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La Sabliere, Marguerite De

LA SABLIERE, MARGUERITE DE (c. 1640-1693), friend and patron of La Fontaine, was the wife of Antoine Rambouillet, sieur de la Sabliere (1624-1679), a Protestant financier entrusted with the administration of the royal estates, her maiden name being Marguerite Hessein. She received an excellent education in Latin, mathematics, physics and anatomy from the best scholars of her time, and her house became a meeting-place for poets, scientists and men of letters, no less than for brilliant members of the court of Louis XIV. About 1673 Mme de la Sabliere received into her house La Fontaine, whom for twenty years she relieved of every kind of material anxiety. Another friend and inmate of the house was the traveller and physician Francois Bernier, whose abridgment of the works of Gassendi was written for Mme de la Sabliere. The abb6 Chaulieu and his fellow-poet, Charles Auguste, marquis de La Fare, were among her most intimate associates. La Fare sold his commission in the army to be able to spend his time with her. This liaison, which seems to have been the only serious passion of her life, was broken in 1679. La Fare was seduced from his allegiance, according to Mme de Sevigne by his love of play, but to this must be added a new passion for the actress La Champmesle. Mme de la Sabliere thenceforward gave more and more attention to good works, much of her time being spent in the hospital for incurables. Her husband's death in the same year increased her serious tendencies, and she was presently converted to Roman Catholicism. She died in Paris on the 8th of January 1693.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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