More Zenda action: the other thing that struck me reading it is how difficult the sexual codes now are to understand. Early on in the book the hero visits an inn and flirts with a lusty wench: there’s a bit of banter on the stairs and the hero says “so I gave her something of no value”. A kiss, thinks Tom. But then he and a friend return to the inn later and there’s much discussion of this girl’s charms and seductive abilities with the hero acting very knowing – perhaps it was more than just a kiss, hmm. One of the villains insults the hero by implying he’s shagged the Princess (who is pledged to his double!) and the hero flushes at a point well-scored, but then later the hero goes into paroxysms of thank-heaven-i-did-not-do-that-to-which-i-was-sore-tempted chestbeating. WHAT IS GOING ON!!! I’m assuming all this stuff would have been transparent to the Victorian reader but it’s baffling to me. At least with modern popular fiction you know that the wild mushroom risotto isn’t some kind of euphemism for bum sex.