SEBA Class 10 English Question Answer|Chapter-4| The Hack Driver

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SEBA Class 10 English Question Answer|Chapter-4| The Hack Driver

SEBA Class 10 English Question Answer|Chapter-4| The Hack Driver Notes covers all the exercise questions in Assam Board SEBA Textbooks. The SEBA Class 10 English Question Answer provided here ensures a smooth and easy understanding of all the concepts. Understand the concepts behind every chapter and score well in the board exams.

About the author – Sinclair Lewis

The first American to win a Nobel Prize for Literature, Sinclair Lewis was born on February 7, 1885, in Minnesota. He was a novelist, short story writer, and playwright. Sinclair’s works are known for their insightful and critical views of American capitalism and materialism. He is also known for the strong characterisations of modern working women in his works. Lewis died in Rome on January 10, 1951.


The Hack Driver penned down by Sinclair Lewis is a humorous tal of how an uptight lawyer from the city is taken for a ride by a petty hack driver.

Sent to a village to serve summons on Oliver Lutkins, the young lawyer befriended a hack driver named Bill and spent the entire day riding with him in his carriage, as they searched the village, to try and locate the crafty Oliver Lutkins. But everywhere they went they were met with dejected faces and the information that they had missed Lutkins by moments. Unable to locate Lutkins, the lawyer returned to the city, happy at having made the acquaintance of a jolly helpful fellow like Bill. But the next day as he returned to the village to find Lutkins, he got the shock of his life, when he realised that Bill was none other than Oliver Lutkins himself.

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

 Ans. The lawyer is sent to New Mullion to serve summons on a man called Oliver Lutkins The lawyer expected New Mullion to resemble a sweet, simple country village.

2.Who befriends him? Where does he take him?

Ans. A hack driver named Bill befriends the lawyer. Bill takes the lawyer to all the places inside the village which Lutkins frequented.

3. What does he say about Lotkins?

Ans. Bill says that it was hard to make Lutkins part with money and pay his debts. He also adds that Lutkins was a hard fellow to catch.

1.What more does Bill say about Lutkins and his family? 

Ans. Bill says that he knew Lutkins’ mother and she was a terror. He adds that he had once taken a trunk to her, but she had nearly skinned him alive because she felt that he had not been careful enough with her trunk. He said she was about nine-feet tall and four-feet fat.

           About Lutkins, Bill says that he must have learnt that someone was chasing him, and so could be hiding behind his mother’s skirts.

2.Does the narrator serve the summons that day?

Ans. No, the narrator failed to serve the summons that day

3.Who is Lutkins?

Ans. The hack driver, who posed as.  Bill, was infact Lutkins himself. His witness is needed in a law case.

Textual exercises

1. 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?

Ans. No, initially Bill had no way of knowing that the young lawyer was looking for Lutkins. It was the lawyer who himself told him so.

As Bill himself later says, seeing the lawyer in fancy clothes, Lutkins would be suspicious and would try to avoid him, similarly Bill’s suspicions too must have been aroused. So when he heard the lawyer declare that he was looking for Lutkins, he came up with the plan of fooling the lawyer by taking him around in his hack and in the process make a tidy profit for himself.

2. Lutkins openly takes the lawyer all over the village. How is it 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?

Ans. Lutkins in his own way manipulated and orchestrated all the meetings between the lawyer and the villagers to make sure that no one gave out his secret. In some places, he went in himself and alerted them to the situation before bringing the lawyer up to them, while at other places, he went in and introduced himself and the lawyer, also explaining the lawyer’s purpose of visit, so that the villagers would know that they had to lie about Lutkins. 

Lutkins went into Fritz’s shop and asked him if he had seen Lutkins, also mentioning that the lawyer was looking for him. Similarly he drove to his mother’s bam and gave his introduction as Bill the hack driver before asking about her son. In this way, wherever he went, Lutkins indirectly alerted the villagers of his situation

3. Why do you think Lutkins’ neighbours were anxious tomeet the lawyer? 

Ans. Lutkins neighbous were anxious to meet the lawyer because they wanted to see for themselves the young and gullible man from the city who had been taken for a ride by Lutkins, and spent the whole day with him, without realising that the man he was with was the same man he had come to find in the first place. These neighbours were the few who had missed the chance to meet him on the first day.

4. 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?

Ans. The lawyer would definitely have reconsidered his idea of returning to New Mullion to practice law. Everyone now considered him foolish for having been so easily tricked by Lutkins and it would be embarrassing for him to work there.

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

Ans. Yes, I feel the lawyer was gullible. He could have avoided being taken for a ride if he had taken some initiative to find Lutkins on his own, instead of leaving it to Bill. The lawyer blindly trusted a stranger whom he had met for the first time.

Questions and Answers:

1. Why did the lawyer hate his job? 

Ans. The lawyer was an honours graduate and had got a job as junior assistant clerk in a very good law firm, yet he was not given the job of preparing law briefs; instead he was sent to the sinister areas of the city to look for people and serve them summons. Some of these people were so well built and self-confident that they even beat him up. So, the lawyer hated his job.

2. What were the lawyer’s expectations about How did it differ from reality? 

Ans. The lawyer had expected New Mullion to be a sweet, simple country village.

 In reality, the streets of New Mullion were extremely muddy, and the wooden shops that lined the street were of a very dirty brown colour or had no paint at all. Thus it was nothing like what the lawyer had expected.

3. Who was Oliver Lutkins? Describe him as he appeared when the lawyer first met him? 

Ans. Oliver Lutkins was a villager from New Mullion who was wanted as a witness in connection with a case.

 The lawyer first saw Lutkins when he got down at New Mullion station, though he did not know at that time that it was him. He said, of Lutkins, that the delivery man was the only agreeable sight at the station. He was about forty years old, red-faced, cheerful, and a little fat around the tummy. His working clothes were old and dirty but he had a friendly manner. The lawyer assumed that this man liked people.

4. Who was Magnuson? What was his business called? 

Ans. Bill Magnuson was an alias that Lutkins had adopted to dupe the lawyer.

Bill said that his business was called “William Magnuson Fancy Carting and Hacking’.

5. Which was the first place Bill took the lawyer to?

Ans. The first place that Bill took the lawyer to was Fritz’s shop. 

6. What made Bill think that Latlons had gone over to the Gray’s for a shave?

Ans. Bill reasoned that since Lutkins had exhausted Gustaff’s, he had no option but to go to Gray’s if he wanted a shave.

7.Trace Bill and the lawyer’s journey as they searched for Lutkins?

Ans. Bill and the lawyer started searching for Lutkins from Fritz’s shop where Frite told them that Lutkins might have gone over to Gustaff’s for a shave. Once there, they found that Lutkins had exhausted his credit at Gustaff’s and so Bill reasoned that he must have gone over to Gray’s barber shop. Next they went to Gray’s, but failed to find Lutkins because he had already left for the poolroom. When the duo reached the poolroom, they got to know that Lutkins had not lingered at the place, instead he had left after buying a pack of cigarettes. The continuous search for Lutkins seemed to take a toll on both Bill and the lawyer, and so they decided to take a break for lunch. After lunch, they learnt from a friend of Lutkin’s that he had gone to his mother’s farm. Once there, Lutkins” mother chased them away. Finally, tired and unable to find Latkins, the lawyer boarded the train back to the city,

8. Did Bill and the lawyer manage to find Lutkins? Why/Why / not?

Ans. No, Bill and the lawyer could not find Lutking because Bill himself was Lutkins. Thus wherever they went, Bill warned the villagers about the situation and they all sang his tune, making it impossible for the lawyer to identify him.

9. What did Bill have to say about Latkins as a money borrower?

Aus. Bill told the lawyer that Lutkins was bad at paying off his dues, so if the lawyer had come to collect money from Lutkins it would be hard to make him pay it. Bill added that Lutkins owed him fifty cents too.

10. What made the lawyer tell Bill the purpose of his looking for Lutkins?

Ans. The lawyer had taken a liking to Bill’s open and friendly nature right from the start. It appeared to him that Bill was being very helpful and going out of his way to help him, a stranger, find Lutkins. When Bill told the lawyer that his fancy clothes might make Lutkins suspicious enough to avoid him, and offered to go into the shops himself to see if Lutkins was there, the lawyer was very impressed. Very confident that Bill was genuine in his desire to help him, the lawyer let him on to the real purpose of his looking for Lutkins.

11. Describe what all the lawyer liked about Bill.

 Ans. The lawyer found Bill to be of an agreeable and friendly nature,one who liked people. He also says that Bill was so kind and helpful that he had made the lawyer’s task his own, and this endeared Bill to him. He loved Bill for offering to go into the various shops to look for Lutkins first. All the time that the lawyer rode around the village with Bill, he appreciated his rough country opinions and found him to be very honest. Bill possessed cheerful country wisdom which the lawyer found very refreshing Bill was a very keen observer and was capable of creating imagery with his descriptions so much so that each person of the village seemed to come alive to the lawyer. Though he laughed at people’s foolishness, he also understood them. He had travelled around the country, and though he was quite unaware about city life, his adventures had taught him a philosophy of simplicity and laughter. The lawyer seemed to draw strength from Bill, so impressed was he. He had found Bill deep and richly human. 

12. The lawyer was unable to locate Lutkins. But he ‘scarcely cared’. Why?

Ans. The lawyer had looked for Lutkins all over the village, along with Bill whose carriage he had hired. He had so enjoyed going around with Bill and listening to his dialogues, that he scarcely cared whether he found Lutkins or not.

13. Where did the lawyer suggest he and Bill have lunch and where did Bill finally take him?

Ans. The lawyer suggested that they go to a restaurant for lunch. Bill offered that he would get lunch packed for both of them by his wife, and she would charge the lawyer half a dollar for it. The lawyer agreed and they went up to Wade’s hill and ate there. while enjoying the view of the pastures and the creek.

14. Describe the lawyer’s meeting with Lutkins’ mother.

Ans. When one of Lutkins’ friends said that he would be found at his mother’s farm, the lawyer and Bill went there. Bill approached Lutkins’ mother confidently, introducing himself and then asking about Lutkins. The woman shouted back that she knew nothing. and when informed of the purpose of the lawyer’s visit, the lawyer felt that she was impressed. However the woman went into the kitchen, and pulling out a hot iron from a stove she chased them out. Bill warned that they better leave before she murdered them, and they left after peeping into the house and barn and ensuring that Lutkins indeed was not there.

15. What reaction did the lawyer face when he returned to office without Lutkins?

Ans. When the lawyer returned to office everyone there was very upset with him, as Lutkins was an essential witness for the case which was coming up in court the next day. They called him a shameful, useless fool. The Chief of his office was extremely angry and told him that he would be good at digging ditches. He was sent back to Mullion with someone who had worked with Lutkins.

16. Give a character sketch of the lawyer. 

Ans. The lawyer was young, raw, inexperienced and gullible. He was working as a trainee in a magnificent law firm, and was given the petty job of delivering sermons rather than to preparing legal briefs. Apparently he was weak built and not too confident, because when he went to deliver the summons some of the well-built and confident recipients beat him up. He hated his job, and when he visited Mullion village, the friendly air of the people there and the rural atmosphere appealed to him. His gullibility comes to fore in the case with which he was taken in by Lutkins ruse of posing as Bill, the hack driver, and taking the lawyer all around the village to search for Lutkins, when he himself was the man the lawyer had come to find.

1A letter To God
2Nelson Mandela (A Long
Walk To Freedom)
3Glimpses of India
IITea From Assam
4Madam Rides the Bus
5A Tiger in the Zoo
7The Ball Poem
8The Tale of Custard the Dragon
1The Midnight Visitor
2A Question of Trust
3Footprint without Feet
4The Hack Driver

Reference to the Context:

1. “I even considered fleeing to my hometown.” (i) Who is the speaker?

Ans. The young lawyer is the speaker. 

(ii) Why did the speaker want to flee away to his hometown? 

Ans. The young lawyer wanted to flee to his hometown because he hated his job in the city. The law firm that he worked for sent him to odd places of the town to serve summons to people, rather than make him prepare legal briefs, the job he was qualified for.

(iii) What would he do in his hometown? 

Ans. In his hometown he could start work as a lawyer straight away, without having to go through a training period.

2. “I was glad the fare money would go to this good fellow.” 

(i) Who is making the above statement and where is he? 

Ans. A young lawyer is making the above statement. He is at the village of New Mullion where he has come to serve a summons to Oliver Lutkins.

(ii) What fare money is he talking about? How much fare was paid and at what rate? 

Ans. The lawyer met a delivery man at the station who offered to take him around the village in his hack, to help him look for Oliver Lutkins. For his services the lawyer would have to pay him, and this is the fare money he is talking about. He paid him twelve dollars at the rate of two dollars an hour. 

(iii) Who actually is the ‘good fellow’?

Ans. The ‘good fellow’ is actually Lutkins himself.

3. “I felt that if he had been a policeman, he would have caught Lutkins respectfully, and jailed him with regret.”

(i) Who is the speaker? 

Ans. The young lawyer is the speaker.

(ii) About whom does the speaker make the above comment? Why?

Ans. The young lawyer made the comment about Bill because the way Bill described Lutkins, it was apparent that he admired the man and his expertise at dishonesty.

4. “Yes, he was in here a little while ago. Guess he’s gone over to Gustaff’s to get a shave.”

(i) Who is the speaker?

Ans. The speaker is Fritz.

(ii) Who is he talking about and where is this person when the above words are spoken?

Ans. He is talking about Oliver Lutkins, who is standing before him as Bill Magnuson.

(iii) Is the speaker telling the truth? 

Ans. No, the speaker is lying.

Multiple Choice Questions: 

1. What was Bill’s business called?

  1. William Magnuson Fancy Carting
  2.  Bill’s Hacking and Carriage
  3.  Magnuson and Bill’s Carriage
  4. Bills Fancy Carting and Hacking

Ans. (a) William Magnuson Fancy Carting and Hacking

2. Who was Gustaff?

  1. an assistant at the poolroom at New Mullion 
  2. a hack driver in New Mullion
  3. a barber in New Mullion
  4. Lutkin’s friend

Ans. (c) a barber in New Mullion

3. Who is the writer of the story “The Hack- driver’?

  1. Guy de Maupassant
  2. Sinclair Lewis
  3. Ruskin Bond 
  4. James Herriot

Ans.(b) Sinclair Lewis

4.The word ‘hack’ in context to the story “The Hack Driver’ means a_________

  1. village
  2. driver
  3. to steal
  4.  horse drawn vehicle

Ans. (d) horse drawn vehicle

5. The young man who was duped by Lutkins worked as a ______

  1.  carriage driver
  2.  junior assistant clerk in a law firm
  3. senior lawyer 
  4. barber

Ans. (b) junior assistant clerk in a law firm

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