My Adventures as a Spy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 85 pages of information about My Adventures as a Spy.

One of these letters miscarried through having the wrong initial to his name.  It was returned by the Post Office to Burroughs and Wellcome, who on opening it found inside a German letter, enclosing bank-notes in return for services rendered.  This raised suspicion against him.  He was watched, and finally arrested.

He states that a feeling that he was being followed dawned upon him one day, when he noticed in his lodgings that the clothes which he had folded on a chair had been since refolded in a slightly different way while he was out.  With some suspicion, he asked his landlady whether anyone had entered his room, and she, in evident confusion, denied that any stranger could have been there.  Then he suggested that his tailor might have called, and she agreed that it was so.  But when an hour or two later he interviewed his tailor, he, on his part, said he had not been near the place.  Graves consequently deduced that he was being followed.

The knowledge that you are being watched, and you don’t know by whom, gives, I can assure you, a very jumpy feeling—­especially when you know you are guilty.

I can speak feelingly from more than one experience of it, since I have myself been employed on this form of scouting in peace time.


It is generally difficult to find ordinary spies who are also sufficiently imbued with technical knowledge to be of use in gaining naval or military details.  Consequently officers are often employed to obtain such information in peace time as well as in the theatre of action in war.

But with them, and especially with those of Germany, it is not easy to find men who are sufficiently good actors, or who can disguise their appearance so well as to evade suspicion.  Very many of these have visited our shores during the past few years, but they have generally been noticed, watched, and followed, and from the line taken by them in their reconnaissance it has been easy to deduce the kind of operations contemplated in their plans.

I remember the case of a party of these motoring through Kent nominally looking at old Roman ruins.  When they asked a landowner for the exact position of some of these he regretted he had not a map handy on which he could point out their position.  One of the “antiquarians” at once produced a large scale map; but it was not an English map:  it had, for instance, details on it regarding water supply tanks which, though they existed, were not shown on any of our ordnance maps!

In addition to the various branches of spying which I have mentioned, the Germans have also practised commercial espionage on systematic lines.


Young Germans have been often known to serve in British business houses without salary in order to “learn the language”; they took care to learn a good deal more than the language, and picked up many other things about trade methods and secrets which were promptly utilised in their own country.  The importance of commercial spying is that commercial war is all the time at the bottom of Germany’s preparations for military war.

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My Adventures as a Spy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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