Reba Rivers

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Reba Rivers
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Rivers, Reba
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"Miss Reba" Rivers - whom Temple in Requiem for a Nun calls "the madam of [a] cat house" in Memphis (111) - appears by name in Sanctuary, The Mansion and The Reivers. She is a colorful character: fat, asthmatic, church-going and hard-drinking, with some pretensions to gentility but no illusions about life. When readers first meet her she is carrying a "rosary" in one hand and a "tankard" of beer in the other (144). In Sanctuary the great love of her life, someone named Mr. Binford, has died, and in tribute to the 11 years they lived together "like two doves" she has named her two dogs Mr. Binford and Miss Reba (255). In her final appearance, in The Reivers, she is twenty years younger, and much warmer. Lucius describes her at first as "a young woman . . . with a kind hard handsome face and hair that was too red" (96). Mr. Binford is still alive; she is hard on him, or at least on his failings, and also a hard drinker, and knows how to exert her authority as a prominent and wealthy woman among the powerful men of Memphis who are also her customers, but in this story she uses that power selflessly. When Mink Snopes describes her in The Mansion, he facetiously describes her appearance as "motherly," "weighing two hundred pounds in a wrapper fasted with safety pins" (80); on Saturday nights she wears "her big yellow diamonds" and an "evening gown" (83).