Shortly after their wedding anniversary celebration (p. 152 in my edition), Hank Reardon recalls Lillian coming down from New York on her own initiative to see his Mills:
[Hank] remembered the day when Lillian came from New York to his office, of her own sudden choice, and asked him to take her through his mills. He heard a soft, low, breathless tone - the tone of admiration - growing in her voice, as she questioned him about his work and looked at the place around her. He looked at her graceful figure moving against the bursts of furnace flame, and at the light swift steps of her high heels stumbling through drifts of slag, as she walked resolutely by his side. The look in her eyes, when she watched a heat of steel being poured, was like his own feeling for it made visible to him. When her eyes moved up to his face, he saw the same look, but intensified to a degree that seemed to make her helpless and silent. It was at dinner, that evening, that he asked her to marry him.
Why did she react that way to seeing the Mills? Why did intensifying it "seem to make her helpless and silent"? Admittedly, she never could've matched his genius (a fact that she was well aware of), but then again, neither could Eddie Willers. Eddie Willers openly admitted that he couldn't match Dagney or Hank Reardon's talent, and yet he's a thoroughly moral character. Why is it that Eddie's respect for talent make him moral, and yet Lillian's (apparent) admiration of the Mills made her seem "helpless and silent"? Why did she react that way to the Mills in the first place, and why didn't she continue to express admiration for the Mills later in the book?