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Os de Saisset: Isabel (parte I)

Updated: Dec 15, 2022

Uma história de amor, tragédia e solidariedade

Isabel de Saisset, ou “Belle,” como era carinhosamente chamada pelos pais e irmãos, nasceu em 24 de março de 1876. Era a filha caçula de Pedro e neta mais nova do imperador do Brasil D. Pedro I. Pode ter sido assim batizada em homenagem à prima princesa, filha de D. Pedro II, com quem nunca teve contato.


A menina, xodó da família, gostava de brincar no rancho com os animais e achava San Jose o melhor lugar para estar. Mesmo quando recebia cartas do irmão mais velho, contando sobre as novidades da efervescente Paris, respondia com um sonoro “não troco San Jose. Aqui tem de tudo também!”.


Assim como os irmãos, aprendeu o francês. Aos 10 anos, tinha a preocupação de expressar-se corretamente no idioma natal de seu pai. “No ano que vem escreverei uma carta bem mais longa”, promete ela aos pais, em 1886.


Quando Belle já era adulta, em 1904, sua mãe recebeu uma carta bastante simpática. Um parente da França contava que havia se mudado para a Califórnia e manifestava seu interesse em visitá-los. Os de Saisset jamais tinham ouvido falar de Jacques de Peretti de la Rocca, o primo conde que agora era vice-cônsul do seu país, em São Francisco.


Tratava-se de um neto de Marguerite Saisset, aquela irmã de Pierre, que morou no Rio de Janeiro, na primeira metade do século XIX. Marguerite cortou os laços com Clémence, devido ao caso da cunhada com D. Pedro I, e nunca a perdoou pela morte do irmão. Pierre morreu de febre amarela em 1852, sozinho, em casa, na Rua da Quitanda. Pedro e Ernest cresceram sem contato com esse braço da família.

Mas o primo Jacques foi muito bem recebido em San Jose, e passou a visitar os parentes com uma certa frequência. Era o fim de uma rusga familiar, que durou mais de 50 anos.


O rapaz passou a ser visto regularmente na companhia de Isabel e de sua irmã Henriette, até que um jornal local publicou uma notinha na coluna social, dizendo que Henriette estaria experimentando vestidos de noiva. O verdadeiro casal, então, resolveu se apresentar. A namorada de Jacques era, na verdade, a bela Isabel de Saisset.


Todas as imagens de Isabel de Saisset pertencem ao Smith-Layton Archives, Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History



The de Saisset: Isabel (Part I)


A story of love, tragedy and solidarity


Isabel de Saisset, or Belle, as she was affectionately called by her parents and siblings, was born on March 24, 1876. She was the youngest daughter of Pedro de Saisset and the youngest granddaughter of Emperor D. Pedro I of Brazil. She may have been named after a cousin princess, daughter of D. Pedro II, with whom she never had contact.


Belle was the family's darling, liked to play on the ranch with the animals and thought of San Jose as the best place to be. When she received letters from her older brother, telling her about the latest news in effervescent Paris, she would respond with a resounding “I wouldn’t change San Jose for it. We have everything here too!”.


Like her brothers and sister, she learned French. At the age of 10, she was concerned about expressing herself correctly in her father's native language. “Next year I will write a much longer letter,” she promises her parents in 1886.


When Belle was an adult, in 1904, her mother received an intriguing letter. A relative from France wrote her that he had moved to California and expressed his interest in visiting them. The de Saisset family had never heard of Jacques de Peretti de la Rocca, the cousin Count who was now serving in San Francisco as vice consul to France.


He was the grandson of Marguerite Saisset, one of Pierre’s sisters who lived in Rio de Janeiro in the first half of the 19th century. Marguerite cut ties with Clémence, due to her sister-in-law's affair with D. Pedro I, and never forgave her after her brother's death. Pierre died of yellow fever in 1852, alone at home in Brazil. Pedro and Ernest grew up without any contact with this side of the family.


But cousin Jacques was very welcome in San Jose and began to visit the newly acquainted relatives with some frequency. It was the end of a family rift that lasted more than 50 years.


Jacques was regularly seen in the company of Isabel and her elder sister Henriette, until a local newspaper published a little note in the social column suggesting that Henriette would be trying on wedding dresses. The real couple then decided to introduce themselves. Jacques' girlfriend was actually the beautiful Isabel de Saisset.


Images of Isabel de Saisset are courtesy of the Sourisseau Academy.

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