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Necrology of Dom Pedro II (1891)

Necrology of Dom Pedro II (1891)

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In his necrology of Dom Pedro II, a close friend of the French writer George Sand confides many unpublished details about the emperor's life.

  • Necrology of Dom Pedro II by Edmond Planchut.
  • 12 pages.
  • In French.
  • 13.6 cm x 21.2 cm.
  • France, Cannes region, 1891.
  • Excellent condition.
  • Unique piece.


In the 19th century alone, how many kings, powerful emperors, similar to the cedar, as the poet says, saw the sickle fall on their proud heads and were swept away as a result of revolutionary turmoil? (...) Among all these sovereigns with various dispossessed titles, there is certainly one who is an exception, a notable exception: Dom Pedro de Alcântara, the Emperor of Brazil.

Therefore, I will only make a sketch of the prince, and this sketch will describe him as I saw him, when I had the honor of being admitted, during the last winters he spent in France. It was Cannes, of all the winter seasons presented to him, that he loved most. My conviction is that the outlawed nobleman came less to enjoy a mild temperature and the rays of a life-giving sun, than to seek on the horizon of the blue gulf that lies there, a vaporous vision of the bay of Rio de Janeiro (...) .

After a few minutes of conversation with Dom Pedro, in the ballroom of the hotel whose first floor he occupied, we were convinced that what worried him least was - not his empire -, but the lost crown (...). At one of the sessions of the city's literary society, in which he never failed to participate, a talented poet, M. Liegeant found it his duty to give in its presence the history of his political life. The emperor, deeply moved, courteously thanked the speaker, but this return to a past that he tried to forget, affected him greatly: he was even, for a few days, seriously ill. It was said, and when the same society summoned him again, they spoke only of traveling, natural history and archaeology.

In the living room I mentioned (...), the tables, sofas, chairs (...) were covered with newspapers, magazines, novels of the day, photographs and opera scores. There were still books in Arabic, Hebrew, Spanish, English and Portuguese that he translated fluently and that he liked to read some passages of, as soon as the opportunity presented itself.

This emperor was enthusiastic about poetry and began to judge Victor Hugo, who he visited several times in Paris, as the greatest of French poets.

He had a deep antipathy towards novelists and the new realist school. He did not deny them an enormous talent, but, like so many others, he wondered where it was necessary to pretend and see humanity only from its abject sides. He compared them to Walter Scott, Octave Feuillet and especially to George Sand, whom he considered the greatest writer, the most literary genius of the century. And then he quoted me, as he had a prodigious memory, what the illustrious writer wrote (...).

(...) He had told George Sand of his desire to meet and greet her at Berry, at Nohant Castle, where she lived. Dom Pedro's request (...) was unsuccessful. Madame Sand, who had a great simplicity of tastes, feared that her dwelling, more rural than lordly, would not have all the comfort to which she supposed a sovereign was accustomed, and feigned an impediment. When I mentioned to his majesty that I had always been Nohant's host, the Emperor renewed his deep regret for not having met the illustrious writer. Then, upon learning that I had always maintained friendly relations with his two granddaughters, Aurore and Gabrielle, he asked me to tell them, with great insistence, the admiration he had for their illustrious grandmother.

No existence was calmer, better organized, than that of Emperor Dom Pedro de Alcântara. Except for the temporary discomfort I spoke of, we never saw him ill.

Every day, unless the wind was very strong, the Emperor went out (...); He was invariably accompanied by his doctor and his chamberlain. No medal on his jacket (...). He would be driven along the road to Antibes or Frejus, invariably returning along a beautiful promenade that runs along the sea and called La Croisette, (...), with a firm and quick step. When he met a familiar face on his way, he would stop and, after a cordial exchange with a handshake, he would continue his walk until lunch. A part of the afternoon was dedicated to her, Madame Countess of Anjou, on a new car ride.

Evenings, with a few close friends, took place around a pool table in the hotel. He could be invited to an elegant party in one of those wonderful Cannes villas. Miss Ruth Mercier, a watercolorist of immense talent, could invite him to an exhibition of her paintings. Or he would be called to a charity work, a concert, the performance of a new play, Dom Pedro never stopped going. The same happened when a renowned artist came to play at the city's theater. He paid for tickets like a mere mortal and, as such, was very modest, the best seats were not reserved for him. One night he was satisfied with an isolated seat (...), the entrance to which was bristling with irregular gears. More than one spectator was sad, only the Emperor didn't seem to care (...).

Photographers and painters approached him incessantly and, so great was his kindness, he always gave in. He was about fifty years old, really very beautiful. One day, when he was posing for a painter friend of mine, his majesty said to me in a foreign language, so as not to be understood by the artist:

"Which hands is this man painting, see if they look like mine?"

All those hobbies to which he indulged out of kindness, and also out of love for everything that was far or near literature and science, did not prevent him from following with interest what was happening under the leadership of the Institute. It was as he left, barely covered, one of the sessions of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences, of which he was a member, that a shiver gripped him and took him to the grave.

Like previous years, if he had taken up the sunny path of the Cote d'Azur before the first cold of winter, Dom Pedro would still have been one of the most beloved guests. It must be added that the repercussions of the disturbances that once again shook Brazil reached him more quickly in Paris than on a distant beach, and it was undoubtedly what made him postpone his departure for Cannes. He should live there just for the memory and the emptiness he left there. As I write these lines, friends (...) announce to me with a sad surprise that they find less liveliness in the vicinity of Cannes than in the past and, on the charming promenade of the Croisette, a less lively crowd than in previous years.

The absence or departure of a person, even the Emperor of Brazil, certainly cannot be the cause of the emptiness that my friends perceive. However, when every day, at the same time, on the same walk and for years, the eyes have become accustomed to meeting a beloved face, or one of those august characters who, like Dom Pedro, inspire sympathy, it is natural that the habit ceases. , we feel sadness as a great emptiness in the heart.

Edmond Planchut was a journalist and adventurer, a close friend of the brilliant and scandalous French writer George Sand (1804 - 1876) and her daughters. Sand was a pioneering feminist who Dom Pedro II admired, which Princess Isabel disapproved of, as evidenced by a letter from her to her father: "Not a single line for me, and finding time to go visit George Sand, a very talented woman, is true, but also so immoral! (...) No matter how incognito he goes, you always know who Mr. Dom Pedro de Alcântara is, and he must not be, first and foremost, a good Catholic and, therefore, keep him away from you. what is immoral?"

This text is a precious testimony about the emperor of Brazil, written by someone who lived directly with him in Cannes, for months, in the south of France. The emperor's simple tastes and modesty, despite his prestige and immense culture, his admiration for the writers George Sand and Victor Hugo, the pleasure of coming to Cannes for long walks, his longing for Brazil and its people and, Finally, the circumstances of his death and the impact it had on France draw the attention of the reader who holds this exceptional document in their hands.

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