Monday, December 19, 2011

Francisco and Dagny

Francisco and Dagny:

That summer, she met him in the woods, in hidden corners by the river, on the floor of an abandoned shack, in the cellar of the house. These were the only times when she learned to feel a sense of beauty—by looking up at old wooden rafters or at the steel plate of an air-conditioning machine that whirred tensely, rhythmically above their heads. She wore slacks or cotton summer dresses, yet she was never so feminine as when she stood beside him, sagging in his arms, abandoning herself to anything he wished, in open acknowledgment of his power to reduce her to helplessness by the pleasure he had the power to give her. He taught her every manner of sensuality he could invent. "Isn't it wonderful that our bodies can give us so much pleasure?" he said to her once, quite simply. They were happy and radiantly innocent. They were both incapable of the conception that joy is sin.

They kept their secret from the knowledge of others, not as a shameful guilt, but as a thing that was immaculately theirs, beyond anyone's right of debate or appraisal. She knew the general doctrine on sex, held by people in one form or another, the doctrine that sex was an ugly weakness of man's lower nature, to be condoned regretfully. She experienced an emotion of chastity that made her shrink not from the desires of her body, but from any contact with the minds who held this doctrine.

That winter, Francisco came to see her in New York, at unpredictable intervals. He would fly down from Cleveland, without warning, twice a week, or he would vanish for months. She would sit on the floor of her room, surrounded by charts and blueprints, she would hear a knock at her door and snap, "I'm busy !" then hear a mocking voice ask, "Are you?" and leap to her feet to throw the door open, to find him standing there. They would go to an apartment he had rented in the city, a small apartment in a quiet neighborhood. "Francisco," she asked him once, in sudden astonishment, "I'm your mistress, am I not?" He laughed. "That's what you are." She felt the pride a woman is supposed to experience at being granted the title of wife.

In the many months of his absence, she never wondered whether he was true to her or not; she knew he was. She knew, even though she was too young to know the reason, that indiscriminate desire and unselective indulgence were possible only to those who regarded sex and themselves as evil.

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, p. 106

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