Ninon Or Anne De L'Enclos, a French lady of pleasure, born in Paris, probably May 15, 1616, died there, Oct. 17, 1706. Her father, a gentleman of Touraine, trained her by precept and example to a life of pleasure. She was skilled in accomplishments, and when an orphan at the age of 15 manifested precocious shrewdness in managing her property, which she so disposed of as to speedily double its value. Being beautiful, witty, and fond of cultivated society, she soon became popular in Paris, where she fixed her residence, her favors being sought by many of the most eminent men of the age. She was remarkable f6r being neither avaricious nor extravagant, and, with a constant succession of lovers, appears never to have depended on them for pecuniary aid. Distinguished women courted her society, and Mme, de Lafayette, Mme, de Sully, and Mme. Scarron (afterward De Maintenon) were among her friends and visitors. Christina of Sweden, during her residence in France, was warmly attached to her, and wished her to take a place in her little court, but Ninon preferred independence. She was regarded as a model of .refinement and elegance in her manners.
Although she led a life of pleasure far into old age, she preserved her beauty and fascination almost to the last, and is said to have had lovers for three generations in the family of Se-vigne. In the works of Saint-Evremond, who was one of her lovers, are some letters by her which are the only authentic pieces from her pen, though La coquette vengee (Paris, 1649) and other works are attributed to her. The great Conde, La Rochefoucauld, Villarceaux, and D'Estrees were among her most favored admirers, and the most eminent poets sang her charms. She had two sons. One, the chevalier de la Boissiere, whose paternity could not be determined, rose to distinction in the navy. The other, who received from his father, the marquis de Gersay, the name of Villiers, was the victim of an unhallowed passion for his mother; he had been reared in ignorance of his birth, and at the age of 19 (his mother then being 56), on learning the secret from her lips while urging his love, he blew out his brains. This event, however, made no change in the life of Ninon, who always seemed dead to the instincts of maternal tenderness.