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What the heart of a woman can endure is evident in the life of Bull Robinson's wife. Aware soon after her marriage that she is condemned to endure the brutalities of a bestial foundryman, she puts up with his actions because she has taken him for better or worse. The birth of their daughter Lily makes very little difference, her only consolation being the noble friendship of Bob Brown whose compassion goes so far as to shield her and advance the interests of her husband for more than seventeen years. Lily, now grown, is attracted to young engineer Harry Dunton, although her father favors a young foundry hand for his daughter. When Dunton invites Lily on a date, she and her mother scrape together their savings in order to purchase the girl a new dress, only to have her father forbid her to wear it. Lily, angered, accuses Bull of not being her father, an accusation which arouses his suspicions regarding Bob Brown's devotion to the Robinson family. Tormented by his jealousy, Bull attacks Brown and is badly worsted in a fierce struggle. He staggers home to be cared for by his wife and daughter, causing him to finally realize that he has given them little in return for their long years of devotion.