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.

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.

Word Meaning
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 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.

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.

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?

Word Meaning
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 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.

Word Meaning
Pictured Imagined
Excited Eager

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.

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.

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.

I was a shameful, useless fool. That morning my promising legal career almost came to an end before it had begun.

Word Meaning
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 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.

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 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.

Word Meaning
Prevent Stop
Loafing Moving around

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.

Strangely enough, that old tigress, Lutkins’ mother was there talking and laughing with Bill, not quarrelling at all.

Word Meaning
Tigress woman Fierce woman, Daring woman
Quarrelling Fighting

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 steps I pointed Bill out to my companion and said, “There’s a fine fellow, a real man. I spent the day with him.”

Word Meaning
Companion Associate, Colleague

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.

“He helped you hunt for Oliver Lutkins?” “Yes, he helped me a lot.” “He must have; he’s Lutkins himself.”

Word Meaning
Hunt To find

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.

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.

Word Meaning
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 loving kindness they begged me to go with them to a neighbour’s house for a cup of coffee.

With lot of kindness they earnestly requested me to come with them to house of their neighbour 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.”

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.



Important Links
The Hack Driver – Textbook Q&A The Hack Driver – Extra Q&A
The Necklace – Explanation Bholi – Explanation
The Necklace – Textbook Q&A Bholi – Textbook Q&A
The Necklace – Extra Q&A Bholi – Extra Q&A
Re-arrange Exercises Error Finding Exercises
Active-Passive Rules Gap Filling Exercises
Passages Direct-Indirect Speech Rules
Story Writing Tips Letter Writing




Leave a Reply

error: Content is protected !!