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Rappaccini's Daughter

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Rappaccini's Daughter - Page Text Content

BC: The Poisonous Daughter

FC: Rappaccini's Daughter A Nathaniel Hawthorne Short Story By: Brenda Rosario

1: Once upon a time there was a young man, named Giovanni Guasconti, who came, from the more southern region of Italy, to pursue his studies at the University of Padua.

2: Giovanni, who had but a very little supply of gold ducats in his pocket, took lodgings in a high and gloomy chamber of an old building, which looked not unworthy to have been the palace of a Padua noble, and which, in fact, exhibited over its entrance the armorial bearings of a family long since extinct.

3: A young stranger, recollected that one of the ancestors of this family, and perhaps an occupant of this very mansion, had been pictured by Dante as a partaker of the immortal agonies of his Inferno. These reminiscences and associations, caused Giovanni to sigh heavily, as he looked around the isolated and ill-furnished apartment.

4: "Signor, cried old dame Lisabetta, "What a sigh was that to come out of a young man's heart! Do you find this old mansion gloomy? For the love of heaven, then, put your head out the window, and you will see as bright sunshine as you have left in Naples."

5: Giovanni did as the old woman advised, but could not quite agree with her that the Lombard sunshine was as cheerful as that of southern Italy. However, it fell upon a garden beneath the window, and expended its fostering influences on a variety of plants, which seemed to have been cultivated with exceeding care.

6: "Does this garden belong to the house?" asked Giovanni. "Heaven forbid, Signor! No, that garden is planted by the own hands of Signor Giacomo Rappaccini, the famous Doctor, who, I warrant him, has been heard of as far as Naples. It is said he distils these plants into medicines that are as potent as a charm. Oftentimes you may see the Signor Doctor at work, and perchance the Signora, his daughter, too, gathering the strange flowers that grow in the garden."

7: As Lisabetta took her departure, Giovanni still found no better occupation than to look down into the garden beneath his window

8: From its appearance, he judged it to be one of those botanic gardens for there was the ruin of marble fountain in the centre, sculptured with rare art, but so wofully shattered that it was impossible to trace the original design. The water, continued to gush and sparkle into the sunbeams as cheerfully as ever. A little gurgling sound ascended to the young man's window, and made him feel as if a fountain were an immortal spirit.

9: While Giovanni stood at the window, he heard a rustling behind a screen of leaves, and became aware that a person was at work in the garden .

11: While plucking away the dead leaves or pruning the too luxuriant growth of the shrubs, defended his hands with a pair of thick gloves. Nor were these his only armor. When, in his walk through the garden, he came to the manificent plant that hung its purple gems beside the marble fountain, he placed a kind of mask over his mouth and nostrils, as if all this beauty did but conceal a deadlier malice. But finding his task still too dangerous, he drew back, removed the mask, and called ludly, but in the infirm voice of a person affected with inward disease: Beatrice---Beatrice!!

12: "Here am I, my father! What would you do?" cried a rich and youthful voice from the window of the opposite house. "Are you in the garden?" "Yes, Beatrice," answered the gardener, "and I need your help."

13: Then emerging from under a sculpture portal the figure of a young girl, arrayed with as much richness of taste as the most splendid of the flowers, beautiful as the day and with a bloom so deep and vivid that one shade more would have been too much. She looked redundant with life, health, and energy.

14: As Beatrice came down the garden-path, it was observable that she handled and inhaled the odor of several of the plants, which her father had most sedulously avoided. "Here, Beatrice," said the latter,"See how many needful offices require to be done to our chief treasure. My life might pay the penalty of approaching it so closely as circumstances demand. I fear, this plant must be consigned to your sole charge."

15: "And gladly will I undertake it," cried again the rich tones of the young lady, as she bent towards the plant, and opened her arms as if to embrace it. "Yes, my sister, my splendor, it shall be Beatrice's task to nurse and serve thee; and thou shalt reward her with thy kissess and perfume breath, which to her is as the breath of life!" She busied herself with such attentions as the plant seemed to require; and Giovanni, at his lofty window, rubbed his eyes, and almost doubted whether it were a girl tending her favorite flower, or one sister performing the duties of affection to another.

16: Night was closing in; Giovanni, closing the lattice, went to his room, and dreamed of a rich flower and beautiful girl.

17: In the light of the morning, Giovanni's first movement on starting from sleep, was to throw open the window, and gaze down into the garden which his dreams had made so fertile of mysteries. It would serve, he said to himself, as a symbolic language, to keep him in communion with Nature.

18: During the day, Giovanni paid his respect to Signor Pietro Baglioni, Professor of Medicine at the University. The Professor kepted Giovanni to dinner and made himself available to conversation. He took the opportunity to mention the name of Doctor Rappaccini but the professor did not respond as he had expected. Eventually, the professor responded to Giovanni. "I, who know the man well, can answer for the truth that he cares infinitely more for science than for mankind. His patients are interesting to him only as subjeccts for some new experiment. Professor Balioni insisted to know why the interest of Doctor Rappaccini. Giovanni mentioned about "He has a daughter." "Aha!" cried the Professor with a laugh. "So the secret is out. Signora Beatrice is admired by many others and is said to have instructed her deeply in his science. She is already qualified to fill a professor's chair."

20: Giovanni returned to his lodgings somewhat heated which caused his brain to swim with fantasies in reference to Doctor Rappaccini and the beautiful Beatirce. On his way, passing by a florist, he bought a fresh bouquet of flowers.

21: Ascending to his chamber, he seated himself near the window, but within the shadow thrown by the depth of the wall, so that he could look down into the garden with little risk of being discovered. Soon as Giovanni had half hoped and feared a figure appeared beneath the antique sculptured portal and came down between the rows of plants appeared Beatrice.

22: Approaching a shrub, she threw open her arms, as with a passionate ardor, and drew its branches into an intimate embrace. "Give me thy breath, my sister," explained Beatrice, "for I am faint with common air! And give me this flower of thine, which I separate with gentlest fingers from the stem, and place it close beside my heart." An inplusive movement of Giovanni drew her eyes to the window. Scarcely knowing what he did, Giovanni threw down the bouquet which he had held in his hand.

23: "Signora," said he, "Here are pure and healthful flowers. Wear them for the sake of Giovanni Guasconti!" "Thanks, Signor," replied Beatrice, with her rich voice. "I accept your gift, and would fain recompense it with this precious purple flower; but if I toss it into the air, it will not reach you. So Signor Giovanni must even content himslef with my thanks". She lifted the bouquet from the ground, respond to a stranger's greeting, and passed swiftly through the garden. For many days after this incident, the young man avoided the window that looked into the garden.

25: While walking through the streets of Padua, Giovanni, bumped into Professor Baglioni. Giovanni was trying to avoid Baglioni but could not avoid his presence. While Baglioni was speaking, there came a man in black along the street, stooping and moving feebly. As he passed, this person exchanged a cold and distant salutation with Baglioni, but fixed his eyes upon Giovanni with an intentness that seemed to bring out whatever was within him worthy of notice. There was a peculiar quietness in the look. "It is Doctor Rappaccini!" whispered the Professor, when the stranger had passed. "Has he ever seen your face before?" "Not that I know," Giovanni answered. "He has seen you! He must have seen you! For some purpose or other, this man of science is making a study of you. I know that look of his! A look as deep as Nature itself, but without Nature's warmth of love. I will stake my life upon it, you are the subject of one of Rappaccini's experient!" replied Baglioni.

26: Giovanni pursued a route which found himself at the door of his lodgings. He crossed the threshold of Lisabetta who showed him to a private entrance into the garden. He paused, hesitated, turned half about but again went on. He undid a door through which as it was opened there came the sight and sound of rustling leaves with the broken sunshine glimmering among them. He threw a glance around the garden to discover if Beatrice or her father were present, and perceiving that he was alone. He began a critical observation of the plants. Giovanni recognized but two or three plants in the collection, and those of a kind that he well knew to be poisonous.

28: While busy with these thoughts, he heard the rustling of a silken garment, and turning, Beatrice emerged from beneath the sculptured portal. Giovanni was unsure whether he should apologize for his intrusion into the garden or assume that her was there with the privity. But Beatrice's manner placed him at ease, though leaving him still in doubt by what agency he had gained admittance. "You are an expert in flowers,Signor," referring Beatrice to the bouquet which he flung her from the window. If the sight of my father's rare collection has tempted you to take a nearer view. If he were here, he could tell you many strange and interesting facts as to the nature and habits of these shrubs, for he has spent a lifetime in such studies, and this garden is his world". While she spoke, there was a fragrance in the atmosphere around her rich and delightful, though evansescent, yet which the young man, from an indefinable reluctance, scarcely dare to draw into his lungs. It might be the odor of the flowers. Could it be Beatrice's breath?

30: "I remember, Signora," said Giovanni, "That you once promised to reward me with one of these living gems for the bouquet, which I had the happy boldness to fling to your feet. Permit me now to pluck it as a memorial of this interview". He made a step towards the shrub, with extended hand. But Beatrice darted forward, caught his hand, and drew it back. "Touch it not!" exclaimed she, "Not for thy life! It is fatal!" Then, hiding her face, she fled from him, and vanished beneath the sculptured portal.

31: Giovanni then started dazing about Beatrice. How human she was: her nature was endowed with all gentle and feminine qualitites; she was worthiest to be worshipped; she was capable, surely, on her part, of the height and heroism of love. Beatrice the more admirable, by so much as she was the more unique. Giovanni spend the night, nor fell asleep, until the dawn had begun to awake the slumbering flowers in the garden. Up rose the sun, as Giovanni's eyelids open and awoke to a sense of pain. Giovanni had a sense of burning and tingling pain in his had. His right hand. The very right hand which Beatrice grasped in her own when he was on the point of plucking one of the gem like flower. On the back of the hand lies a purple print, like that of four small fingers, and the likeness of a slender thumb upon his wrist. Giovanni wrapped his hand with a handkerchief and wondered what evil thing had stung him and soon forgot his pain in daydreaming of Beatrice.

32: One morning, Giovanni, received a suprised visit from Baglioni. He began talking about the gossip of the city, the University, and then began talking about another topic. "I have been reading an old classic author lately and met with a story that strangely interested me. Possibly you may remember it. It is an Indian prince, who sent a beautiful woman as a present to Alexander the Great. She was as lovely as the dawn, and gorgeous as the sunset; but what especially distinguished her was a certain perfume in her breath that is richer than a garden of Persian roses. Alexander, as was natural to a youthful conqueror, fell in love at first sight with this stranger. But a certain sage physician, happening to be present, discovered a terrible secret in regard to her."

33: "A childish fable. I wonder how your worship finds time to read such nonsense, among your studies." replied Giovanni. "What is this fragrance in your apartment? Is it the perfume of your gloves? It is soft, but delicious, and yet, after all, by no means agreeable. Were I to breathe it long, it would make me ill. It is like the breath of a flower but I don't see no flowers in the chamber." replied Baglioni. Baglioni had a suspicion and became aware what had happened to Giovanni. "Giovanni, my poor Giovanni. I know this girl far better than yourself. You shall hear the truth in respect to the poisoner Rappaccini, and his poisonous daughter. Yes, poisonous as she is beautiful of the deep and deadly science of Rappaccini and in the person of the lovely Beatrice."

34: "Her father, was not restrained by natural affection from offering up his child, in this horrible manner, as the victim of his love for science. Let us do him justice. You are selected as the material of some new experiment. Perhaps the result is to be death or fate more awful still. With his interest of science before his eyes, he will hesitate at nothing but it is not yet too late for the rescue. We may may succeed in bringing back this miserable child within the limits of ordinary nature, from which her father's madness has estranged her. This silver vase. One little sip of this antidote would render the most virulent posions. Bestow the vase, and the precious liquid within it, on your Beatrice and hopefully await the result."

35: Momentarily, Giovanni heard a whisper, "Giovanni, Giovanni, It is past the hour! Why tarriest thou, come down." He rushed down, and in an instant, was standing before the bright and loving eyes of Beatrice. "Beatrice, whence came this shrub." "My father created it," she replied. "Created it, created it" repeated Giovanni. Beatrice continues to tell Giovanni about the creation of the shrub and her father's love and passion for science and nature. Giovanni becomes frustrated and then continues to tell Beatrice how the shrub is poisonous. Beatrice becomes shocked and alarmed to the accusations of Giovanni. "Yes, poisonous thing! Thou hast done it! Thou has blasted me! Thou hast filled my veins with poison! Thou hast made me as hateful. Let us pray. Let us to church and dip our fingers in the holy water at the portal. They that come after us will perish as by a pestilence. Let us sign crosses in the air. It will be scattering curses abroad in the likeness of holy symbols."

36: "Beatrice, there is a medicine, a potent, as a wise physician has assured me, and almost divine in its efficacy. It is composed of ingredients opposite of those to your father's. It contains blessed herbs. If we drink it together we will be purified from evil". "I will drink but wait the results." Beatrice shruddered nervously and pressed her hand upon her heart. "My daughter," screamed Rappaccini. Pluck one of those precious gems from thy sister shrub. It shall not harm." "My father, wherefore didst thou inflict this miserable doom upon thy child?" "Miserable, what do you mean, foolish girl. Is it misery to be endowed with marvellous gifts against which no power nor strength could avail an enemy? Misery, to be able to quell the mightiest with a breath? Misery, to be beautiful? Would you have preferred the condition of a weak woman, exposed to all evil and capable of none?" cried Rappaccini. "I would fain have been loved, not feared," sinking down to the ground." replied Beatrice.

37: "But now it matters not; I am going where the evil, hast striven to mingle with my being will pass away like a dream. Like the fragrance of these poisonous flowers, which will no longer taint my breath among the flowers of Eden." "Farewell, Giovanni. Thy words of hatred are like lead within my heart but they too will fall away as I ascend. Oh, was there not, from the first, more poison in thy nature than in mine?"

38: Images http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0WTb_2qLJFI1OYAcTmjzbkF/SIG=12hh7mmct/EXP=1217560106/**http%3A//www.classicalpursuits.com/toplevel/convivium_index.php http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0WTb_2JLJFIFuAAOMyjzbkF/SIG=11miplvg3/EXP=1217560073/**http%3A//www.kambriel.com/rveil.html http://www.freiburg-online.com/freiburg/English/online/html/tourismus/partnerstaedte.html padua university http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:MapMaster map of southern italy http://www.taxfreegold.co.uk/austrian4ducats.html gold ducots http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0WTefUyJ5FIYzIBTQ6jzbkF/SIG=11tlrni0b/EXP=1217558706/**http%3A//www.flickr.com/photos/rps/5762271/ old building yahoo http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0WTefRpBI1IKNwADA6jzbkF/SIG=125qi2jbj/EXP=1217287657/**http%3A//www.flickr.com/photos/dazzzmien/396754482/

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40: http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0WTb_pqcY5IP3EB6Q.jzbkF/SIG=125vfboad/EXP=1217381098/**http%3A//www.flickr.com/photos/dazzzmien/287769182/ http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0WTefYMzY9IRGkBGRWjzbkF/SIG=125t9fj4c/EXP=1217470092/**http%3A//www.flickr.com/photos/pkittycat/565353123/ http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0WTb_ghLpFIZn4As6.jzbkF/SIG=125jl4na5/EXP=1217560481/**http%3A//www.flickr.com/photos/dazzzmien/295455939/ http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0WTefiVCI1Id2YB.MijzbkF/SIG=125mh75ij/EXP=1217288725/**http%3A//froghollow.typepad.com/frog_hollow/2005/05 http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0WTb_qbN45IxTUB9ByjzbkF/SIG=129e7rovv/EXP=1217366299/**http%3A//www.flickr.com/photos/13407551@N08/1890053635/ http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0WTefNF0Y9IH4EB7eujzbkF/SIG=1298325j5/EXP=1217471173/**http%3A//www.flickr.com/photos/esther_kirby/1813678833/ http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0WTb_wpzo9IXWEBNNOjzbkF/SIG=11gcm6mpk/EXP=1217470377/**http%3A//files.li.ru/wp/natura

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42: http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0WTeff_t49IWcUA572jzbkF/SIG=125e7vje5/EXP=1217464703/**http%3A//www.flickr.com/photos/dazzzmien/852785028/ http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0WTefXJ2Y9ITVsAdtejzbkF/SIG=129hoa6i2/EXP=1217473353/**http%3A//www.flickr.com/photos/esther_kirby/1973383307/

43: The End

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  • Title: Rappaccini's Daughter
  • A story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne
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  • Published: about 10 years ago