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READING WITH INSIGHT:

When Stephens comes back to the cell he jumps to a conclusion and the whole machinery blindly goes by his assumption without even checking the identity of the injured “McLeery.” Does this show how hasty conjectures prevent one from seeing the obvious? How is the criminal able to predict such negligence?

Answer

We know that every precaution has been taken so that Evans will not escape from the cell. At 11.22 a.m., Stephens has been instructed to escort McLeery to the prison gate. He is asked to make sure that the door is locked on Evans after McLeery has left the cell. He behaves like a woman who can never convinced herself if she has locked the door. She will again go to check it. In the same way Stephens opens the peep-hole and cries “Oh, no ! Christ, no.!” He is perplexed to see a man lying in the chair with blood dripping from the head. Stephens thinks that McLeery has been hit and Evans has made his escape. This assumption leads to another hasty conjectures and none confirms the identity of the injured. In reality Evans throws dust in the eyes of the prison staff and escapes since the injured McLeery is Evans himself. This clearly shows that hasty conjectures often prevent one from seeing the obvious. In case Stephens would have checked the identity of McLeery, the whole police machinery would not have to run like that and the prisoner would not have escaped. The criminals understand the human tendencies and act accordingly. They befool the whole system and plan the crime.