I don’t recall if this quote was from the book or the movie version of The Count of Montecristo but went the old priest in the prison is giving lessons to Dantes, he says of their relative freedom to carry out their projects that the guard’s "neglect is our ally".
This can be a real boon for some projects.
This comes from CNN about a fascinating and neglected house in Shanghai.
Madame Guo, 90, and her daughter Yuwen, 57, descendants of the Guo clan, spend their days alone behind a high wall, in a sprawling, decrepit, historic Shanghai courtyard in the southeast corner of the Old Town. They are the inheritors and last residents of Shu Yin Lou, the oldest house in Shanghai, at 77 Tiandeng Nong.
Shu Yin Lou, “The Secluded Library,” is the remnant of a lavish garden complex built in the 16th century by a scholar called Chen Suoyun. But the decline of the various occupying families’ wealth has seen the complex sold off bit by bit, until all that remains now is dilapidated and decaying.
That’s a far cry from its past as a scholar’s opulent abode. When Chen’s grandsons divided the estate, the library fell to Lu Xixiong, who became one of the most prominent scholars in the Qing dynasty. Lu’s contribution to the ‘Four Treasuries,’ an epical scholastic work, was acknowledged by the Emperor’s personal gift — a painting with his autograph.
In old age, Lu became a hermit, living alone in his vast mansion surrounded by literary treasures. His seclusion gave the courtyard its name.