This test is weird... and it works.
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
<html>
<head>
  <style>
  .\0000e9 { background-color : lime; }
  </style>
</head>
<body>
<p class="&eacute;">This paragraph should have a green background</p>
</body>
</html>