A woman of French society, inspired by motherly love to write letters that captured her time, Madame Marie de Sevigne (1626–1696) was born Marie de Rabutin-Chantal on this day in Paris.
"The desire to be singular and to astonish by ways out of the common seem to me to be the source of many virtues," she said.
Following the death of her husband in a duel, she raised her two children alone. Her elder son married, then her beloved daughter in 1669, leaving Madame de Sevigne alone.
To curb her loneliness, she wrote letters to her daughter. About 1,700 over the span of seven years. With detailed words, she captured a vibrant portrait of day-to-day aristocratic life in the times of Louis XIV. She wrote with love, longing, and freedom, for her daughter's eyes only.
She wrote, "It is sometimes best to slip over thoughts and not go to the bottom of them."
Called "a flower among thorns," she was praised and admired for her life and the legacy in words she left for those who followed her. Her letters first appeared posthumously in 1725.
"The heart has no wrinkles," she said.
A good book is a flower clutched in your hand.