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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Festus reappears

Anne travels to the ramshackle farm of Benjamin Derriman to retrieve the newspaper and spends time reading it to him, during which time she is interrupted by the appearance of a man in a soldier's uniform.  Mr. Derriman adopts a "phosphoric pallor" upon realizing the man to be his nephew Festus while Anne tries to continue reading until Festus once again interrupts the proceeding.  His uncle appears pained and fearful of Festus, though the former tries to conceal his true feelings by welcoming his nephew.  Festus greets Anne and tries to strike up a conversation once again with her, but she indirectly asks him to leave so that she may continue reading, which he does.

Despite Festus' desire to talk to Anne, the latter sees him as an interruption to her fulfillment of duties to Mr. Derriman.  Also, despite his Herculean frame, Festus shows concern about having to engage in battle and is particularly disturbed when his uncle points out that he may be out front during a battle as part of the yeoman cavalry.  Though Anne feels uncomfortable with Festus around, the reader gets the first clue that Festus has a romantic interest in Anne; when he leaves his uncle to follow her, he hums "Brighton Camp," a song about a man that goes to war and misses "the girl I left behind."  So far, Anne has not shown she feels the same about him.  It is through music that we find out Festus' feelings for Anne, though he has yet to verbalize those feelings.

The above painting is Interrupted (1880) by Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

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