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They took up several obviously wrong people, and they ran their heads very hard against wrong ideas, and persisted in trying to fit the circumstances to the ideas, instead of trying to extract ideas from the circumstances. (16.8)
After Mrs. Joe is attacked, fancy London detectives come down to investigate—and get absolutely nowhere, because they come up with verdicts before investigating the crime more thoroughly, and they try to prove their verdicts. If this is the way the London legal system works, no wonder the city is overrun with criminals.