‘For his part, she filled a significant void in his human intercourse (he had been happy when he found the intimacy of their letters was at once transferred to the vocal).’ Further down the page: ‘He had had Emma Lucie promise to keep watch on her … and to take whatever measures were necessary, in his name, should there be the slightest sign of indigency.’ ‘He’ is cavalryman Matthew Hervey, now starring in his sixth Allan Mallinson novel, and he ought to speak better. He is given, after all, to quoting from Shakespeare and Scriptures. Hervey, as the hero of adventure romances is supposed to be, is virtuous, brave, sensitive and loyal. He is also, of course, emotionally torn, imprisoned in the memory of his long-dead bride, but weak — for he is a man! — when confronted by the coquettish wiles of the adulterous Lady Katherine Greville and the maidenly charms of Isabella Delgado, fair niece of the bishop of Elvas.