April 3, 1896 [Démolition d'un mur]

A mundane event: A wall of ten feet or so is toppled by workmen. But the demolition is deeply satisfying, a sight difficult for the little boy in any man to resist—although one of my daughters finds the blowing down of a house of cards endlessly amusing. The wall is thick and solid, and comes down in a single piece, sending up a great cloud of plaster-dust—through which the workmen wave their arms and approach immediately with pickaxes, the dust still billowing.

Not the most significant moment to record, and a small voice inside wondered how the effect would change if someone were placed behind the wall, scurrying away just in time before the structure came down upon him. I want to see more than the scenes afforded by a casual stroll—and I may not be alone: I've heard that at certain showings it is run back-ward, so that the wall "magically" reassembles itself, suddenly more spectacle than sight, another intimation of Wonderland.


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