Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Maintenon, Françoise d'Aubigné, Marchioness de

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MAINTENON (mangt-nông), FRANÇOISE D'AUBIGNÉ, MARCHIONESS DE, the second wife of Louis XIV.; born in the prison of Niort, France, Nov. 27, 1635, where her parents were held. On their release they removed to Martinique. After her father's death she was brought up by her aunt, Madame Villette, in the Protestant faith, from which, owing to the interference of her mother, a strict Catholic, she was afterward converted. Subsequently, being left in very reduced circumstances, she married the celebrated poet and novelist Scarron. On his death she became governess of the children of Madame de Montespan. This connection brought her under the notice of the monarch, and in 1679 he changed her name to Maintenon, giving her an estate with that title. She supplanted Montespan and La Chaise, his confessor, having advised the king to sanction his wishes by a secret but formal marriage, it was solemnized in 1685. After her elevation, she lived in a sort of retirement from the world. Louis visited her several times a day, and transacted business with his ministers in her apartments, while she read or otherwise employed herself. Having founded the school of St. Cyr, for the education of poor girls of good family, she retired to it after the death of the king, and there passed the remainder of her life. She died, generally respected, April 15, 1719. Her “Memoirs” and “Correspondence” have been published.