Helena sternheim was in the humble state of a dependant on the Duke’s family. Her family was tolerably good, but her poverty caused her / to be considered as a menial – and her beauty excited envy. The Duke’s family treated her with contempt and haughtiness; yet all the mortifications she suffered could not extinguish the flame of ambition that, with insatiate fury, burnt in her blood: her restless and impetuous spirit could ill brook the sour curb of opposition and restraint, and the overbearing spirit of her superiors; who, presuming on the fortuitous advantages of rank and fortune, treated her with decisive austerity and conscious authority. Her countenance had an air of thought; her eyes were expressive, and her smile fascinating. Her figure was interesting – her voice spoke to the heart – her gestures were energetic – and when she was affected, her eyes trembled / with tears, and the blush of emotion appeared visible on her features.