PART II. The Country of the Saints.
7. CHAPTER VII. THE CONCLUSION.
WE had all been warned to appear before the magistrates
upon the Thursday; but when the Thursday came there was no
occasion for our testimony. A higher Judge had taken the
matter in hand, and Jefferson Hope had been summoned before
a tribunal where strict justice would be meted out to him.
On the very night after his capture the aneurism burst,
and he was found in the morning stretched upon the floor
of the cell, with a placid smile upon his face, as though
he had been able in his dying moments to look back upon
a useful life, and on work well done.
"Gregson and Lestrade will be wild about his death,"
Holmes remarked, as we chatted it over next evening.
"Where will their grand advertisement be now?"
"I don't see that they had very much to do with his capture,"
"What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence,"
returned my companion, bitterly. "The question is, what can
you make people believe that you have done. Never mind,"
he continued, more brightly, after a pause. "I would not have
missed the investigation for anything. There has been no
better case within my recollection. Simple as it was, there
were several most instructive points about it."
"Simple!" I ejaculated.
"Well, really, it can hardly be described as otherwise," said
Sherlock Holmes, smiling at my surprise. "The proof of its
intrinsic simplicity is, that without any help save a few
very ordinary deductions I was able to lay my hand upon the
criminal within three days."
"That is true," said I.
"I have already explained to you that what is out of the
common is usually a guide rather than a hindrance.
In solving a problem of this sort, the grand thing is to be able
to reason backwards. That is a very useful accomplishment,
and a very easy one, but people do not practise it much.
In the every-day affairs of life it is more useful to
reason forwards, and so the other comes to be neglected.
There are fifty who can reason synthetically for one who can