...[F]ireworks had for her a direct and magical appeal. Their attraction was more complex than that of any other form of art. They had pattern and sequence, colour and sound, brilliance and mobility; they had suspense, surprise, and a faint hint of danger; above all, they had the supreme quality of transience, which puts the keenest edge on beauty and makes it touch some spring in the heart which more enduring excellences cannot reach.
A single person is a manageable entity, whom you can either make friends with or leave alone. But half of a married couple is not exactly a whole human being: if the marriage is successful it is something a little more than that; if unsuccessful, a little less. In either case, a fresh complication is added to the already intricate business of friendship: as Clem had once remarked, you might as well try to dance a tarantella with a Siamese twin.
[M]rs. Miniver was beginning to feel more than a little weary of exchanging ideas (especially political ones) and of hearing other people exchange theirs. It's all very well, she reflected, when the ideas have had time to flower, or at least to bud, so that we can pick them judiciously, present them with a bow, and watch them unfold in the warmth of each other's understanding: but there is far too much nowadays of pulling up the wretched little things just to see how they are growing. Half the verbal sprigs we hand each other are nothing but up-ended rootlets, earthy and immature: left longer in the ground they might have come to something, but once they are exposed we seldom manage to replant them. It is largely the fault, no doubt, of the times we live in. Things happen too quickly, crisis follows crisis, the soil of our minds is perpetually disturbed. Each of us, to relieve his feels, broadcasts his own running commentary on the preposterous and bewildering events of the hour: and this, nowadays, is what passes for conversation.
For really it was the refinement of civilized cruelty, this spick, span, and ingenious affair of shining leather and gleaming steel, which hoisted you and tilted you and fitted reassuringly into the small of your back and cupped your head tenderly between padded cushions. It ensured for you a more complete muscular relaxation than any armchair that you could buy for your own home: but it left your tormented nerves without even the solace of a counter-irritant. In the old days the victim's attention had at least been distracted by an ache in the back, a crick in the neck, pins and needles in the legs, and the uneasy tickling of plush under the palm. But now, too efficiently suspended between heaven and earth, you were at liberty to concentrate on hell.