As she labors at the effort of cleaning, Mrs. McNab sings an old music hall tune which her voice makes sound like a song about grueling labor and fatigue and sorrow. She had smiled, seeing herself in the mirror, and started singing. Off on the beach, “the mystic, the visionary,” is given the promise of an answer to the questions “what am I? what is this?” while Mrs. McNab continues her life drinking and gossiping.
Mrs. McNab still finds pleasure in a song from her past, even though the brutal meanings of her own life have altered the sound of the original tune. In contrast to the mystic, Mrs. McNab does not ask big questions about the meaning of life but simply lives on through time, experiencing.