My main question is who dug the passage beneath the statue? This was a great podcast as usual. I think your various theories are present in a subliminal way, I don’t think the author was thinking of all of the class issues, just writing an adventure in a way that he is familiar with. I want to read this story at some point if I can wade through descriptions of his collected stories to find a book it is located in.
Hodgsons bibliograpby on Wikipedia lists this story as his first published work in Royal Magazine in 1904. He most definitely had a word count and his newness is most likely the reason for the not great structure.