Issak, a young dock worker in Antwerp at the end of the 19th century, falls in love with Julie, the daughter of a rich industrialist. Despite her parents' efforts to separate the couple, the romance flourishes until Issak, realizing that there can be no long-term outcome, is convinced the only way he can preserve Julie's love eternally is to murder her. He flees Belgium and settles on an isolated mountainside in Snowdonia, Wales. He builds a farmhouse and founds a family with Rachel, a homeless gypsy woman. They have three children. Pieter, the eldest is a restless young man who leaves the farm and becomes infatuated with Bessie, a sensuous girl sold by her alcoholic father to a wealthy shopkeeper. The couple move to Swansea. For a short period, Pieter is employed in the Surveyor's Office but is unmotivated and loses his job. Bessie, who now calls herself Julie, prostitutes herself in the backroom bar of a seedy hotel. When Pieter discovers this, he enlists in the Army and is sent to the front in Belgium, where he is killed in battle. His death seems to illustrate Euripides' statement that "the gods visit the sins of the fathers upon the children."
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