Footprints Without Feet

The Hack Driver


This story is about a young lawyer who is too innocent. He goes to a village to serve summon to a person called Lutkins. At the railway station he meets a person who identifies himself as Bill. Bill appears to know everyone in the village and promises to search Lutkins for the lawyer.

He takes the lawyer for a ride and dupes him off lots of money. But after a six hour long search, they do not find Lutkins. Next day, when the lawyer goes to the village with one of his colleagues, he discovers that it was Lutkins who posed as Bill on the previous day. Everyone, except the lawyer have a hearty laugh at the predicament of the lawyer.

NCERT Exercise

Question 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?

Answer: Lutkins act of taking the lawyer for a ride clearly indicates that he is a very cunning person. It is his natural behaviour to not disclose his true identity to unknown persons. Moreover, being a cheat as he is it seems his regular practice to dupe people who are newcomers.

Question 2: Lutkins openly takes the lawyer all over the village. How is it that no one lets out the secret? Can you find other such subtle ways in which Lutkins manipulates the tour?

Answer: Lutkin never allows the lawyer to the place where the imaginary Lutkins is supposed to be present at a given time. The way he weaves stories about Lutkin’s vagabond nature and the way he scares the lawyer about Lutkin’s mother are great tools applied by Bill.

Queston 3: Why do you think Lutkins’ neighbours were anxious to meet the lawyer?

Answer: Lutkin’s neighbours were not anxious to meet a person who could be easily duped. They wanted to enjoy the lawyer’s predicament.

Question 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?

Answer: After his second visit the lawyer must have got the shock of his life that how easily he believed Lutkins. He also got a lesson to deal carefully with people. The image of a village with friendly people must have changed in his mind. So there is least chance of him planning to practice law in that village.

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

Answer: The lawyer seems to be a simpleton and inexperienced person. He has yet to come to grips with the way the bad world functions. He could have done his homework better before going to the village. He could have taken a photograph of Lutkins if available. Before relying on Bill he could have cross checked with other people as well. He could have avoided sending Bill alone to search Lutkins.