Grodman was ushered into the conscientious Minister’s study. The doughty chief of the agitation was, perhaps, the one man who could not be denied. As he entered, the Home Secretary’s face seemed lit up with relief. At a sign from his master, the amanuensis who had brought in the last telegram took it back with him into the outer room where he worked. Needless to say not a tithe of the Minister’s correspondence ever came under his own eyes.
“You have a valid reason for troubling me, I suppose, Mr. Grodman?” said the Home Secretary, almost cheerfully. “Of course it is about Mortlake?”
“It is; and I have the best of all reasons.”
“Take a seat. Proceed.”
“Pray do not consider me impertinent, but have you ever given any attention to the science of evidence?”
“How do you mean?” asked the Home Secretary, rather puzzled, adding, with a melancholy smile, “I have had to lately. Of course, I’ve never been a criminal lawyer, like some of my predecessors. But I should hardly speak of it as a science; I look upon it as a question of common-sense.”
“Pardon me, sir. It is the most subtle and difficult of all the sciences. It is, indeed, rather the science of the sciences. What is the whole of Inductive Logic, as laid down, say, by Bacon and Mill, but an attempt to appraise the value of evidence, the said evidence being the trails left by the Creator, so to speak? The Creator has—I say it in all reverence—drawn a myriad red herrings across the track, but the true scientist refuses to be baffled by superficial appearances in detecting the secrets of Nature. The vulgar herd catches at the gross apparent fact, but the man of insight knows that what lies on the surface does lie.”
“Very interesting, Mr. Grodman, but really—”