The saga of Sir Charles and Harriet Byron proceeds in the fifth volume much in the same vein as those previous, though things definitely begin to go Harrietâ€™s way.
The beginning of the volume sees Sir Charles in Italy, reunited with Clementina and Jeronymo, beginning the mental healing process of the former, and the physical healing process of the latter. Both make significant improvement, and just when Sir Charles seems beyond Harrietâ€™s reach, Clementina makes a resolution that begins to free him up. Sir Charles returns to England, to the dismay of much of the Porretta family, and begins a (very) tentative courtship of Harriet.
Iâ€™m not sure how this book can possibly go on for two more volumes. I have just started the sixth volume, and it appears from the contents that Sir Charles and Harriet will be married by its end. That leaves an entire book for the wrap-up of the Clementina thread (whether by her death, marriage, or sequestering), and other more minor threads: the ultimate fate of Sir Hargrave and Harrietâ€™s other disappointed suitors; the probable marriages, etc. of various friends and family of the couple; possible deaths of various elderly relatives; and the conclusion of a variety of Sir Charlesâ€™s good deeds; most of which I canâ€™t muster interest in.
Finally, an interesting morsel from the book on casinos. Not being particularly interested in gambling, I donâ€™t know the origin of the name or the institution, but came across a footnote in this volume that made me wonder. Here it is, for your contemplation:
â€œThe Casino at Bologna is a fine apartment, illuminated every night, for the entertainment of the gentlemen and ladies of the city, and whomsoever they please to introduce. There are card-tables; and waiters attend with chocolate, coffee, ice. The whole expense is defrayed by twelve men of the first quality, each in turn taking his month.â€