Her attention wandered. She had heard it all before. I, I, I—he went on. It was like a vulture’s beak pecking, or a vacuum-cleaner sucking, or a telephone bell ringing. I, I, I. But he couldn’t help it, not with that nerve-drawn egotist’s face, she thought, glancing at him. He could not free himself, could not detach himself. He was bound on the wheel with tight iron hoops. He had to expose, had to exhibit. But why let him? she thought, as he went on talking. For what do I care about his “I, I, I”? Or his poetry? Let me shake him off then, she said to herself, feeling like a person whose blood has been sucked, leaving all the nerve-centres pale. She paused. He noted her lack of sympathy. He thought her stupid, she supposed.
“I’m tired,” she apologised. “I’ve been up all night,” she explained. “I’m a doctor—”
The fire went out of his face when she said “I.” That’s done it—now he’ll go, she thought. He can’t be “you”—he must be “I.” She smiled. For up he got and off he went.