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they shaped as commercialism and competition, silk hats, suburban
morals, the sweating system, and the subjection of women. So far the
thing was acceptable enough. But over against the world Miss Miniver
assembled a small but energetic minority, the Children of Light--people
she described as "being in the van," or "altogether in the van," about
whom Ann Veronica's mind was disposed to be more sceptical.
Everything, Miss Miniver said, was "working up," everything was "coming
on"--the Higher Thought, the Simple Life, Socialism, Humanitarianism, it
was all the same really. She loved to be there, taking part in it all,
breathing it, being it. Hitherto in the world's history there had been
precursors of this Progress at great intervals, voices that had spoken
and ceased, but now it was all coming on together in a rush. She
mentioned, with familiar respect, Christ and Buddha and Shelley and
Nietzsche and Plato. Pioneers all of them. Such names shone brightly in
the darkness, with black spaces of unilluminated emptiness about them,
as stars shine in the night; but now--now it was different; now it was
dawn--the real dawn.
"The women are taking it up," said Miss Miniver; "the women and the
common people, all pressing forward, all roused."
Ann Veronica listened with her eyes on the fire.
"Everybody is taking it up," said Miss Miniver. "YOU had to come in. You
couldn't help it. Something drew you. Something draws everybody. From
suburbs, from country towns--everywhere. I see all the Movements. As
far as I can, I belong to them all. I keep my finger on the pulse of
Ann Veronica said nothing.
"The dawn!" said Miss Miniver, with her glasses reflecting the fire like
pools of blood-red flame.
"I came to London," said Ann Veronica, "rather because of my own
difficulty. I don't know that I understand altogether."
"Of course you don't," said Miss Miniver, gesticulating triumphantly
with her thin hand and thinner wrist, and patting Ann Veronica's knee.
"Of course you don't. That's the wonder of it. But you will, you
will. You must let me take you to things--to meetings and things, to
conferences and talks. Then you will begin to see. You will begin to see
it all opening out. I am up to the ears in it all--every moment I can
spare. I throw up work--everything! I just teach in one school, one good
school, three days a week. All the rest--Movements! I can live now on
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