Chapter IV – Part II

March 21, 2016

Back to James, with a headache in his living room, too lazy to find shoes or his watch, or even to remember that he wanted to know what time it was. There’s a woman there, and the description of their relationship makes the lascivious sight Dagny noticed earlier seem somehow better. These guys aren’t even up to lust, let alone love. They copulate merely out of some sense that this is what people do.

Apparently the only things this one, Betty Pope, inherited as a member of “one of the very best families” is a sense of self importance and a condescending attitude. She laments her boring existence, asks Jim to take her to dinner, and chides him that she hears his sister is more the man of the family than he is.

Jim is rushing her out…not allowing her to clip her toenails. She doesn’t mind him coming in to the bathroom to do his business, too, as she twists herself into her clothes. Her day will be empty. He’s got a mission, though. He’s on his way to get Dagny upbraided for ordering that rail. The thought of undermining her progress lifts his mood…maybe he will take Betty out to dinner after all. She doesn’t like Dagny, either.

Then he receives a phone call. The caller, eager to make clear that this isn’t his fault, informs him that his pet San Sebastian line, as well as D’Anconia’s mines, have been nationalized.

Jim is quick to assure the board that his friends in Washington have his back, and that proper compensation will be awarded. He then proceeds to take full credit for Dagny’s reduction of equipment and service, while requesting the heads of a few folks he now blames for building the line.

“The men sat around the long table, listening. They did not think of what they would have to do, but of what they would have to say to the men they represented. Taggart’s speech gave them what they needed.”