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Full text of "The Brontes"

^O                       THE   BRONTES
and revolutionary changes which from time to
time played havoc with Zamorna's fate.   Douro
was originally married to Marian Hume, a simple,
lovely maiden of humble birth.    The marriage
had taken place despite the mad jealousy of Lady
Zenobia Ellrington,  " the prima donna of the
Anglian court, the most learned woman of her
age, the modern Cleopatra, the Verdopolitan de
Stael," whose great mind had been temporarily
unhinged by her passion for the Marquis.    De-
feated in her schemes for frustrating the marriage,
Lady Zenobia marries Percy, Earl of Northan-
gerland and dangles her nobly-born stepdaughter,
Mary Percy, before the roving eyes of Douro, who
abandons   Marian,   who   dies,   broken-hearted.
Douro with  Percy's unscrupulous   aid has de-
manded and received three of the richest provinces
in the Confederacy in full sovereignty, and as he
assumes the ducal, royal and imperial titles in
quick succession, he takes on changes in char-
acter which make him in the end a compound
of oriental despot, Napoleon and Byron.   Percy,
now Prime Minister of the new nation, is, how-
ever, too ambitious to be loyal.    He instigates
opposition  to  and  criticism  of Zamorna :  the
Press and Parliament rock with dissensions and
crises.   To bring Percy to heel, Zamorna threatens
to banish his wife, the only person in the world
whom her father, Percy, loves.    Percy launches
civil war and foreign invasion ; Adrianopolis is
desolated, the country ravaged ;   the Duchess's
heart is broken and Zamorna passes into Napo-
leonic   captivity.     Such,   very   briefly,   is   the