Bayard Sartoris I

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Bayard Sartoris I
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Sartoris, Bayard I
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This is the first of the four 'Bayards' on the Sartoris family tree. When Colonel John Sartoris' sister Virginia (Aunt Jenny) Du Pre comes to Yoknapatawpha from Carolina, she brings with her the story she loves to tell the younger members of her family about her bother Bayard's death in the Civil War. To her, at least, and in these stories, this Bayard is an incredibly romantic figure, likened to "Richard First . . . before he went crusading" (11). During the Civil War he is Gen. J.E.B. Stuart's dashing aide-de-camp who is killed when he rides alone into a Union camp to disprove the assertion that "No gentleman has any business in this war" (17). There is nothing particularly glamorous about the actual fact of his death: he is shot in the back by an unnamed Union cook. But in Jenny's tellings the event becomes "a gallant and finely tragical focal-point to which the history of the race had been raised" (10) - and ultimately, in the way it surrounds the name and legend of "Sartoris" with similarly grandiloquent rhetoric, the novel seems to support Jenny's myth-making.