Tuesday, July 26, 2011
The Wit of Nellie Gwin
Ms. Gwin was one of Charles II’s mistresses. Rumor has it that Charles’ last words were, “Let not poor Nellie starve.” Charles II is perhaps the wittiest monarch Great Britain ever had. One of his critics, John Wilmot, wrote of him:
"We have a pretty witty king
Whose word no man relies on
He never said a foolish thing
or ever did a wise one"
Charles responded, "That is very true, for my words are my own, but my acts, my ministers'.”
Apparently, Ms. Gwin’s wit made her a good match for Charles. Popular legend has it that once, when a heckler called her a whore, her coachman attacked the foul-mouthed scalawag and was in the process of giving him a beating when Nellie descended from her carriage and said, “I am a whore, find something else to fight about!” No wonder she got a pension of 1500 pounds after Charles’ death.