A $500,000 wood and glass chapel will be built by fall at Camp David, the Catoctin Mountains presidential retreat, a White House spokeswoman said yesterday.

The privately funded, 150-seat, octagonal facility was proposed to President Reagan last fall by Kenneth Plummer, a retired area builder.

"As a Boy Scout he used to camp in the area before Shangri-La {later renamed Camp David} was developed. It had long been a dream of his," said Elaine Crispen, Nancy Reagan's press secretary.

Reagan not only approved Plummer's idea, but also made the first contribution -- $1,000 -- to the nonprofit corporation Plummer set up to handle what Crispen called "discreet" fund raising. After Reagan's okay, Crispen said, the secretary of the Navy, which oversees the operation of Camp David, authorized construction.

Plans call for a separate bell tower through which worshipers will enter. The bell will be a ship's bell selected from an as yet undesignated Navy ship. The exact construction site, to be chosen by President and Mrs. Reagan, will be west of Linden Cottage, a guest house for visiting staff and others.

Crispen said that services will be conducted regularly for the president, his family, guests, staff and military troops stationed there. The interfaith services will be conducted by visiting military chaplains and guest civilian clergy.

Nancy Reagan has kept in touch indirectly with former White House aide Michael K. Deaver by sending him "verbal messages" through others and one note, which she wrote after his perjury trial ended with his conviction, her press secretary said yesterday.

Denying published reports that Mrs. Reagan had "severed" relations with the man her husband once considered to be a "surrogate son," Crispen said Mrs. Reagan has sent him "verbal messages of concern.

"Granted, she is not in touch because she was advised by the White House counsel that she should have no direct contact," Crispen said. "But she sent him a note after the trial ended in December, and other people have been in touch with him to relay her caring."

Mrs. Reagan read Deaver's just-published memoir "Behind the Scenes" one recent weekend at Camp David while President Reagan read Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's "Perestroika," according to Crispen.

Of published reports that she was infuriated by what she read, the first ladyreportedly asked Crispen: "What's there to be infuriated about?"

Theold riddle gets a new twist, thanks to the black-and-white-check and read-all-over de'cor in the Front Page, a new restaurant and saloon venture in the Parkville area north of Baltimore run by Washington attorney Tyler S. Abell. Why Baltimore? Where else would you expect the great-great-grandson of Baltimore Sunpapers founder Arunah S. Abell to hang up some of the front pages of the century?

Front pages from the Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post, The New York Times and other major newspapers are everywhere -- on the walls but also at tables where elbows are expected to do a lot of bending a` la H.L. Mencken.

At an opening celebration Sunday night, for which Abell chartered three Front Page Express buses from Washington, media types competed for most unlikely/original/absurd headline award. Evening Sun Managing Editor Jack Lemmon did the judging. The winner: "CBS Sports Hires Mecham" -- referring to both Jimmy (the Greek) Snyder and Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham.

Nancy Reagan had to send her regrets because of a schedule conflict, but you can be sure some of her California pals haven't. Hot-ticket item in Long Beach next month is the intimate little dinner Britain's Duke and Duchess of York are giving aboard HMS Britannia.

Like "Mum" on her visit five years ago, the royal pair will be exploring Reagan country, including a trip to Sunnylands, the Rancho Mirage desert estate of former ambassador to Great Britain Walter Annenberg and his wife Lee. One difference: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip got lunch from the Annenbergs; Fergie and Andy will be house guests.

For the voyage home, their royal highnesses can expect their very own advance copy, courtesy of the author, of "Dance on a Sinking Ship," the forthcoming novel of Michael Kilian, the Washington-based Chicago Tribune columnist.

If that title sounds a little ominous, it should be pointed out that it's not the ship that should worry anyone but its passengers. On Kilian's fictional voyage there is also a royal highness, this one named Edward, along with a bunch of other not-so-fictional folks including Edward's soon-to-be lifetime shipmate Wallis Simpson and Lord and Lady Mountbatten.

St. Martin's Press of New York brings the book out in March but meanwhile it's been bought for an undisclosed sum by the British publisher Sidgwick & Jackson.

Kilian's treatment of that earlier Edward isn't likely to rattle the palace. Less certain is his portrayal of "Uncle Dickie" Mountbatten, a particular favorite of the Windsors. Among London publishers the word of caution was: Anyone who wants to be a "Sir" might think twice before buying.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his wife Susan are the Reagans' first state guests of the year, and after they dine at the White House Thursday night, singer Patti Austin will entertain them in the East Room.

It's Austin's second East Room appearance in less than a year. She was among artists last June in "An Evening of Cole Porter" for the public television series "In Performance at the White House."

Others on Thursday night's guest list are country music singer Larry Gatlin and his wife Janis; University of Chicago President Hanna Gray and her husband Charles; actor Mickey Rooney and his wife Jan; actor and former Baltimore Colt defensive end Bubba Smith; Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Reggie Williams and his wife Marianna; artist Roy Lichtenstein and his wife Dorothy; National Geographic Society President Gilbert M. Grosvenor and his wife Wiley; Washington Opera General Director Martin Feinstein and his wife Bernice; and actress Claire Trevor.

Spokeswoman Elaine Crispen said two special guests will be the Mayo Clinic doctors Nancy Reagan turned to when she underwent a mastectomy last October, Dr. Oliver Beahrs and Dr. Donald McIlrath, who actually performed the surgery.