Jackrum's grand entrance: "His face was red, but his jacket was redder, and his sergeant's sash was a pure quill of redness, its very essence. The red of dying stars, and dying soldiers."
Shortly afterwards, from the Duchess: "You must invade Borogravia! In the name of sanity, you must go home! The winter is coming, the trusting animals are not fed, old men die of cold, women mourn, the country corrodes... you believed I watched over you, and listened to you ...and so I had to, I had to listen to you, knowing there was no help." The entire speech qualifies, but those are the highlights.
The bit where Polly is speculating about how Wazzer's religious mania got started. I don't remember the exact wording, but she imagines Wazzer being hideously abused at the Girl's Working School... "And then, one day, you'd look up into the only smile you ever saw..." Which would have been the ever-present painting of the Duchess.
Specifically, there's the part when Polly asks Wazzer what she used to do, and Wazzer replies, serenely, "I used to be beaten". Poor girl.
Tonker and Lofty have a bit of this as well.
A bit? Did you read Lofty's backstory? Just thinking about it makes you tear up...
Lofty: (sadly) I would like to eat chocolates in a great big room where the world is a different place.
Lofty's past is so awful that arson counts as heartwarming.
"Yes, a good swipe at head height would kill . . . some mother's son, some sister's brother, some lad who'd followed the drum for a shilling and his first new suit. If only she'd been trained, if only she'd had a few weeks stabbing straw men until she could believe that all men were made of straw "
Someone found Paul a box of colored chalks. You will cry.
...And Jackrum's grand exit. After letting Polly in on the fact that he's a she as well, and pointing out that his long-lost family probably don't want a fat, tobacco-chewing, swearing old woman turning up and claiming to be their grandma, Polly points out they'd probably be thrilled to welcome a legendary and honoured sergeant to the family home. Jackrum later writes to show that he is indeed the benign and respected patriarch of his clan now. It's pretty rare that transgender identity is presented as a Happily Ever After.
Jackrum: Are you crying, Perks? Polly: Well... it's a bit sad, sarge. Jackrum: Oh, I dare say I sobbed a bit too, once in a while.