“In the previous year Christian Thrale, who was then in his twenties, unexpectedly had an evening free from weekend work at a government office. In retrospect it seemed to have been an evening free, also, of himself. He did not often go alone to a concert or anything else of the cultural kind. On your own, you were at the mercy of your responses. Accompanied, on the other hand, you remained in control, made assertive sighs and imposed hypothetical requirements. You could also deliver your opinion, seldom quite favourable, while walking home.
“As to pleasure, he was suspicious of anything that relieved his feelings.”
Shirley Hazzard, Transit of Venus