Part 2, Chapter 9 Summary
Dagny stands at the window of her apartment with Manhattan Island spread before her; she thinks it looks like a sinking ship. Francisco d’Anconia arrives, which does not surprise her. He no longer has the look of a playboy. He has come to talk to her about the accident. He realizes that he cannot stop her from returning to the railroad, but he still tries. She will stop only when she realizes that her work is in the service of man’s destruction. He reminds her that he is in effect her enemy and that he plans to destroy that which she loves. Dagny asks d’Anconia if he is one of the destroyers. She wonders if it was he who was in Ken Danagger’s office before she came to convince him not to leave. He denies it. He says that the other industrialists who have disappeared are dead to her whether they are still alive or not.
Rearden opens the door using his key. He stops when he sees d’Anconia; he immediately draws a conclusion about his presence there. D’Anconia is also surprised when he realizes that Rearden is sleeping with Dagny. Rearden slaps d’Anconia’s face, knocking him back onto the coffee table. D’Anconia grips the edges of the table to keep himself from striking Rearden. Rearden asks him if he was speaking of Dagny when he said he had only ever loved on woman. D’Anconia admits that he was, and then he leaves. Rearden asks Dagny if d’Anconia was the first man she had slept with. She says he was. Rearden seizes her, throws her onto the couch, and makes love to her in the manner of taking final possession of her.
Later, the apartment’s assistant manager arrives with a special delivery letter that had come while Dagny was gone. She sees it is from Quentin Daniels. She reads it and then rushes for the phone, handing the letter to Rearden. The letter says Daniels is quitting because he is not willing to work in a country where he is considered a slave. He plans on staying at his job as a night watchman until someone tells him it is illegal for him to quit. He will continue with his research on the motor but will not reveal its secret, even to her. Dagny is finally able to reach Daniels and begs him to stay where he is until she can speak with him. He tells her that it is pointless, but he agrees to give her a chance. She leaves to catch the train to Utah that night.