A Private Matter

CLEANLINESS AND GODLINESS (326 pp.) — Reginald Reynolds — Doubleday ($2.75).

Wine, Women, Baths, by art or Nature warm,

Used or abused do men much good or harm. —Sir John Harington.

To keep on the safe side, King John bathed only three times a year (before the principal festivals) and Queen Elizabeth only once a month—"whether she required it or not." Medieval community baths were highly respected ("there could be no better [place] for ladies desiring children," remarked an old chronicler), but the Church was so lukewarm toward cleanliness that, says the author, St. Agnes was canonized for flatly refusing ever to bathe...

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