Books: The Darling Strumpet

NELL GWYN: ROYAL MISTRESS (309 pp.) John H. Wilson—Pellegrini & Cudahy ($4).

One summer's morning in 1669, Queen Catherine of England popped so inconsiderately into the bedchamber of her spouse, Charles II, that there was scarcely time for Nell Gwyn to pop out of the merry monarch's bed and slip behind the arras. The moment the good queen spied Nell's dainty slipper on the floor, she tumbled to the situation, of course, and delicately repaired her breach of court etiquette with a hasty exit and a solicitous hope that the lady might not "take...

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