The Secret Agent


Joseph Conrad

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Cab Driver Character Analysis

The cabby drives the carriage that takes Winnie’s mother, along with Winnie and Stevie, to her new retirement lodgings. The driver is old and poor with a hook for a hand; his appearance intimidates the women, although he has a good safety record. Stevie is distraught when the driver whips his old, feeble horse during the ride.

Cab Driver Quotes in The Secret Agent

The The Secret Agent quotes below are all either spoken by Cab Driver or refer to Cab Driver. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Anarchy, Terrorism, and Corruption Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of The Secret Agent published in 1907.
Chapter 8 Quotes

On the box, Stevie shut his vacant mouth first, in order to ejaculate earnestly: "Don't."

The driver, holding high the reins twisted around the hook, took no notice. Perhaps he had not heard. Stevie's breast heaved. […]

"You mustn’t," stammered out Stevie violently. "It hurts."

"Mustn't whip," queried the other in a thoughtful whisper, and immediately whipped. He did this, not because his soul was cruel and his heart evil, but because he had to earn his fare. […] But on the bridge there was a commotion. Stevie suddenly proceeded to get down from the box.

Related Characters: Stevie (speaker), Cab Driver (speaker), Mrs. Winnie Verloc, Winnie’s Mother, Mr. Adolf Verloc
Page Number: 125
Explanation and Analysis:

"Poor! Poor!" stammered out Stevie, pushing his hands deeper into his pockets with convulsive sympathy. He could say nothing; for the tenderness to all pain and all misery, the desire to make the horse happy and the cabman happy, had reached the point of a bizarre longing to take them to bed with him. And that, he knew, was impossible. For Stevie was not mad. It was, as it were, a symbolic longing; and at the same time it was very distinct, because springing from experience, the mother of wisdom. […] To be taken into a bed of compassion was the supreme remedy, with the only one disadvantage of being difficult of application on a large scale. And looking at the cabman, Stevie perceived this clearly, because he was reasonable.

Related Characters: Stevie (speaker), Cab Driver, Winnie’s Mother, Mrs. Winnie Verloc
Page Number: 133
Explanation and Analysis:

Mrs Verloc, his only sister, guardian, and protector, could not pretend to such depths of insight. […] And she said placidly:

"Come along, Stevie. You can't help that."

The docile Stevie went along; but now he went along without pride, shamblingly, and muttering half words, and even words that would have been whole if they had not been made up of halves that did not belong to each other. It was as though he had been trying to fit all the words he could remember to his sentiments in order to get some sort of corresponding idea. And, as a matter of fact, he got it at last. He hung back to utter it at once. "Bad world for poor people."

Related Characters: Stevie (speaker), Mrs. Winnie Verloc (speaker), Cab Driver, Mr. Adolf Verloc
Page Number: 136
Explanation and Analysis:
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Cab Driver Character Timeline in The Secret Agent

The timeline below shows where the character Cab Driver appears in The Secret Agent. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 8
Weakness, Vulnerability, and Abuse Theme Icon
...along for the cab ride. The carriage is drawn by an ill horse, and the driver has a hook for a hand. Seeing this, Winnie’s mother draws back, but a constable... (full context)
Weakness, Vulnerability, and Abuse Theme Icon
...After helping his mother with her bags, Stevie comes outside and stands near the cab driver. (full context)
Weakness, Vulnerability, and Abuse Theme Icon
Stevie stares sadly at the thin, drooping horse with uneven ears. Suddenly, the cab driver pokes Stevie in the chest with his hooked hand and says that the horse isn’t... (full context)