The novel called The 39 Steps was written by John Buchan, but what I want to rave about today is from the film of the same name by Alfred Hitchcock.
The film doesn't bear all that much resemblance to the book, but it's terrific, all the same.
In fact, this being a blog about words, I only want to rave about one single line from the film. It's one of my very favourite movie lines of all time.
Our hero, Richard Hannay (played by the swoon-inducingly suave Robert Donat) has been picked up at a music hall by a beautiful and mysterious foreign stranger (who claims her name is Annabella Smith, and who is played by Lucie Mannheim).
Annabella Smith is one of the most obviously dodgy people ever to appear on celluloid, but she makes it clear from the outset that she's after two things. Firstly, she needs to be saved from assassination by an international spy ring; and secondly - well, the second thing is something Richard Hannay is prepared to do something about. Because she's hungry.
And what does a romantic hero give a beautiful dangerous stranger whom he's taken back to his flat?
Caviar? Champagne? Pâté de Foie Gras?
Not even close. Hannay, you see, is a straightforward sort of a chap, and no one has bothered to tell him he's in the middle of a spy thriller.
'Can you eat haddock?' he asks.
And then he gets some raw fish out of a meat safe and cooks it for her.
That moment still gives me joy.
And I'm pretty sure it always will.
Word To Use Today, Preferably In A Romantic Context: haddock. This word appeared in the 1300s, but no one's sure where the word came from.