December 28, 1895 [Le Cinématographe Lumière, continued: Le Repas de bébé]

I had heard that this family scene features Auguste Lumière himself with his wife and baby. This is a great comfort, even a promise of what the Cinématographe may offer: After all the comic boxers and serpentine dancers, figures pinned to the frame like specimens—walking down steps, sneezing—we are finally at home. And watching Auguste (the domestic intimacy of the scene allowing me to address him so familiarly) feed his child, attentive, his head tilted paternally (and never toward the camera, all but unconscious of its scrutiny) and offering the baby a biscuit, which he tentatively samples before passing it on politely to his mother, who has been stirring her coffee, filled me suddenly with yearning for my own children across the Atlantic.

Oh, a sentimental reflex to be sure, too easy, I know: But there it was, another delicate filigree on the monument—but not cold stone, nor even fine gold. Just the soft whey-color of baby's porridge, allowing me to cross the ocean and recollect—and even more: see my own, a living memory borrowed with grinning approval from Auguste.


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