At the end of the evening, the bar was almost empty, with only [I/?] and a very cheerful and pleasant lady I met in the last minutes of the meeting.
What is the correct form in this case?
My assumption would be to say “I”, and also to invert the two subjects, as in the following wrong case, followed by the correct form:
- (*) me and her went to the pub
- she and I went to the pub
If my assumption is correct, I have a different problem. I end up with the phrase:
At the end of the evening, the bar was almost empty, with only a very cheerful and pleasant lady I met in the last minutes of the meeting and I.
As you can see, the need to detail information about the lady pushes the “and I” too far to be reasonably meaningful in the context.
It is as straightforward as this: in English, prepositions never take nominative case (which is what “I” is). Since the pronoun in question is modified by “with” (a preposition), the correct case is definitely accusative “me”.
Furthermore, if two or more phrases are connected with a conjunction (like “me and a pleasant lady”), and all of those are treated as one unit that the preposition modifies (as is the case in your example), then every conjoined element in that unit gets the same case distributed throughout. So, with or without the “pleasant lady”, the pronoun should be “me”.
The use of “myself” is a somewhat recent addition to English. It is likely that this sprang out of people’s generally uneasiness in using “me” in any conjoined phrase, because of learning enough about pronouns to know that “me and John are going to the park” is informal and poor English, but not enough to be sure when “me” is okay to use. So “myself” is a way to avoid using “me”. This avoidance has become common enough that “myself” is on the verge of being a standard alternate way to express this. (But from a linguistic standpoint, it is quite odd!)