|I’m sure there’s an Enid Blyton book where she says “Eavesdroppers seldom hear any good of themselves”. She was quite against it there, regarding it as dishonest. I think it may have been a St Clare’s book but I’m not sure. I would disagree about the ‘you’ll only hear nasty things about yourself’ thing though; far more likely you’ll hear interesting things about other people!
|I think, also, there is a difference between accidently overhearing something and deliberately setting out to listen to another's conversation.
And after all, in Island, Joey herself is guilty of overhearing a conversation but, as it was completely accidental, she was not considered at fault.
|Margot, turning drowsy in the heart of her bushes, was aroused by the voices of her mother and “Auntie Rosalie” and nearly squeaked with horror! She knew what would happen if they caught her there! She was just preparing to crawl out as noiselessly as she could, when Joey’s voice came clearly to her and the sentence she overheard checked her at once.
“I’m so glad Ted is settling down so well, poor lamb! After being expelled three times you might have expected fireworks. As it is, she seems to have really turned over a new leaf! I’m so very glad!”
“I think she’s settling down nicely,” Rosalie said. “She’s doing steady work and now she seems to be making friends.”
“The two girls of her own age or thereabouts I should have chosen first for the job—Rosamund Lilley and your own Len.”
Her mother’s statement and then Miss Dene’s made Margot forget for the moment that she was eavesdropping. Ted Grantley had been expelled from three schools! This was something she must find out about. It must be attended to at once! With a little chuckle of triumph, her devil came flying back to hug her firmly and assure her that it was her duty to do so. Her victory over him had not discouraged him. He had only been waiting for an opening and here it was!
Margot, her jealously of the friendship between Ted and Len flooding her anew, forgot that she had promised solemnly that she would try to fight him; forgot that she was doing something that not only her family but the whole school would condemn; forgot everything, in fact, except that here seemed to be a handle she could use against the girl who was stealing some of her sister’s affection from her. She wriggled as near to the edge of the rose-garden as she could and listened with all her ears.
|In other words, if the only way you can escape eavesdropping is by plugging your ears and humming, then you're not being underhanded.|
|Alison H wrote:|
|Since the advent of mobile phones, it's amazing the way that some people broadcast all sorts of private details of their lives at the tops of their voices on public transport! You end up knowing an awful lot too much about complete strangers' personal business even though you don't want to .
I've even heard people gossiping loudly about people I know on local buses/trams, because it doesn't seem to occur to them that everyone else on the bus/tram can hear every word they're saying, even though they'd rather not hear someone else's loud conversation .
|That's a good point about Jo's eavesdropping on Annis's relatives - her overhearing was accidental, but she should have kept it to herself, rather than dragging someone else's dirty laundry out as an entertaining story for her friends.
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