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The Hack Driver
By– Sinclair Lewis
DETAILED SUMMARY- The Hack Driver
1.Narrator — a clerk in a Law Firm: The narrator was a junior assistant clerk in a law firm. He did not prepare a legal brief but served the summons. He hated city life. It was full of dirt and violence. He was even considered fleeing to his hometown.
2. 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 a summons on a man called Oliver Lutkins. Oliver was needed in a law case as a witness.
3. 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 a 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
4. 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 Gustaf’s bather shop. They drove to the barbershop. 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.
5. 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.
6. The Narrator Returned Disappointed: The narrator couldn’t trace Oliver Lutkins. He returned disappointed. When he reached his office, the thief 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.
7. 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.
8. Oliver Lutkins makes a mockery of summons: When the summons was 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.
SHORT SUMMARY (2) :
After passing graduation the narrator became a junior assistant clerk in a law firm. His duty was to serve summons to the people regarding the court cases. He had to visit the dirty corners of the city. He hated this unpleasant work.
Once he was asked to go to New Mullion to serve summons to Oliver Lutkins. It was forty miles away from that place. He reached there by train. He hired a hack at the rate of two dollars per hour. The narrator told the hack driver that he wanted to see Oliver Lutkins.
The hack driver himself was the same person whom the narrator was looking for but he did not recognise him. The hack driver told him that his name was Bill or Magnuson and everybody called him Bill. He told the narrator that Lutkins would be playing poker, a game in the back of Fritz’s shop. They went there but could not find Lutkins there. Then they went to Gustaf’s shop. Fritz had told them that Lutkins had gone there for a shave. When they arrived there, they were informed that Lutkins had not come there.
Later they went to Gray’s shop who told them that Lutkins had just gone away five minutes ago to the poolroom. They reached the poolroom. There they were told that Lutkins had come there but he had just bought a packet of cigarettes and gone away. It was I p.m. by then. They were feeling hungry. Bill suggested the narrator that they should enjoy their lunch on Wade’s Hill. Bill got the lunch packed from his wife and they enjoyed it on the hilltop.
While sitting on the hilltop Bill talked about his town’s people in detail. He talked about the minister’s wife, the college students and the lawyer’s wife. The narrator came to know better about the town. Then they got down from the hilltop.
Bill told the narrator that Lutkins would have gone to his mother’s farmhouse three kilometres away in the north. He said that his mother was a terror. He narrated him his experience with Lutkins mother. They reached there and inquired Lutkins’ mother about his whereabouts. She ran after them with an iron rod in her hand. But anyhow they could manage to examine the whole house but could not find him there.
It was nearly time for the narrator to catch the afternoon train, and Bill drove him to the station. On the way to the city, the narrator was worried very little over his failure to find Lutkins. He was busy thinking about Bill Magnuson. He was considering returning to New Mullion to practice law.
When the narrator told the owner of the firm that he could not trace out Lutkins, he got very angry. They were badly in need of Lutkins the next morning. He asked the narrator to return back to New Mullion immediately. He sent another person with the narrator who recognised Lutkins. When they arrived at New Mullion station, Bill was standing at the station near his carriage. The author recognised him as Bill Magnuson but the other man said that it was Oliver Lutkins in tralitv. The narrator was very much surprised. He served his a summons.
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