Eddie brings Dagny a newspaper with a interesting story: turns out Francisco D'Anconia's San Sebastián Mines were totally worthless. How was he not aware of that?
Well, Dagny thinks he was and this was his idea of an elaborate, expensive, and mean practical joke.
She goes to confront him at the Wayne-Falkland Hotel, which is where he's staying while in New York.
Mega Flashback Time! Seriously, it's a long one. If you were wondering how Dagny knew Francisco, be prepared for answers galore.
Turns out Eddie and Dagny had another childhood BFF: Francisco, whom they called Frisco.
The Taggarts and the D'Anconias were old friends, and their kids spent a month together every summer on the Taggart estate.
Francisco doesn't care for James at all and considers the Taggart kids to be Dagny and Eddie.
Francisco has the equivalent of a Nat Taggart in his family, one Sebastián D'Anconia. Sebastián came over from Spain in ye olden days and worked hard for fifteen years to get a copper mine up and running in Argentina. He then sent for his girlfriend, who had waited for him all that time. (Now that's hard-core devotion.)
Frisco is two years older than Dagny. He called her "slug" as a kid, which is a word for a fire in an old locomotive firebox. (Old trains were powered by wood-burning engines, just FYI.)
Every summer the three musketeers had great adventures.
One summer, when he was twelve, Frisco got a job working for Taggart Transcontinental, just for fun. Mrs. Taggart thinks all the kids are weird.
The young Francisco is good at everything, from driving motorboats to doing math.
As the oldest, Frisco often teaches Dagny and Eddie how to do things, like dive off cliffs or hitch rides on trains without getting caught.
He and Eddie and Dagny spend their time building things, taking things apart to see how they work, and bumming rides on Taggart trains for fun.
Frisco and Dagny also spend time planning their futures, and how they'll run awesome businesses some day.
Frisco is such a super genius that he goes off to college at age sixteen. He attends the fictional Patrick Henry University in Cleveland.
There's a growing tension between Frisco and Dagny once they hit their teen years.
James still acts like a wet blanket and is always lecturing Francisco about being arrogant and selfish. We learn that James is attending a fancy-pants school in New York.
When Frisco returns from his first year at college we learn that he's made two good friends. (Lots more on them to come.)
He and Dagny discuss their shared values and decide that working hard and doing your work well is the most important thing in life.
Dagny then says that maybe she'll deliberately get bad grades, though, so that she can try out being popular in school for a change.
Frisco slaps her.
Dagny is actually happy about this, since she realizes she struck a nerve and that Frisco cares about her a lot and doesn't want her to sell herself short. Twisted, Dagny.
Francisco is happy Dagny isn't pressing charges for assault. Just kidding – he actually just thinks Dagny is hard-core and awesome.
Dagny is fifteen that summer. We learn that the following summer she starts working as the Night Operator at the Rockdale Taggart station.
Mrs. Taggart is getting concerned about how weird her daughter is. By age seventeen Dagny has never had a boyfriend and all she seems to care about is engineering and work.
So Mrs. Taggart throws a debutante ball for Dagny, which is a way of introducing her to high society.
We learn that Dagny was named after Nathaniel Taggart's wife. (Interesting tidbit.)
Dagny actually has fun getting primped for the ball, and Mrs. Taggart is pleasantly surprised.
But after the party Dagny is depressed by all the phony people and says she didn't have fun at all.
That summer Francisco returns, and the tension goes up a notch between them.
They have a tennis game that is particularly violent and lasts for hours. It's essentially like extended foreplay.
Dagny wins the match, by the way.
That night Francisco comes to visit Dagny at Rockdale and walks her home after work.
On the way home, they stop in the woods, and Francisco grabs Dagny and kisses her.
They have sex in the woods, and it's the start of a years-long affair.
They continue their romance all summer but keep it a secret, since they know their families will disapprove. They're both very happy together.
Dagny starts college in New York in the fall, and Francisco comes to visit her often. They don't know many details of each other's day-to-day lives though. (Dagny later learns that Francisco had been playing the stock market and bought a copper foundry outside Cleveland while he was still in college.)
The affair continues after Francisco graduates from college, but they still keep it a secret, since they don't want other people disapproving or interfering.
After his father's death, Francisco takes over D'Anconia Copper at age 23.
He starts getting agitated and depressed, though, and tells Dagny there is something seriously wrong with the entire world.
Dagny doesn't see Francisco for three years, but she isn't too bothered by this, since she knows they are working hard for a shared future and she trusts Francisco not to cheat on her.
Three years later Francisco pops up abruptly and is unusually sentimental toward Dagny.
He's acting weird, though. First he tells Dagny not to be surprised at what he might do in the future.
Then he has a mini-freakout and begs her to help him "remain." Dagny doesn't understand what he means.
Francisco tells Dagny that he can't say any more and asks her to let him do his own thing and not to wait for him.
Dagny is very confused.
Soon after this, she starts hearing about Francisco in the gossip papers. He's become a playboy and is having affairs and throwing wild parties and acting like a jerk.
Dagny is heartbroken. She goes to confront him and he brushes her off.
It takes Dagny years to get over Francisco. This all happened ten years ago, and she hasn't had a boyfriend since.
Back to the present. Dagny is going to see Francisco, world's worst ex-boyfriend.
When she gets to Francisco's hotel room, Dagny finds him playing marbles. (How appropriate, since he seems to have lost his. Ba-dum – we'll be here all week, folks!)
Dagny greets Francisco warmly, then curses herself for doing so. (Francisco is apparently just too attractive to resist.)
Dagny tries to find out what's up with the San Sebastián Mine thing, but Francisco won't give her a straight answer.
Finally, she learns that he thinks it's all just a game and that the whole disaster is hilarious. He particularly likes watching James run around like a chicken with its head cut off.
Dagny is upset and thinks back to their love affair. She can't understand how Francisco turned into this irresponsible loser.
She then asks him if Richard Halley wrote a fifth concerto, recalling how they both loved his music back in the day.
Francisco has a mini-freakout. Perhaps he's part of the Richard Halley fan club, too, and thinks his membership will be revoked for not knowing this.
He calms down when he sees that Dagny is just speculating. Then she asks him about the Mrs. Gilbert Vail scandal (see Chapter 4).
Francisco says he never had an affair with her.
Dagny can't figure out what's going on. Why let that lady say all that garbage in the gossip papers and not refute it?
Francisco tries to steer the conversation back to Richard Halley, but Dagny isn't having it. She wants to know what's up with Francisco's wacky behavior.
Francisco confesses that he acted like an irresponsible playboy instead of the super-industrialist that Mexico expected. So it was all a practical joke.
Dagny is horrified that Francisco is deliberately acting this way and setting out to ruin people.
She demands to know why, and Francisco arrogantly tells her that she's not ready to hear his reasons yet. The punk.
Francisco leads Dagny out and cryptically tells her that she has lots of courage and will have enough of it someday. Dagny is confused. So are we.