The bar scene continues. There are way too many discussable quotes in there to address them all, but there should be ample similar opportunities in the future.
As for the action of the story:
‘ “Friendships,” said [James] Taggart in the tone of an idle abstraction, “are more valuable than gold.” Unexpectedly, he turned to [Paul] Larkin. “Don’t you think so, Paul?” ‘
Paul agrees, being the weak man that he is. Irony abounds, as Paul is ultimately being asked to betray his friendship with Hank Rearden. It is axiomatic that Rand’s heroes say exactly what they mean without exception, and therefore her villains are generally saying the opposite of what they mean, or at least lying about their motives.
It is interesting that Paul has to squash shreds of conscience; he can’t bear to look at Wesley Mouch at one point. Wesley, it is revealed, is Hank’s “man in Washington,” but is apparently really a sock puppet for James, and is about to backstab Hank.
There is talk of the People’s State of Mexico (the entire world has apparently gone communist, with the U.S. on the way) and the San Sebastian Mines. ‘ “Wonderful place, Mexico,” Boyle answered cheerfully. “Very stimulating and thought-provoking. Their food rations are something awful, though. I got sick.” ‘ The mines in question have enormous deposits of copper, and it apparently is the last bit of private property in Mexico. (Orren casually mentions a “Spic” superintendent, but it remains my impression that race is simply not one of Rand’s issues.) Orren angrily denies rumors that it is to be nationalized.
Orren mentions that Taggart Transcontinental service to the mines is terrible, with only one passenger train a day, and that, a wood-burning train. This news bothers James.
The scene ends with the four talking about a “difficult undertaking” ahead. James ends with, ‘ “That’s what has to be known — who makes it possible.” ‘ This is clearly an echo of the question, “Who is John Galt?”