The Complete Sherlock Holmes
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to establish the
....courtesy Jock F. McTavish, 275 9853, Calgary. 14 October 1992. PAGE 3"I should like a few more facts before I get so faras a theory ..." 72."I had," said he, "come to an entirely erroneousconclusion which shows, my dear Watson, how dangerousit always is to reason from insufficient data." 35."I simply can't leave that case in this condition.Every instinct that I possess cries out against it.It's wrong - it's all wrong - I'll swear that it'swrong. ... Sit down on this bench, Watson, ... andallow me to lay the evidence before you ..." 55."I'm afraid," said Holmes, smiling, "that all thequeen's horses and all the queen's men cannot avail inthis matter." 81."All is well that ends well," said Holmes. 26.
THINGS OFTEN SEEM INEXPLICABLE
and grotesque an incident is themore carefully it deserves to be examined, and the verypoint which appears to complicate a case is, when dulyconsidered and scientifically handled, the one which ismost likely to elucidate it." 70."This complicates matters," said Gregson. "Heavenknows, they were complicated enough before.""You're sure it doesn't simplify them?" observedHolmes. 7."This is all an insoluble mystery to me," said I."It grows darker instead of clearer.""On the contrary," he answered, "it clears everyinstant. I only require a few missing links to have anentirely connected case." 19."I should have more faith," he said; "I ought toknow by this time that when a fact appears to beopposed to a long train of deductions, it invariablyproves to be capable of bearing some other interpreta-tion." 9."These strange details, far from making the casemore difficult, have really had the effect of making itless so." 10.
THE ART OF REFLECTION
"I think I should like to sit quietly for a fewminutes and think it out." 90."Well now Watson, let us judge the situation bythis new information." 75."Let us see then if we can narrow it down. As Ifocus my mind upon it, it seems rather less impen-etrable." 71."I knew that seclusion and solitude were verynecessary for my friend in those hours of intensemental concentration during which he weighed everyparticle of evidence, constructed alternative theories,balanced one against the other, and made up his mind asto which points were essential and which immaterial."57."All day I turned these facts over in my mind,endeavouring to hit upon some theory which could rec-oncile them all, and to find that line of least resis-tance which my poor friend had declared to be thestarting-point of every investigation. 46."I begin to suspect that this matter may turn outto be much deeper and more subtle than I at firstsupposed. I must reconsider my ideas." 17."Look here Watson," he said when the cloth wascleared; "just sit down in this chair and let me preachto you for a little. I don't know quite what to do, andI should value your advice. Light a cigar and let meexpound." 30."Now Watson," said Holmes, rubbing his hands, "wehave half an hour to ourselves. Let us make good use ofit. My case is, as I have told you, almost complete;but we must not err on the side of overconfidence.Simple as the case seems now, there may be somethingdeeper underlying it.""Simple!" I ejaculated."Surely," said he with something of the air of aclinical professor expounding to his class. 20."Come, come, sir," said Holmes, laughing. "You arelike my friend, Dr. Watson, who has a bad habit oftelling his stories wrong end foremost. Please arrangeyour thoughts and let me know, in their due sequenceexactly what those events are ..." 73."At least we may accept it as a working hypoth-esis." 85.
THE METHOD OF EXCLUSION
"By the method of exclusion, I had arrived at thisresult, for no other hypothesis would meet thefacts."12."Eliminate all other factors, and the one whichremains must be the truth." 14."You will not apply my precept," he said, shakinghis head. "How often have I said to you that when youhave eliminated the impossible, whatever remains,
must be the truth?" 21."It is an old maxim of mine that when you haveexcluded the impossible, whatever remains, howeverimprobable, must be the truth." 37."We must fall back upon the old axiom that when allother contingencies fail, whatever remains, howeverimprobable, must be the truth." 82.
THE RULE OF REASONING BACKWARD
"I have already explained to you that what is outof the common is usually a guide rather than a hin-drance. In solving a problem of this sort, the grandthing is to be able to reason backward. That is a veryuseful accomplishment, and a very easy one, but peopledo not practise it much. In the everyday affairs oflife it is more useful to reason forward, and so theother comes to be neglected. There are fifty who canreason synthetically for one who can reason analyti-cally.""I confess," said I, "that I do not quite followyou.""I hardly expected that you would. Let me see if Ican make it clearer. Most people, if you describe atrain of events to them, will tell you what the resultwould be. They can put those events together in theirminds, and argue from them that something will come topass. There are few people, however, who, if you toldthem a result, would be able to evolve from their owninner consciousness what the steps were which led up tothat result. This power is what I mean when I talk ofreasoning backward, or analytically." 11."... we have been compelled to reason backward from