He [Nathaniel Taggart] was a man who had never accepted the creed that others had the right to stop him. He
set his goal and moved toward it, his way as straight as one of his rails. He never sought
any loans, bonds, subsidies, land grants or legislative favors from the government. He
obtained money from the men who owned it, going from door to door—from the
mahogany doors of bankers to the clapboard doors of lonely farmhouses. He never
talked about the public good. He merely told people that they would make big profits on
his railroad, he told them why he expected the profits and he gave his reasons. He had
It was said that Nat Taggart had staked his life on his railroad many times; but once, he
staked more than his life. Desperate for funds, with the construction of his line
suspended, he threw down three flights of stairs a distinguished gentleman who offered
him a loan from the government. Then he pledged his wife as security for a loan from a
millionaire who hated him and admired her beauty. He repaid the loan on time and did
not have to surrender his pledge. The deal had been made with his wife's consent. She
was a great beauty from the noblest family of a southern state, and she had been
disinherited by her family because she eloped with Nat Taggart when he was only a ragged young adventurer.
~ Atlas Shrugged, near the end of chapter 3.