A HAMPSHIRE MOOR. Bv ROSE G. KINGSLEY.

Ah! the freshness of the moor after a shower. Down in the vale the grass is reeking with rain, and a white mist is rising from the steaming ground. But come up the hill and all is changed. The wood-wren is trilling heavenly little cadences in the oak-tree tops on the Mount. The "storm-cock " ' and the blackbird are shouting against each other across the road, beyond the old red-brick farm-house with its tall chimneys on Vass's Hill, where the gnarled oak-roots crawl like huge green snakes down the sandy banks. The nightingale is sobbing out her heart in the dark holly by the roadside. And as we reach the beginning of the moor the sun bursts forth, and turns every oak branch, every holly leaf, every fir bough, every heather twig, into a quivering, shimmering mass of diamonds.

Sentinel over the bog on our right stand three huge Scotch firs. On our left a few poor fields crawl out into the waste—the last remnants of cultivation, hardly richer or more fruitful than the moorland itself. The point where fields end and moor begins is marked outside the crumbly banks of earth by a delicate growth of turf, short, crisp, springy turf—close-cropped by the wandering cow, by the gipsy's donkey—turf unlike any other we have ever seen—turf that, when cut in long strips, rolled up, and carted into gardens, makes the most velvety lawns imaginable: but turf that in its own place is a thousand times more lovely and lovable than in the stateliest garden in the world. It is so close, so sweet, so herby, our moorland turf. The grass is so fine and aromatic, one quite envies the donkey nibbling away at it; though doubtless he, poor fellow, would find the rank grass of the Midlands, the rich hay of the Thames Valley, more satisfying to his appetite. Then such dainty things grow in this moorland turf. After our shower the eye-bright is opening the little yellow eye in its tiny white flower, and twinkling at the sun. The milkworts, blue, white, and pink, have shaken the
rain off their hard, smooth leaves and flowers, like water off the backs of microscopic ducks. The graceful harebell raises her head as the sparkling drops fall from her blue, almost transparent bell, and free the over-weighted hair-like stalk from its unwonted burden. The bird's-foot trefoil lifts claw-shaped yellow and red blossoms from its creeping stem. Only the camomile is the worse for its wetting; for the daisy petals cling sadly together. But as we crush it under foot it gives forth its pungent aromatic odour with double strength to make up for its bedraggled looks. And what shall we say of the wild-thyme? Nay, but a burning hot day suits that best. As one lies on the crisp grass that gives under one with a dry little crushing sound, and buries one's face, regardless of ants and spiders, in a bed of purple thyme, one is
inclined to think that life has nothing better, certainly nothing more freshly fragrant, to give one.

The rain has brought out all savours. The air is a very bouquet of sweetness. The silver birches trooping in dainty procession like dancing nymphs down the sides of the bog, fill the whole atmosphere with that subtle and delicious fragrance they possess while the sap is rising, that emanates not from flower or leaf only, but from the whole tree itself. And from the golden gorse—the king of the moorland—rises a scent of apricots that exceeds all else for richness. It has more the quality of a tropic perfume than of one in our chill northern clime. A noble plant truly is the gorse—the furze, or "fuzz," as we Hampshire folk call it. Save in springtime on a Californian hill-side it is difficult to find a more vivid mass of colour than a sheet of gorse in full bloom. Almost rivalling it in intensity is the broom. Perhaps the colour is as brilliant. Yet it is a slightly colder yellow, wanting the touch of red gold that gives the gorse its strength.
A HAMPSHIRE MOOR.
Bv ROSE G. KINGSLEY.