Cousin Melisandre

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Cousin Melisandre
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Melisandre, Cousin
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The young woman whom Bayard calls "Cousin Melisandre" in the short story with the long title "My Grandmother Millard and General Bedford Forrest and the Battle of Harrykin Creek" is a upper class refugee: she leaves Memphis after it is captured by the Union forces to spend the War at the Sartoris plantation in northern Mississippi. She seems related to Bayard on his mother's (Millard) side, but the only information the story provides about her family is General Forrest's reference to "that uncle or whoever it is that calls himself her guardian" (694). After her marriage at the end of the story she is Melisandre Backus, whose significance in the larger Yoknapatawpha canon is as the ancestor of the woman whom Gavin Stevens marries - also named Melisandre Backus. In this story, however, her role is mainly to provide Faulkner with a way to satirize the affectations of the stereotypical heroine of other writers' Civil War romances.