Madame de Maintenon was the widow of the dramatist Scarron, and first came into relationship with the king as governess to his illegitimate children.
The chevalier de Mere, a man of some literary distinction, who had made her acquaintance at Mme de Neuillant's, discovered her penniless condition, and introduced his "young Indian," as he called her, to Scarron, the famous wit and comic writer, at whose house all the literary society of the day assembled.
Scarron took a fancy to the friendless girl, and offered either to pay for her admission to a convent, or, though he was deformed and an invalid, to marry her himself.
She accepted his offer of marriage, and became Mme Scarron in 1651.
On the death of Scarron, in 1660, Anne of Austria continued his pension to his widow, and even increased it to 2000 livres a year, which enabled her to entertain and frequent the literary society her husband had made her acquainted with; but on the queen-mother's death in 1666 the king refused to continue her pension, and she prepared to leave Paris for Lisbon as lady attendant to the queen of Portugal.
Mme de Montespan did yet more for her, for when, in 1669, her first child by the king was born, Mme Scarron was established with a large income and a large staff of servants at Vaugirard to bring up the king's children in secrecy as they were born.
The king had now many opportunities of seeing Mme Scarron, and, though at first he was prejudiced against her, her even temper contrasted so advantageously with the storms of passion and jealousy exhibited by Mme de Montespan, that she grew steadily in his favour, and had in 1678 the gratification of having her estate at Maintenon raised to a marquisate and herself entitled Mme de Maintenon by the king.
De Boislisle, Paul Scarron et Francoise d'Aubigne d'apres des documents nouveaux (1894); E.
We pass the witty epistles of Scarron and Voiture, to reach those of Boileau, whose epistles, twelve in number, are the classic examples of this form of verse in French literature; they were composed at different dates between 1668 and 1695.