Page:A Book of Dartmoor.djvu/354

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even better with heath than with oak-bark, and of it a brilliant yellow dye is produced.

But—ah, me! the heath and the heather!—it is not for the beer produced therefrom, not for the tan, not for the dye, that we love it. Wonderful is the sight of the moorside flushed with pink when the heather is in bloom—it is as though, like a maiden, it had suddenly awoke to the knowledge that it was lovely, and blushed with surprise and pleasure at the discovery.

But how shortlived is the heath!

It lies dead—a warm chocolate-brown, mantling the hills from October till July. Only in the midsummer does it timidly put forth its leaves—its spines rather—and then it flushes again in September. It blooms for about a fortnight, perhaps three weeks, and then subsides into its brown winter sleep. But what browns! what splendours of colour we have when the fern is in its russet decay and the heather is in its velvet sleep!

To him who wanders over the moor, and looks at the flowers at his feet, some day comes the proud felicity of lighting on the white heath—and that found ensures happiness. And I, as I make my congé, hand it to my reader with best wishes for his enjoyment of that region I love best in the world.