February 10, 1896 [Childish Quarrel]

As with Le Repas de bébé, the Lumières provide with Childish Quarrel a glimpse into the smaller details of home life, as two little ones, their bonnets rising above them like Bishops' mitres, engage in miniature combat—well, at least one does, the aggressor who taps and tugs at the other, eliciting "tears, idle tears" of a touching nature. As a father (and softhearted fool) I wanted someone to intervene—even though I know it's all but impossible to forestall such sudden altercations.

The thing elicited more fatherly feeling than it warrants; and I know I'm always too ready to make much of little, but watching this momentary "actuality" I feel we are on the verge of something new, and both its makers and its audience will have to decide how intimately we are required to identify with these animated shadows on the wall.


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