Page:François-Millet.djvu/54

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JEAN FRANÇOIS MILLET

spicuously full of idealism? The life of Millet would have satisfied him better; in it, he would have recognised types of some of those men who make the real greatness of a nation and often impart to its doings a character of heroism.

Strong bodily and moral health, absolute purity of conduct, strong religious faith and seriousness of mind distinguished all Millet's relatives. His father, Jean Louis Nicolas, was precentor of the parish church; he had some knowledge of music and conducted the rustic choir. It is curious to notice how nature sometimes tries her hand on the father before she succeeds in evolving the genius that will be realised in the son. Jean Louis Nicolas was a gentle, meditative man who had vague artistic instincts. He tried to model in clay and to carve in wood; he liked to observe animals, plants and people, and it was he who first showed François the beauty of the fields. He transmitted to him too his moral austerity, his chastity of mind and disgust for loose talking and jesting.

Millet's mother, Aimée Henriette Adelaide Henry, called du Perron, belonged to a family

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