Page:François-Millet.djvu/109

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JEAN FRANgOIS MILLET

revolutionary reputation against which Millet protested in vain), in spite of the success of the Peasant grafting a Tree at the Universal Exhibition in 1855, trials began again, starvation and bailiffs once more impended. "My heart is all shrouded in black," he writes. " If you knew how dark the future looks to me, and no distant future either ! . . . Suppose I don't succeed in getting my month's rent ! " Sensier had to get up a raffle to send him one hundred francs. In 1857, Millet was so unhappy that the idea of suicide beset him ; and in order to drive away these morbid thoughts, which his religious soul severely condemned, he made a sketch in black chalk representing a painter dead at the foot of his easel, and a woman crying out in terror : " Suicide marks a dishonourable man ! " During these years it was that he produced his finest works : in 1856-57 a series of shepherds : Shepherd in the fold at nighty Shepherd bringing home his flock at sunset, Cowherd standing and leaning on his staff. He had been attracted by that most mysterious of all country figures : the contemplative peasant, the pastor, and by the poetic solitudes of

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