Philip St-Just Backhouse

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Philip St-Just Backhouse
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Backhouse, Philip St-Just
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"Cousin Philip," as Bayard usually refers to him in "My Grandmother Millard," is a 22-year-old "shavetail" (lieutenant) in General Forrest's Confederate cavalry troop (694). Born a "Backhouse" - a familiar term for a privy or outhouse - he explains why he cannot change the name by telling Granny and Bayard that the Backhouses include men who fought in both the Revolutionary and Mexican Wars, and who ran for Governor of Tennessee. The narrative presents him as both a genuinely heroic gentleman and a caricature of the typical hero of Civil War romances by authors not named Faulkner. Philip thinks the only way to escape the curse of his name is to die nobly in battle, but Granny devises a plan that lets him do that - and marry "that beautiful girl," Melisandre (678, etc. etc.). That marriage is what makes him Bayard's "cousin" in this story, and in the larger Yoknapatawpha canon, an ancestor in turn of the woman Gavin Stevens marries in The Mansion (1960).