“Our English reasons for vaunting our superiority to secrecy and spies are of very modern date.”
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)
I once knew a weaselly fellow who had the habit of looking through other people’s mail and listening under other people’s windows. This was evident because he also had the habit of dropping sly allusions to information he could have acquired in no other way. This was when I was in graduate school and, like most of my fellow students, had my mail sent to the department in order to avoid frequent changes of address. The graduate-student mailboxes were in the graduate student lounge, which this weaselly fellow haunted like a resident specter, and where he rifled through the mail when everyone else was away.
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