One eveningabout two years after wed come heremy

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happened. One evening—about two years after we'd come here—my husband was going out and I needed our car that night, so he asked me to pick him up after dinner at the restaurant of the railroad station. He did not tell me with whom he was having dinner. When I drove up to the station, I saw him standing outside the restaurant with two men. One of them was young and tall. The other was elderly; he looked very distinguished. I would still recognize those men anywhere; they had the kind of faces one doesn't forget. My husband saw me and left them. They walked away toward the station platform; there was a train coming. My husband pointed after the young man and said, 'Did you see him? That's the boy I told you about.1 'The one who's the great maker of motors?' The one who was.' " "And he told you nothing else?" "Nothing else. This was nine years ago. Last spring, I went to visit my brother who lives in Cheyenne. One afternoon, he took the family out for a long drive. We went up into pretty wild country, high in the Rockies, and we stopped at a roadside diner. There was a distinguished, gray-haired man behind the counter. I kept staring at him while he fixed our sandwiches and coffee, because I knew that I had seen his face before, but could not remember where. We drove on, we were miles away from the diner, when I remembered. You'd better go there. It's on Route 86, in the mountains, west of Cheyenne, near a small industrial settlement by the Lennox Copper Foundry. It seems strange, but I'm certain of it: the cook in that diner is the man I saw at the railroad station with my husband's young idol." The diner stood on the summit of a long, hard climb. Its glass walls spread a coat of polish over the view of rocks and pines descending in broken ledges to the sunset. It was dark below, but an even, glowing light still remained in the diner, as in a small pool left behind by a receding tide. Dagny sat at the end of the counter, eating a hamburger sandwich. It was the best-cooked food she had ever tasted, the product of simple ingredients and of an unusual skill. Two workers were finishing their dinner; she was waiting for them to depart. She studied the man behind the counter. He was slender and tall; he had an air of distinction that belonged in an ancient castle or in the inner office of a bank; but his peculiar quality came from the fact that he made the distinction seem appropriate here, behind the counter of a diner. He wore a cook's white jacket as if it were a full-dress suit. There was an expert
competence in his manner of working; his movements were easy, intelligently economical. He had a lean face and gray hair that blended in tone with the cold blue of his eyes; somewhere beyond his look of courteous sternness, there was a note of humor, so faint that it vanished if one tried to discern it.

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