We had all been warned to appear before the magistrates upon the Thursday; bu_hen the Thursday came there was no occasion for our testimony. A higher Judg_ad taken the matter in hand, and Jefferson Hope had been summoned before _ribunal where strict justice would be meted out to him. On the very nigh_fter his capture the aneurism burst, and he was found in the mornin_tretched upon the floor of the cell, with a placid smile upon his face, a_hough 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 w_hatted 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," I answered.
"What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence," returned m_ompanion, bitterly. "The question is, what can you make people believe tha_ou have done. Never mind," he continued, more brightly, after a pause. "_ould not have missed the investigation for anything. There has been no bette_ase within my recollection. Simple as it was, there were several mos_nstructive 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, tha_ithout any help save a few very ordinary deductions I was able to lay my han_pon 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 _uide rather than a hindrance. In solving a problem of this sort, the gran_hing 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-da_ffairs of life it is more useful to reason forwards, and so the other come_o be neglected. There are fifty who can reason synthetically for one who ca_eason analytically."
"I confess," said I, "that I do not quite follow you."
"I hardly expected that you would. Let me see if I can make it clearer. Mos_eople, if you describe a train of events to them, will tell you what th_esult would be. They can put those events together in their minds, and argu_rom them that something will come to pass. There are few people, however,
who, if you told them a result, would be able to evolve from their own inne_onsciousness what the steps were which led up to that result. This power i_hat I mean when I talk of reasoning backwards, or analytically."
"I understand," said I.
"Now this was a case in which you were given the result and had to fin_verything else for yourself. Now let me endeavour to show you the differen_teps in my reasoning. To begin at the beginning. I approached the house, a_ou know, on foot, and with my mind entirely free from all impressions. _aturally began by examining the roadway, and there, as I have alread_xplained to you, I saw clearly the marks of a cab, which, I ascertained b_nquiry, must have been there during the night. I satisfied myself that it wa_ cab and not a private carriage by the narrow gauge of the wheels. Th_rdinary London growler is considerably less wide than a gentleman's brougham.
"This was the first point gained. I then walked slowly down the garden path,
which happened to be composed of a clay soil, peculiarly suitable for takin_mpressions. No doubt it appeared to you to be a mere trampled line of slush,
but to my trained eyes every mark upon its surface had a meaning. There is n_ranch of detective science which is so important and so much neglected as th_rt of tracing footsteps. Happily, I have always laid great stress upon it,
and much practice has made it second nature to me. I saw the heavy footmark_f the constables, but I saw also the track of the two men who had firs_assed through the garden. It was easy to tell that they had been before th_thers, because in places their marks had been entirely obliterated by th_thers coming upon the top of them. In this way my second link was formed,
which told me that the nocturnal visitors were two in number, one remarkabl_or his height (as I calculated from the length of his stride), and the othe_ashionably dressed, to judge from the small and elegant impression left b_is boots.
"On entering the house this last inference was confirmed. My well-booted ma_ay before me. The tall one, then, had done the murder, if murder there was.
There was no wound upon the dead man's person, but the agitated expressio_pon his face assured me that he had foreseen his fate before it came upo_im. Men who die from heart disease, or any sudden natural cause, never by an_hance exhibit agitation upon their features. Having sniffed the dead man'_ips I detected a slightly sour smell, and I came to the conclusion that h_ad had poison forced upon him. Again, I argued that it had been forced upo_im from the hatred and fear expressed upon his face. By the method o_xclusion, I had arrived at this result, for no other hypothesis would mee_he facts. Do not imagine that it was a very unheard of idea. The forcibl_dministration of poison is by no means a new thing in criminal annals. Th_ases of Dolsky in Odessa, and of Leturier in Montpellier, will occur at onc_o any toxicologist.
"And now came the great question as to the reason why. Robbery had not bee_he object of the murder, for nothing was taken. Was it politics, then, or wa_t a woman? That was the question which confronted me. I was inclined from th_irst to the latter supposition. Political assassins are only too glad to d_heir work and to fly. This murder had, on the contrary, been done mos_eliberately, and the perpetrator had left his tracks all over the room,
showing that he had been there all the time. It must have been a privat_rong, and not a political one, which called for such a methodical revenge.
When the inscription was discovered upon the wall I was more inclined tha_ver to my opinion. The thing was too evidently a blind. When the ring wa_ound, however, it settled the question. Clearly the murderer had used it t_emind his victim of some dead or absent woman. It was at this point that _sked Gregson whether he had enquired in his telegram to Cleveland as to an_articular point in Mr. Drebber's former career. He answered, you remember, i_he negative.
"I then proceeded to make a careful examination of the room, which confirme_e in my opinion as to the murderer's height, and furnished me with th_dditional details as to the Trichinopoly cigar and the length of his nails. _ad already come to the conclusion, since there were no signs of a struggle,
that the blood which covered the floor had burst from the murderer's nose i_is excitement. I could perceive that the track of blood coincided with th_rack of his feet. It is seldom that any man, unless he is very full-blooded,
breaks out in this way through emotion, so I hazarded the opinion that th_riminal was probably a robust and ruddy-faced man. Events proved that I ha_udged correctly.
"Having left the house, I proceeded to do what Gregson had neglected. _elegraphed to the head of the police at Cleveland, limiting my enquiry to th_ircumstances connected with the marriage of Enoch Drebber. The answer wa_onclusive. It told me that Drebber had already applied for the protection o_he law against an old rival in love, named Jefferson Hope, and that this sam_ope was at present in Europe. I knew now that I held the clue to the myster_n my hand, and all that remained was to secure the murderer.
"I had already determined in my own mind that the man who had walked into th_ouse with Drebber, was none other than the man who had driven the cab. Th_arks in the road showed me that the horse had wandered on in a way whic_ould have been impossible had there been anyone in charge of it. Where, then,
could the driver be, unless he were inside the house? Again, it is absurd t_uppose that any sane man would carry out a deliberate crime under the ver_yes, as it were, of a third person, who was sure to betray him. Lastly,
supposing one man wished to dog another through London, what better mean_ould he adopt than to turn cabdriver. All these considerations led me to th_rresistible conclusion that Jefferson Hope was to be found among the jarvey_f the Metropolis.
"If he had been one there was no reason to believe that he had ceased to be.
On the contrary, from his point of view, any sudden chance would be likely t_raw attention to himself. He would, probably, for a time at least, continu_o perform his duties. There was no reason to suppose that he was going unde_n assumed name. Why should he change his name in a country where no one kne_is original one? I therefore organized my Street Arab detective corps, an_ent them systematically to every cab proprietor in London until they ferrete_ut the man that I wanted. How well they succeeded, and how quickly I too_dvantage of it, are still fresh in your recollection. The murder o_tangerson was an incident which was entirely unexpected, but which coul_ardly in any case have been prevented. Through it, as you know, I came int_ossession of the pills, the existence of which I had already surmised. Yo_ee the whole thing is a chain of logical sequences without a break or flaw."
"It is wonderful!" I cried. "Your merits should be publicly recognized. Yo_hould publish an account of the case. If you won't, I will for you."
"You may do what you like, Doctor," he answered. "See here!" he continued,
handing a paper over to me, "look at this!"
It was the Echo for the day, and the paragraph to which he pointed was devote_o the case in question.
"The public," it said, "have lost a sensational treat through the sudden deat_f the man Hope, who was suspected of the murder of Mr. Enoch Drebber and o_r. Joseph Stangerson. The details of the case will probably be never know_ow, though we are informed upon good authority that the crime was the resul_f an old standing and romantic feud, in which love and Mormonism bore a part.
It seems that both the victims belonged, in their younger days, to the Latte_ay Saints, and Hope, the deceased prisoner, hails also from Salt Lake City.
If the case has had no other effect, it, at least, brings out in the mos_triking manner the efficiency of our detective police force, and will serv_s a lesson to all foreigners that they will do wisely to settle their feud_t home, and not to carry them on to British soil. It is an open secret tha_he credit of this smart capture belongs entirely to the well-known Scotlan_ard officials, Messrs. Lestrade and Gregson. The man was apprehended, i_ppears, in the rooms of a certain Mr. Sherlock Holmes, who has himself, as a_mateur, shown some talent in the detective line, and who, with suc_nstructors, may hope in time to attain to some degree of their skill. It i_xpected that a testimonial of some sort will be presented to the two officer_s a fitting recognition of their services."
"Didn't I tell you so when we started?" cried Sherlock Holmes with a laugh.
"That's the result of all our Study in Scarlet: to get them a testimonial!"
"Never mind," I answered, "I have all the facts in my journal, and the publi_hall know them. In the meantime you must make yourself contented by th_onsciousness of success, like the Roman miser —
"'Populus me sibilat, at mihi plaudo Ipse domi simul ac nummos contemplar i_rca.'"