Rappaccini’s Daughter, Giovanni Guasconti

Rappaccini’s Daughter
A YOUNG man, named Giovanni Guasconti, came, very long ago, from the more
southern region of Italy, to pursue his studies at the University of Padua. Giovanni, who
had but a scanty supply of gold ducats in his pocket, took lodgings in a high and gloomy
chamber of an old edifice, which looked not unworthy to have been the palace of a
Paduan noble, and which, in fact, exhibited over its entrance the armorial bearings of a
family long since extinct. The young stranger, who was not unstudied in the great poem
of his country, 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, together with the tendency
to heart-break natural to a young man for the first time out of his native sphere, caused
Giovanni to sigh heavily, as he looked around the desolate and ill- furnished apartment.
“Holy Virgin, signor,” cried old dame Lisabetta, who, won by the youth’s remarkable
beauty of person, was kindly endeavoring to give the chamber a habitable air, “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 of the window, and you will see as bright
sunshine as you have left in Naples.”
Guasconti mechanically 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. Such as it was,
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.
“Does this garden belong to the house?” asked Giovanni.
“Heaven forbid, signor!–unless it were fruitful of better pot-herbs than any that grow
there now,” answered old Lisabetta. “No; that garden is cultivated 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.”
The old woman had now done what she could for the aspect of the chamber, and,
commending the young man to the protection of the saints, took her departure.
Giovanni still found no better occupation than to look down into the garden beneath his
window. From its appearance, he judged it to be one of those botanic gardens, which
were of earlier date in Padua than elsewhere in Italy, or in the world. Or, not improbably,
it might once have been the pleasure-place of an opulent family; for there was the ruin of
a marble fountain in the centre, sculptured with rare art, but so wofully shattered that it
was impossible to trace the original design from the chaos of remaining fragments. The
water, however, 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, that sung its song unceasingly, and without heeding the
vicissitudes around it; while one century embodied it in marble, and another scattered the
perishable garniture on the soil. All about the pool into which the water subsided, grew
various plants, that seemed to require a plentiful supply of moisture for the nourishment
of gigantic leaves, and, in some instances, flowers gorgeously magnificent. There was
one shrub in particular, set in a marble vase in the midst of the pool, that bore a profusion
of purple blossoms, each of which had the lustre and richness of a gem; and the whole
together made a show so resplendent that it seemed enough to illuminate the garden, even
had there been no sunshine. Every portion of the soil was peopled with plants and herbs,
which, if less beautiful, still bore tokens of assiduous care; as if all had their individual
virtues, known to the scientific mind that fostered them. Some were placed in urns, rich
with old carving, and others in common garden-pots; some crept serpent-like along the
ground, or climbed on high, using whatever means of ascent was offered them. One plant
had wreathed itself round a statue of Vertumnus, which was thus quite veiled and
shrouded in a drapery of hanging foliage, so happily arranged that it might have served a
sculptor for a study.
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. His figure soon emerged into
view, and showed itself to be that of no common laborer, but a tall, emaciated, sallow,
and sickly looking man, dressed in a scholar’s garb of black. He was beyond the middle
term of life, with gray hair, a thin gray beard, and a face singularly marked with intellect
and cultivation, but which could never, even in his more youthful days, have expressed
much warmth of heart.
Nothing could exceed the intentness with which this scientific gardener examined every
shrub which grew in his path; it seemed as if he was looking into their inmost nature,
making observations in regard to their creative essence, and discovering why one leaf
grew in this shape, and another in that, and wherefore such and such flowers differed
among themselves in hue and perfume. Nevertheless, in spite of the deep intelligence on
his part, there was no approach to intimacy between himself and these vegetable
existences. On the contrary, he avoided their actual touch, or the direct inhaling of their
odors, with a caution that impressed Giovanni most disagreeably; for the man’s demeanor
was that of one walking among malignant influences, such as savage beasts, or deadly
snakes, or evil spirits, which, should he allow them one moment of license, wo uld wreak
upon him some terrible fatality. It was strangely frightful to the young man’s imagination,
to see this air of insecurity in a person cultivating a garden, that most simple and innocent
of human toils, and which had been alike the joy and labor of the unfallen parents of the
race. Was this garden, then, the Eden of the present world?–and this man, with such a
perception of harm in what his own hands caused to grow, was he the Adam?
The distrustful gardener, 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 magnificent
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 loudly, but in the
infirm voice of a person affected with inward disease:
“Here am I, my father! What would you?” cried a rich and youthful voice from the
window of the opposite house; a voice as rich as a tropical sunset, and which made
Giovanni, though he knew not why, think of deep hues of purple or crimson, and of
perfumes heavily delectable.–“Are you in the garden?”
“Yes, Beatrice,” answered the gardener, “and I need your help.”
Soon there emerged from under a sculptured 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; all of which attributes were bound down
and compressed, as it were, and girdled tensely, in their luxuriance, by her virgin zone.
Yet Giovanni’s fancy must have grown morbid, while he looked down into the garden;
for the impression which the fair stranger made upon him was as if here were another
flower, the human sister of those vegetable ones, as beautiful as they–more beautiful than
the richest of them–but still to be touched only with a glove, nor to be approached
without a mask. 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. Yet, shattered as I am, my life might pay the penalty of approaching it so
closely as circumstances demand. Henceforth, I fear, this plant must be consigned to your
sole charge.”
“And gladly will I undertake it,” cried again the rich tones of the young lady, as she bent
towards the magnificent 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 kisses and perfume breath, which to her is as the breath of life!”
Then, with all the tenderness in her manner that was so strikingly expressed in her words,
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. The scene
soon terminated. Whether Doctor Rappaccini had finished his labors in the garden, or that
his watchful eye had caught the stranger’s face, he now took his daughter’s arm and
retired. Night was already closing in; oppressive exhalations seemed to proceed from the
plants, and steal upward past the open window; and Giovanni, closing the lattice, went to
his couch, and dreamed of a rich flower and beautiful girl. Flower and maiden were
different and yet the same, and fraught with some strange peril in either shape.
But there is an influence in the light of morning that tends to rectify whatever errors of
fancy, or even of judgment, we may have incurred during the sun’s decline, or among the
shadows of the night, or in the less wholesome glow of moonshine. 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. He was surprised, and a little
ashamed, to find how real and matter-of- fact an affair it proved to be, in the first rays of
the sun, which gilded the dew-drops that hung upon leaf and blossom, and, while giving a
brighter beauty to each rare flower, brought everything within the limits of ordinary
experience. The young man rejoiced, that, in the heart of the barren city, he had the
privilege of overlooking this spot of lovely and luxuriant vegetation. It would serve, he
said to himself, as a symbolic language, to keep him in communion with Nature. Neither
the sickly and thought-worn Doctor Giacomo Rappaccini, it is true, nor his brilliant
daughter, were now visible; so that Giovanni could not determine how much of the
singularity which he attributed to both, was due to their own qualities, and how much to
his wonder-working fancy. But he was inclined to take a most rational view of the whole
In the course of the day, he paid his respects to Signor Pietro Baglioni, Professor of
Medicine in the University, a physician of eminent repute, to whom Giovanni had
brought a letter of introduction. The Professor was an elderly personage, apparently of
genial nature, and habits that might almost be called jovial; he kept the young man to
dinner, and made himself very agreeable by the freedom and liveliness of his
conversation, especially when warmed by a flask or two of Tuscan wine. Giovanni,
conceiving that men of science, inhabitants of the same city, must needs be on familiar
terms with one another, took an opportunity to mention the name of Doctor Rappaccini.
But the Professor did not respond with so much cordiality as he had anticipated.
“Ill would it become a teacher of the divine art of medicine,” said Professor Pietro
Baglioni, in answer to a question of Giovanni, “to withhold due and well-considered
praise of a physician so eminently skilled as Rappaccini. But, on the other hand, I should
answer it but scantily to my conscience, were I to permit a worthy youth like yourself,
Signor Giovanni, the son of an ancient friend, to imbibe erroneous ideas respecting a man
who might hereafter chance to hold your life and death in his hands. The truth is, our
worshipful Doctor Rappaccini has as much science as any member of the faculty–with
perhaps one single exception–in Padua, or all Italy. But there are certain grave objections
to his professional character.”
“And what are they?” asked the young man.
“Has my friend Giovanni any disease of body or heart, that he is so inquisitive about
physicians?” said the Professor, with a smile. “But as for Rappaccini, it is said of him–
and I, who know the man well, can answer for its truth–that he cares infinitely more for
science than for mankind. His patients are interesting to him only as subjects for some
new experiment. He would sacrifice human life, his own among the rest, or whatever else
was dearest to him, for the sake of adding so much as a grain of mustard-seed to the great
heap of his accumulated knowledge.”
“Methinks he is an awful man, indeed,” remarked Guasconti, mentally recalling the cold
and purely intellectual aspect of Rappaccini. “And yet, worshipful Professor, is it not a
noble spirit? Are there many men capable of so spiritual a love of science?”
“God forbid,” answered the Professor, somewhat testily–“at least, unless they take
sounder views of the healing art than those adopted by Rappaccini. It is his theory, that
all medicinal virtues are comprised within those substances which we term vegetable
poisons. These he cultivates with his own hands, and is said even to have produced new
varieties of poison, more horribly deleterious than Nature, without the assistance of this
learned person, would ever have plagued the world withal. That the Signor Doctor does
less mischief than might be expected, with such dangerous substances, is undeniable.
Now and then, it must be owned, he has effected–or seemed to effect–a marvellous cure.
But, to tell you my private mind, Signor Giovanni, he should receive little credit for such
instances of success–they being probably the work of chance–but should be held strictly
accountable for his failures, which may justly be considered his own work.”
The youth might have taken Baglioni’s opinions with many grains of allowance, had he
known that there was a professional warfare of long continuance between him and Doctor
Rappaccini, in which the latter was generally thought to have gained the advantage. If the
reader be inclined to judge for himself, we refer him to certain black- letter tracts on both
sides, preserved in the medical department of the University of Padua.
“I know not, most learned Professor,” returned Giovanni, after musing on what had been
said of Rappaccini’s exclusive zeal for science–“I know not how dearly this physician
may love his art; but surely there is one object more dear to him. He has a daughter.”
“Aha!” cried the Professor with a laugh. “So now our friend Giovanni’s secret is out. You
have heard of this daughter, whom all the young men in Padua are wild about, though not
half a dozen have ever had the good hap to see her face. I know little of the Signora
Beatrice, save that Rappaccini is said to have instructed her deeply in his science, and
that, young and beautiful as fame reports her, she is already qualified to fill a professor’s
chair. Perchance her father destines her for mine! Other absurd rumors there be, not
worth talking about, or listening to. So now, Signor Giovanni, drink off your glass of
Guasconti returned to his lodgings somewhat heated with the wine he had quaffed, and
which caused his brain to swim with strange fantasies in reference to Doctor Rappaccini
and the beautiful Beatrice. On his way, happening to pass by a florist’s, he bought a fresh
bouquet of flowers.
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. All beneath his eye was a solitude. The strange plants were basking
in the sunshine, and now and then nodding gently to one another, as if in
acknowledgment of sympathy and kindred. In the midst, by the shattered fountain, grew
the magnificent shrub, with its purple gems clustering all over it; they glowed in the air,
and gleamed back again out of the depths of the pool, which thus seemed to overflow
with colored radiance from the rich reflection that was steeped in it. At first, as we have
said, the garden was a solitude. Soon, however,–as Giovanni had half hoped, half feared,
would be the case,–a figure appeared beneath the antique sculptured portal, and came
down between the rows of plants, inhaling their various perfumes, as if she were one of
those beings of old classic fable, that lived upon sweet odors. On again beholding
Beatrice, the young man was even startled to perceive how much her beauty exceeded his
recollection of it; so brilliant, so vivid in its character, that she glowed amid the sunlight,
and, as Giovanni whispered to himself, positively illuminated the more shadowy intervals
of the garden path. Her face being now more revealed than on the former occasion, he
was struck by its expression of simplicity and sweetness; qualities that had not entered
into his idea of her character, and which made him ask anew, what manner of mortal she
might be. Nor did he fail again to observe, or imagine, an analogy between the beautiful
girl and the gorgeous shrub that hung its gem- like flowers over the fountain; a
resemblance which Beatrice seemed to have indulged a fantastic humor in heightening,
both by the arrangement of her dress and the selection of its hues.
Approaching the shrub, she threw open her arms, as with a passionate ardor, and drew its
branches into an intimate embrace; so intimate, that her features were hidden in its leafy
bosom, and her glistening ringlets all intermingled with the flowers.
“Give me thy breath, my sister,” exclaimed 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.”
With these words, the beautiful daughter of Rappaccini plucked one of the richest
blossoms of the shrub, and was about to fasten it in her bosom. But now, unless
Giovanni’s draughts of wine had bewildered his senses, a singular incident occurred. A
small orange colored reptile, of the lizard or chameleon species, chanced to be creeping
along the path, just at the feet of Beatrice. It appeared to Giovanni–but, at the distance
from which he gazed, he could scarcely have seen anything so minute–it appeared to
him, however, that a drop or two of moisture from the broken stem of the flower
descended upon the lizard’s head. For an instant, the reptile contorted itself violently, and
then lay motionless in the sunshine. Beatrice observed this remarkable phenomenon, and
crossed herself, sadly, but without surprise; nor did she therefore hesitate to arrange the
fatal flower in her bosom. There it blushed, and almost glimmered with the dazzling
effect of a precious stone, adding to her dress and aspect the one appropriate charm,
which nothing else in the world could have supplied. But Giovanni, out of the shadow of
his window, bent forward and shrank back, and murmured and trembled.
“Am I awake? Have I my senses?” said he to himself. “What is this being?–beautiful,
shall I call her?–or inexpressibly terrible?”
Beatrice now strayed carelessly through the garden, approaching closer beneath
Giovanni’s window, so that he was compelled to thrust his head quite out of its
concealment, in order to gratify the intense and painful curiosity which she excited. At
this moment, there came a beautiful insect over the garden wall; it had perhaps wandered
through the city and found no flowers nor verdure among those antique haunts of men,
until the heavy perfumes of Doctor Rappaccini’s shrubs had lured it from afar. Without
alighting on the flowers, this winged brightness seemed to be attracted by Beatrice, and
lingered in the air and fluttered about her head. Now here it could not be but that
Giovanni Guasconti’s eyes deceived him. Be that as it might, he fancied that while
Beatrice was ga zing at the insect with childish delight, it grew faint and fell at her feet;–
its bright wings shivered; it was dead–from no cause that he could discern, unless it were
the atmosphere of her breath. Again Beatrice crossed herself and sighed heavily, as she
bent over the dead insect.
An impulsive movement of Giovanni drew her eyes to the window. There she beheld the
beautiful head of the young man–rather a Grecian than an Italian head, with fair, regular
features, and a glistening of gold among his ringlets–gazing down upon her like a being
that hovered in mid-air. Scarcely knowing what he did, Giovanni threw down the bouquet
which he had hitherto held in his hand.
“Signora,” said he, “there are pure and healthful flowers. Wear them for the sake of
Giovanni Guasconti!”
“Thanks, Signor,” replied Beatrice, with her rich voice that came forth as it were like a
gush of music; and with a mirthful expression half childish and half woman-like. “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 Guasconti must even content himself
with my thanks.”
She lifted the bouquet from the ground, and then as if inwardly ashamed at having
stepped aside from her maidenly reserve to respond to a stranger’s greeting, passed
swiftly homeward through the garden. But, few as the moments were, it seemed to
Giovanni when she was on the point of vanishing beneath the sculptured portal, that his
beautiful bouquet was already beginning to wither in her grasp. It was an idle thought;
there could be no possibility of distinguishing a faded flower from a fresh one, at so great
a distance.
For many days after this incident, the young man avoided the window that looked into
Doctor Rappaccini’s garden, as if something ugly and monstrous would have blasted his
eye-sight, had he been betrayed into a glance. He felt conscious of having put himself, to
a certain extent, within the influence of an unintelligible power, by the communication
which he had opened with Beatrice. The wisest course would have been, if his heart were
in any real danger, to quit his lodgings and Padua itself, at once; the next wiser, to have
accustomed himself, as far as possible, to the familiar and day- light view of Beatrice;
thus bringing her rigidly and systematically within the limits of ordinary experience.
Least of all, while avoiding her sight, should Giovanni have remained so near this
extraordinary being, that the proximity and possibility even of intercourse, should give a
kind of substance and reality to the wild vagaries which his imagination ran riot
continually in producing. Guasconti had not a deep heart–or at all events, its depths were
not sounded now–but he had a quick fancy, and an ardent southern temperament, which
rose every instant to a higher fever-pitch. Whether or no Beatrice possessed those terrible
attributes–that fatal breath–the affinity with those so beautiful and deadly flowers–
which were indicated by what Giovanni had witnessed, she had at least instilled a fierce
and subtle poison into his system. It was not love, although her rich beauty was a
madness to him; nor horror, even while he fancied her spirit to be imbued with the same
baneful essence that seemed to pervade her physical frame; but a wild offspring of both
love and horror that had each parent in it, and burned like one and shivered like the other.
Giovanni knew not what to dread; still less did he know what to hope; yet hope and dread
kept a continual warfare in his breast, alternately va nquishing one another and starting up
afresh to renew the contest. Blessed are all simple emotions, be they dark or bright! It is
the lurid intermixture of the two that produces the illuminating blaze of the infernal
Sometimes he endeavored to assuage the fever of his spirit by a rapid walk through the
streets of Padua, or beyond its gates; his footsteps kept time with the throbbings of his
brain, so that the walk was apt to accelerate itself to a race. One day, he found himself
arrested; his arm was seized by a portly personage who had turned back on recognizing
the young man, and expended much breath in overtaking him.
“Signor Giovanni!–stay, my young friend!” –cried he. “Have you forgotten me? That
might well be the case, if I were as much altered as yourself.”
It was Baglioni, whom Giovanni had avoided, ever since their first meeting, from a doubt
that the Professor’s sagacity would look too deeply into his secrets. Endeavoring to
recover himself, he stared forth wildly from his inner world into the outer one, and spoke
like a man in a dream.
“Yes; I am Giovanni Guasconti. You are Professor Pietro Baglioni. Now let me pass!”
“Not yet–not yet, Signor Giovanni Guasconti,” said the Professor, smiling, but at the
same time scrutinizing the youth with an earnest glance. “What, did I grow up side by
side with your father, and shall his son pass me like a stranger, in these old streets of
Padua? Stand still, Signor Giovanni; for we must have a word or two before we part.”
“Speedily, then, most worshipful Professor, speedily!” said Giovanni, with feverish
impatience. “Does not your worship see that I am in haste?”
Now, while he was speaking, there came a man in black along the street, stooping and
moving feebly, like a person in inferior health. His face was all overspread with a most
sickly and sallow hue, but yet so pervaded with an expression of piercing and active
intellect, that an observer might easily have overlooked the merely physical attributes,
and have seen only this wonderful energy. 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. Nevertheless, there
was a peculiar quietness in the look, as if taking merely a speculative, not a human
interest, in the young man.
“It is Doctor Rappaccini!” whispered the Professor, when the stranger had passed.–“Has
he ever seen your face before?”
“Not that I know,” answered Giovanni, starting at the name.
“He has seen you!–he must have seen you!” said Baglioni, hastily. “For some purpose or
other, this man of science is making a study of you. I know that look of his! It is the same
that coldly illuminates his face, as he bends over a bird, a mouse, or a butterfly, which, in
pursuance of some experiment, he has killed by the perfume of a flower;–a look as deep
as Nature itself, but without Nature’s warmth of love. Signor Giovanni, I will stake my
life upon it, you are the subject of one of Rappaccini’s experiments!”
“Will you make a fool of me?” cried Giovanni, passionately. “That, Signor Professor,
were an untoward experiment.”
“Patience, patience!” replied the imperturbable Professor. “I tell thee, my poor Giovanni,
that Rappaccini has a scientific interest in thee. Thou hast fallen into fearful hands! And
the Signora Beatrice? What part does she act in this mystery?”
But Guasconti, finding Baglioni’s pertinacity intolerable, here broke away, and was gone
before the Professor could again seize his arm. He looked after the young man intently,
and shook his head.
“This must not be,” said Baglioni to himself. “The youth is the son of my old friend, and
shall not come to any harm from which the arcana of medical science can preserve him.
Besides, it is too insufferable an impertinence in Rappaccini thus to snatch the lad out of
my own hands, as I may say, and make use of him for his infernal experiments. This
daughter of his! It shall be looked to. Perchance, most learned Rappaccini, I may foil you
where you little dream of it!”
Meanwhile, Giovanni had pursued a circuitous route, and at length found himself at the
door of his lodgings. As he crossed the threshold, he was met by old Lisabetta, who
smirked and smiled, and was evidently desirous to attract his attention; va inly, however,
as the ebullition of his feelings had momentarily subsided into a cold and dull vacuity. He
turned his eyes full upon the withered face that was puckering itself into a smile, but
seemed to behold it not. The old dame, therefore, laid her grasp upon his cloak.
“Signor!–Signor!” whispered she, still with a smile over the whole breadth of her visage,
so that it looked not unlike a grotesque carving in wood, darkened by centuries–“Listen,
Signor! There is a private entrance into the garden!”
“What do you say?” exclaimed Giovanni, turning quickly about, as if an inanimate thing
should start into feverish life.–“A private entrance into Doctor Rappaccini’s garden!”
“Hush! hush!–not so loud!” whispered Lisabetta, putting her hand over his mouth. “Yes;
into the worshipful Doctor’s garden, where you may see all his fine shrubbery. Many a
young man in Padua would give gold to be admitted among those flowers.”
Giovanni put a piece of gold into her hand.
“Show me the way,” said he.
A surmise, probably excited by his conversation with Baglioni, crossed his mind, that this
interposition of old Lisabetta might perchance be connected with the intrigue, whatever
were its nature, in which the Professor seemed to suppose that Doctor Rappaccini was
involving him. But such a suspicion, though it disturbed Giovanni, was inadequate to
restrain him. The instant he was aware of the possibility of approaching Beatrice, it
seemed an absolute necessity of his existence to do so. It mattered not whether she were
angel or demon; he was irrevocably within her sphere, and must obey the law that
whirled him onward, in ever lessening circles, towards a result which he did not attempt
to foreshadow. And yet, strange to say, there came across him a sudden doubt, whether
this intense interest on his part were not delusory–whether it were really of so deep and
positive a nature as to justify him in now thrusting himself into an incalculable position–
whether it were not merely the fantasy of a young man’s brain, only slightly, or not at all,
connected with his heart!
He paused–hesitated–turned half about–but again went on. His withered guide led him
along several obscure passages, and finally 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. Giovanni stepped forth, and forcing himself through the
entanglement of a shrub that wreathed its tendrils over the hidden entrance, he stood
beneath his own window, in the open area of Doctor Rappaccini’s garden.
How often is it the case, that, when impossibilities have come to pass, and dreams have
condensed their misty substance into tangible realities, we find ourselves calm, and even
coldly self-possessed, amid circumstances which it would have been a delirium of joy or
agony to anticipate! Fate delights to thwart us thus. Passion will choose his own time to
rush upon the scene, and lingers sluggishly behind, when an appropriate adjustment of
events would seem to summon his appearance. So was it now with Giovanni. Day after
day, his pulses had throbbed with feverish blood, at the improbable idea of an interview
with Beatrice, and of standing with her, face to face, in this very garden, basking in the
oriental sunshine of her beauty, and snatching from her full gaze the mystery which he
deemed the riddle of his own existence. But now there was a singular and untimely
equanimity within his breast. He threw a glance around the garden to discover if Beatrice
or her father were present, and perceiving that he was alone, began a critical observation
of the plants.
The aspect of one and all of them dissatisfied him; their gorgeousness seemed fierce,
passionate, and even unnatural. There was hardly an individual shrub which a wanderer,
straying by himself through a forest, would not have been startled to find growing wild,
as if an unearthly face had glared at him out of the thicket. Several, also, would have
shocked a delicate instinct by an appearance of artificialness, indicating that there had
been such commixture, and, as it were, adultery of various vegetable species, that the
production was no longer of God’s making, but the monstrous offspring of man’s
depraved fancy, glowing with only an evil mockery of beauty. They were probably the
result of experiment, which, in one or two cases, had succeeded in mingling plants
individually lovely into a compound possessing the questionable and ominous character
that distinguished the whole growth of the garden. In fine, Giovanni recognized but two
or three plant s in the collection, and those of a kind that he well knew to be poisonous.
While busy with these contemplations, he heard the rustling of a silken garment, and
turning, beheld Beatrice emerging from beneath the sculptured portal.
Giovanni had not considered with himself what should be his deportment; whether he
should apologize for his intrusion into the garden, or assume that he was there with the
privity, at least, if not by the desire, of Doctor Rappaccini or his daughter. But Beatrice’s
manner placed him at his ease, though leaving him still in doubt by what agency he had
gained admittance. She came lightly along the path, and met him near the broken
fountain. There was surprise in her face, but brightened by a simple and kind expression
of pleasure.
“You are a connoisseur in flowers, Signor,” said Beatrice with a smile, alluding to the
bouquet which he had flung her from the window. “It is no marvel, therefore, 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 life-time in such studies, and this garden is his world.”
“And yourself, lady”–observed Giovanni– “if fame says true–you, likewise, are deeply
skilled in the virtues indicated by these rich blossoms, and these spicy perfumes. Would
you deign to be my instructress, I should prove an apter scholar than under Signor
Rappaccini himself.”
“Are there such idle rumors?” asked Beatrice, with the music of a pleasant laugh. “Do
people say that I am skilled in my father’s science of plants? What a jest is there! No;
though I have grown up among these flowers, I know no more of them than their hues
and perfume; and sometimes, methinks I would fain rid myself of even that small
knowledge. There are many flowers here, and those not the least brilliant, that shock and
offend me, when they meet my eye. But, pray, Signor, do not believe these stories about
my science. Believe nothing of me save what yo u see with your own eyes.”
“And must I believe all that I have seen with my own eyes?” asked Giovanni pointedly,
while the recollection of former scenes made him shrink. “No, Signora, you demand too
little of me. Bid me believe nothing, save what comes from your own lips.”
It would appear that Beatrice understood him. There came a deep flush to her cheek; but
she looked full into Giovanni’s eyes, and responded to his gaze of uneasy suspicion with
a queen- like haughtiness.
“I do so bid you, Signor!” she replied. “Forget whatever you may have fancied in regard
to me. If true to the outward senses, still it may be false in its essence. But the words of
Beatrice Rappaccini’s lips are true from the heart outward. Those you may believe!”
A fervor glowed in her who le aspect, and beamed upon Giovanni’s consciousness like the
light of truth itself. But while she spoke, there was a fragrance in the atmosphere around
her rich and delightful, though evanescent, yet which the young man, from an indefinable
reluctance, scarcely dared to draw into his lungs. It might be the odor of the flowers.
Could it be Beatrice’s breath, which thus embalmed her words with a strange richness, as
if by steeping them in her heart? A faintness passed like a shadow over Giovanni, and
flitted away; he seemed to gaze through the beautiful girl’s eyes into her transparent soul,
and felt no more doubt or fear.
The tinge of passion that had colored Beatrice’s manner vanished; she became gay, and
appeared to derive a pure delight from her communion with the youth, not unlike what
the maiden of a lonely island might have felt, conversing with a voyager from the
civilized world. Evidently her experience of life had been confined within the limits of
that garden. She talked now about matters as simple as the day-light or summer-clouds,
and now asked questions in reference to the city, or Giovanni’s distant home, his friends,
his mother, and his sisters; questions indicating such seclusion, and such lack of
familiarity with modes and forms, that Giovanni responded as if to an infant. Her spirit
gushed out before him like a fresh rill, that was just catching its first glimpse of the
sunlight, and wondering, at the reflections of earth and sky which were flung into its
bosom. There came thoughts, too, from a deep source, and fantasies of a gem-like
brilliancy, as if diamonds and rubies sparkled upward among the bubbles of the fountain.
Ever and anon, there gleamed across the young man’s mind a sense of wonder, that he
should be walking side by side with the being who had so wrought upon his imagination-
-whom he had idealized in such hues of terror–in whom he had positively witnessed such
manifestations of dreadful attributes–that he should be conversing with Beatrice like a
brother, and should find her so human and so maiden-like. But such reflections were only
momentary; the effect of her character was too real, not to make itself familiar at once.
In this free intercourse, they had strayed through the garden, and now, after many turns
among its avenues, were come to the shattered fountain, beside which grew the
magnificent shrub with its treasury of glowing blossoms. A fragrance was diffused from
it, which Giovanni recognized as identical with that which he had attributed to Beatrice’s
breath, but incomparably more powerful. As her eyes fell upon it, Giovanni beheld her
press her hand to her bosom, as if her heart were throbbing suddenly and painfully.
“For the first time in my life,” murmured she, addressing the shrub, “I had forgotten
“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,
uttering a shriek that went through his heart like a dagger. She caught his hand, and drew
it back with the whole force of her slender figure. Giovanni felt her touch thrilling
through his fibres.
“Touch it not!” exclaimed she, in a voice of agony. “Not for thy life! It is fatal!”
Then, hiding her face, she fled from him, and vanished beneath the sculptured portal. As
Giovanni followed her with his eyes, he beheld the emaciated figure and pale intelligence
of Doctor Rappaccini, who had been watching the scene, he knew not how long, within
the shadow of the entrance.
No sooner was Guasconti alone in his chamber, than the image of Beatrice came back to
his passionate musings, invested with all the witchery that had been gathering around it
ever since his first glimpse of her, and now likewise imbued with a tender warmth of
girlish womanhood. She was human: her nature was endowed with all gentle and
feminine qualities; she was worthiest to be worshipped; she was capable, surely, on her
part, of the height and heroism of love. Those tokens, which he had hitherto considered as
proofs of a frightful peculiarity in her physical and moral system, were now either
forgotten, or, by the subtle sophistry of passion, transmuted into a golden crown of
enchantment, rendering Beatrice the more admirable, by so much as she was the more
unique. Whatever had looked ugly, was now beautiful; or, if incapable of such a change,
it stole away and hid itself among those shapeless half- ideas, which throng the dim region
beyond the daylight of our perfect consciousness. Thus did Giovanni spend the night, nor
fell asleep, until the dawn had begun to awake the slumbering flowers in Doctor
Rappaccini’s garden, whither his dreams doubtless led him. Up rose the sun in his due
season, and flinging his beams upon the young man’s eyelids, awoke him to a sense of
pain. When thoroughly aroused, he became sensible of a burning and tingling agony in
his hand–in his right hand–the very hand which Beatrice had grasped in her own, when
he was on the point of plucking one of the gem- like flowers. On the back of that hand
there was now a purple print, like that of four small fingers, and the likeness of a slender
thumb upon his wrist.
Oh, how stubbornly does love–or even that cunning semblance of love which flourishes
in the imagination, but strikes no depth of root into the heart–how stubbornly does it hold
its faith, until the moment come, when it is doomed to vanish into thin mist! Giovanni
wrapt a handkerchief about his hand, and wondered what evil thing had stung him, and
soon forgot his pain in a reverie of Beatrice.
After the first interview, a second was in the inevitable course of what we call fate. A
third; a fourth; and a meeting with Beatrice in the garden was no longer an incident in
Giovanni’s daily life, but the whole space in which he might be said to live; for the
anticipation and memory of that ecstatic hour made up the remainder. Nor was it
otherwise with the daughter of Rappaccini. She watched for the youth’s appearance, and
flew to his side with confidence as unreserved as if they had been playmates from early
infancy–as if they were such playmates still. If, by any unwonted chance, he failed to
come at the appointed moment, she stood beneath the window, and sent up the rich
sweetness of her tones to float around him in his chamber, and echo and reverberate
throughout his heart–“Giovanni! Giovanni! Why tarriest thou? Come down!” And down
he hastened into that Eden of poisonous flowers.
But, with all this intimate familiarity, there was still a reserve in Beatrice’s demeanor, so
rigidly and invariably sustained, that the idea of infringing it scarcely occurred to his
imagination. By all appreciable signs, they loved; they had looked love, with eyes that
conveyed the holy secret from the depths of one soul into the depths of the other, as if it
were too sacred to be whispered by the way; they had even spoken love, in those gushes
of passion when their spirits darted forth in articulated breath, like tongues of long-hidden
flame; and yet there had been no seal of lips, no clasp of hands, nor any slightest caress,
such as love claims and hallows. He had never touched one of the gleaming ringlets of
her hair; her garment–so marked was the physical barrier between them–had never been
waved against him by a breeze. On the few occasions when Giovanni had seemed
tempted to overstep the limit, Beatrice grew so sad, so stern, and withal wore such a look
of desolate separation, shuddering at itself, that not a spoken word was requisite to repel
him. At such times, he was startled at the horrible suspicions that rose, monster- like, out
of the caverns of his heart, and stared him in the face; his love grew thin and faint as the
morning- mist; his doubts alone had substance. But when Beatrice’s face brightened again,
after the momentary shadow, she was transformed at once from the mysterious,
questionable being, whom he had watched with so much awe and horror; she was now
the beautiful and unsophisticated girl, whom he felt that his spirit knew with a certainty
beyond all other knowledge.
A considerable time had now passed since Giovanni’s last meeting with Baglioni. One
morning, however, he was disagreeably surprised by a visit from the Professor, whom he
had scarcely thought of for whole weeks, and would willingly have forgotten still longer.
Given up, as he had long been, to a pervading excitement, he could tolerate no
companions, except upon condition of their perfect sympathy with his present state of
feeling. Such sympathy was not to be expected from Professor Baglioni.
The visitor chatted carelessly, for a few moments, about the gossip of the city and the
University, and then took up another topic.
“I have been reading an old classic author lately,” said he, “and met with a story that
strangely interested me. Possibly you may remember it. It is of 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 rich
perfume in her breath–richer than a garden of Persian roses. Alexander, as was natural to
a youthful conqueror, fell in love at first sight with this magnificent stranger. But a
certain sage physician, happening to be present, discovered a terrible secret in regard to
“And what was that?” asked Giovanni, turning his eyes downward to avoid those of the
“That this lovely woman,” continued Baglioni, with emphasis, “had been nourished with
poisons from her birth upward, until her whole nature was so imbued with them, that she
herself had become the deadliest poison in existence. Poison was her element of life.
With that rich perfume of her breath, she blasted the very air. Her love would have been
poison!–her embrace death! Is not this a marvellous tale?”
“A childish fable,” answered Giovanni, nervously starting from his chair. “I marvel how
your worship finds time to read such nonsense, among your graver studies.”
“By the bye,” said the Professor, looking uneasily about him, “what singular fragrance is
this in your apartment? Is it the perfume of your gloves? It is faint, but delicious, and yet,
after all, by no means agreeable. Were I to breathe it long, methinks it would make me ill.
It is like the breath of a flower–but I see no flowers in the chamber.”
“Nor are there any,” replied Giovanni, who had turned pale as the Professor spoke; “nor, I
think, is there any fragrance, except in your worship’s imagination. Odors, being a sort of
element combined of the sensual and the spiritual, are apt to deceive us in this manner.
The recollection of a perfume–the bare idea of it–may easily be mistaken for a present
“Aye; but my sober imagination does not often play such tricks,” said Baglioni; “and
were I to fancy any kind of odor, it would be that of some vile apothecary drug,
wherewith my fingers are likely enough to be imbued. Our worshipful friend Rappaccini,
as I have heard, tinctures his medicaments with odors richer than those of Araby.
Doubtless, likewise, the fair and learned Signora Beatrice would minister to her patients
with draughts as sweet as a maiden’s breath. But wo to him that sips them!”
Giovanni’s face evinced many contending emotions. The tone in which the Professor
alluded to the pur e and lovely daughter of Rappaccini was a torture to his soul; and yet,
the intimation of a view of her character, opposite to his own, gave instantaneous
distinctness to a thousand dim suspicions, which now grinned at him like so many
demons. But he strove hard to quell them, and to respond to Baglioni with a true lover’s
perfect faith.
“Signor Professor,” said he, “you were my father’s friend–perchance, too, it is your
purpose to act a friendly part towards his son. I would fain feel nothing towards you save
respect and deference. But I pray you to observe, Signor, that there is one subject on
which we must not speak. You know not the Signora Beatrice. You cannot, therefore,
estimate the wrong–the blasphemy, I may even say–that is offered to her character by a
light or injurious word.”
“Giovanni!– my poor Giovanni!” answered the Professor, with a calm expression of pity,
“I know this wretched 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!
Listen; for even should you do violence to my gray hairs, it shall not silence me. That old
fable of the Indian woman has become a truth, by the deep and deadly science of
Rappaccini, and in the person of the lovely Beatrice!”
Giovanni groaned and hid his face.
“Her father,” continued Baglioni, “was not restrained by natural affection from offering
up his child, in this horrible manner, as the victim of his insane zeal for science. For– let
us do him justice–he is as true a man of science as ever distilled his own heart in an
alembic. What, then, will be your fate? Beyond a doubt, you are selected as the material
of some new experiment. Perhaps the result is to be death–perhaps a fate more awful
still! Rappaccini, with what he calls the interest of science before his eyes, will hesitate at
“It is a dream!” muttered Giovanni to himself, “surely it is a dream!”
“But,” resumed the Professor, “be of good cheer, son of my friend! It is not yet too late
for the rescue. Possibly, we may even succeed in bringing back this miserable child
within the limits of ordinary nature, from which her father’s madness has estranged her.
Behold this little silver vase! It was wrought by the hands of the renowned Benvenuto
Cellini, and is well worthy to be a love-gift to the fairest dame in Italy. But its contents
are invaluable. One little sip of this antidote would have rendered the most virulent
poisons of the Borgias innocuous. Doubt not that it will be as efficacious against those of
Rappaccini. Bestow the vase, and the precious liquid within it, on your Beatrice, and
hopefully await the result.”
Baglioni laid a small, exquisitely wrought silver phial on the table, and withdrew, leaving
what he had said to produce its effect upon the young man’s mind.
“We will thwart Rappaccini yet!” thought he, chuckling to himself, as he descended the
stairs. “But, let us confess the truth of him, he is a wonderful man!–a wonderful man
indeed! A vile empiric, however, in his practice, and therefore not to be tolerated by those
who respect the good old rules of the medical profession!”
Throughout Giovanni’s whole acquaintance with Beatrice, he had occasionally, as we
have said, been haunted by dark surmises as to her character. Yet, so thoroughly had she
made herself felt by him as a simple, natural, most affectionate and guileless creature,
that the image now held up by Professor Baglioni, looked as strange and incredible, as if
it were not in accordance with his own original conception. True, there were ugly
recollections connected with his first glimpses of the beautiful girl; he could not quite
forget the bouquet that withered in her grasp, and the insect that perished amid the sunny
air, by no ostensible agency save the fragrance of her breath. These incidents, however,
dissolving in the pure light of her character, had no longer the efficacy of facts, but were
acknowledged as mistaken fantasies, by whatever testimony of the senses they might
appear to be substantiated. There is something truer and more real, than what we can see
with the eyes, and touch with the finger. On such better evidence, had Giovanni founded
his confidence in Beatrice, though rather by the necessary force of her high attributes,
than by any deep and generous faith on his part. But, now, his spirit was incapable of
sustaining itself at the height to which the early enthusiasm of passion had exalted it; he
fell down, grovelling among earthly doubts, and defiled therewith the pure whiteness of
Beatrice’s image. Not that he gave her up; he did but distrust. He resolved to institute
some decisive test that should satisfy him, once for all, whether there were those dreadful
peculiarities in her physical nature, which could not be supposed to exist without some
correspond ing monstrosity of soul. His eyes, gazing down afar, might have deceived him
as to the lizard, the insect, and the flowers. But if he could witness, at the distance of a
few paces, the sudden blight of one fresh and healthful flower in Beatrice’s hand, there
would be room for no further question. With this idea, he hastened to the florist’s, and
purchased a bouquet that was still gemmed with the morning dew-drops.
It was now the customary hour of his daily interview with Beatrice. Before descending
into the garden, Giovanni failed not to look at his figure in the mirror; a vanity to be
expected in a beautiful young man, yet, as displaying itself at that troubled and feverish
moment, the token of a certain shallowness of feeling and insincerity of character. He did
gaze, however, and said to himself, that his features had never before possessed so rich a
grace, nor his eyes such vivacity, nor his cheeks so warm a hue of superabundant life.
“At least,” thought he, “her poison has not yet insinuated itself into my system. I am no
flower to perish in her grasp!”
With that thought, he turned his eyes on the bouquet, which he had never once laid aside
from his hand. A thrill of indefinable horror shot through his frame, on perceiving that
those dewy flowers were alr eady beginning to droop; they wore the aspect of things that
had been fresh and lovely, yesterday. Giovanni grew white as marble, and stood
motionless before the mirror, staring at his own reflection there, as at the likeness of
something frightful. He remembered Baglioni’s remark about the fragrance that seemed
to pervade the chamber. It must have been the poison in his breath! Then he shuddered–
shuddered at himself! Recovering from his stupor, he began to watch, with curious eye, a
spider that was busily at work, hanging its web from the antique cornice of the apartment,
crossing and re-crossing the artful system of interwoven lines, as vigorous and active a
spider as ever dangled from an old ceiling. Giovanni bent towards the insect, and emitted
a deep, long breath. The spider suddenly ceased its toil; the web vibrated with a tremor
originating in the body of the small artizan. Again Giovanni sent forth a breath, deeper,
longer, and imbued with a venomous feeling out of his heart; he knew not whether he
were wicked or only desperate. The spider made a convulsive gripe with his limbs, and
hung dead across the window.
“Accursed! Accursed!” muttered Giovanni, addressing himself. “Hast thou grown so
poisonous, that this deadly insect perishes by thy breath?”
At that moment, a rich, sweet voice came floating up from the garden: “Giovanni!
Giovanni! It is past the hour! Why tarriest thou! Come down!”
“Yes,” muttered Giovanni again. “She is the only being whom my breath may not slay!
Would that it might!”
He rushed down, and in an instant, was standing before the bright and loving eyes of
Beatrice. A moment ago, his wrath and despair had been so fierce that he could have
desired nothing so much as to wither her by a glance. But, with her actual presence, there
came influences which had too real an existence to be at once shaken off; recollections of
the delicate and benign power of her feminine nature, which had so often enveloped him
in a religious calm; recollections of many a holy and passionate outgush of her heart,
when the pure fountain had been unsealed from its depths, and made visible in its
transparency to his mental eye; recollections which, had Giovanni known how to estimate
them, would have assured him that all this ugly mystery was but an earthly illusion, and
that, whatever mist of evil might seem to have gathered over her, the real Beatrice was a
heavenly angel. Incapable as he was of such high faith, still her presence had not utterly
lost its magic. Giovanni’s rage was quelled into an aspect of sullen insensibility. Beatrice,
with a quick spiritual sense, immediately felt that there was a gulf of blackness between
them, which neither he nor she could pass. They walked on together, sad and silent, and
came thus to the marble fountain, and to its pool of water on the ground, in the midst of
which grew the shrub that bore gem- like blossoms. Giovanni was affrighted at the eager
enjoyment–the appetite, as it were–with which he found himself inhaling the fragrance
of the flowers.
“Beatrice,” asked he abrup tly, “whence came this shrub!”
“My father created it,” answered she, with simplicity.
“Created it! created it!” repeated Giovanni. “What mean you, Beatrice?”
“He is a man fearfully acquainted with the secrets of nature,” replied Beatrice; “and, at
the hour when I first drew breath, this plant sprang from the soil, the offspring of his
science, of his intellect, while I was but his earthly child. Approach it not!” continued
she, observing with terror that Giovanni was drawing nearer to the shrub. “It has qua lities
that you little dream of. But I, dearest Giovanni–I grew up and blossomed with the plant,
and was nourished with its breath. It was my sister, and I loved it with a human affection:
for–alas! hast thou not suspected it? there was an awful doom.”
Here Giovanni frowned so darkly upon her that Beatrice paused and trembled. But her
faith in his tenderness reassured her, and made her blush that she had doubted for an
“There was an awful doom,” she continued,–“the effect of my father’s fatal love of
science–which estranged me from all society of my kind. Until Heaven sent thee, dearest
Giovanni, Oh! how lonely was thy poor Beatrice!”
“Was it a hard doom?” asked Giovanni, fixing his eyes upon her.
“Only of late have I known how hard it was,” answered she tenderly. “Oh, yes; but my
heart was torpid, and therefore quiet.”
Giovanni’s rage broke forth from his sullen gloom like a lightning- flash out of a dark
“Accursed one!” cried he, with venomous scorn and anger. “And finding thy solitude
wearisome, thou hast severed me, likewise, from all the warmth of life, and enticed me
into thy region of unspeakable horror!”
“Giovanni!” exclaimed Beatrice, turning her large bright eyes upon his face. The force of
his words had not found its way into her mind; she was merely thunder-struck.
“Yes, poisonous thing!” repeated Giovanni, beside himself with passion. “Thou hast done
it! Thou hast blasted me! Thou hast filled my veins with poison! Thou hast made me as
hateful, as ugly, as loathsome and deadly a creature as thyself–a world’s wonder of
hideous monstrosity! Now–if our breath be happily as fatal to ourselves as to all others–
let us join our lips in one kiss of unutterable hatred, and so die!”
“What has befallen me?” murmured Beatrice, with a low moan out of her heart. “Holy
Virgin pity me, a poor heartbroken child!”
“Thou! Dost thou pray?” cried Giovanni, still with the same fiendish scorn. “Thy very
prayers, as they come from thy lips, taint the atmosphere with death. Yes, yes; 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!”
“Giovanni,” said Beatrice calmly, for her grief was beyond passion, “Why dost thou join
thyself with me thus in those terrible words? I, it is true, am the horrible thing thou
namest me. But thou!–what hast thou to do, save with one other shudder at my hideous
misery, to go forth out of the garden and mingle with thy race, and forget that there ever
crawled on earth such a monster as poor Beatrice?”
“Dost thou pretend ignorance?” asked Giovanni, scowling upon her. “Behold! This power
have I gained from the pure daughter of Rappaccini!”
There was a swarm of summer- insects flitting through the air, in search of the food
promised by the flower-odors of the fatal garden. They circled round Giovanni’s head,
and were evidently attracted towards him by the same influence which had drawn them,
for an instant, within the sphere of several of the shrubs. He sent forth a breath among
them, and smiled bitterly at Beatrice, as at least a score of the insects fell dead upon the
“I see it! I see it!” shrieked Beatrice. “It is my father’s fatal science? No, no, Giovanni; it
was not I! Never, never! I dreamed only to love thee, and be with thee a little time, and so
to let thee pass away, leaving but thine image in mine heart. For, Giovanni–believe it–
though my body be nourished with poison, my spirit is God’s creature, and craves love as
its daily food. But my father!–he has united us in this fearful sympathy. Yes; spurn me!–
tread upon me!–kill me! Oh, what is death, after such words as thine? But it was not I!
Not for a world of bliss would I have done it!”
Giovanni’s passion had exhausted itself in its outburst from his lips. There now came
across him a sense, mournful, and not without tenderness, of the intimate and peculiar
relationship between Beatrice and himself. They stood, as it were, in an utter solitude,
which would be made none the less solitary by the densest throng of human life. Ought
not, then, the desert of humanity around them to press this insulated pair closer together?
If they should be cruel to one another, who was there to be kind to them? Besides,
thought Giovanni, might there not still be a hope of his returning within the limits of
ordinary nature, and leading Beatrice–the redeemed Beatrice–by the hand? Oh, weak,
and selfish, and unworthy spirit, that could dream of an earthly union and earthly
happiness as possible, after such deep love had been so bitterly wronged as was Beatrice’s
love by Giovanni’s blighting words! No, no; there could be no such hope. She must pass
heavily, with that broken heart, across the borders of Time–she must bathe her hurts in
some fount of Paradise, and forget her grief in the light of immortality–and there be well!
But Giovanni did not know it.
“Dear Beatrice,” said he, approaching her, while she shrank away, as always at his
approach, but now with a different impulse–“dearest Beatrice, our fate is not yet so
desperate. Behold! There is a medicine, potent, as a wise physician has assured me, and
almost divine in its efficacy. It is composed of ingredients the most opposite to those by
which thy awful father has brought this calamity upon thee and me. It is distilled of
blessed herbs. Shall we not quaff it together, and thus be purified from evil?”
“Give it me!” said Beatrice, extending her hand to receive the little silver phial which
Giovanni took from his bosom. She added, with a peculiar emphasis: “I will drink–but do
thou await the result.”
She put Baglioni’s antidote to her lips; and, at the same moment, the figure of Rappaccini
emerged from the portal, and came slowly towards the marble fountain. As he drew near,
the pale man of science seemed to gaze with a triumphant expression at the beautiful
youth and maiden, as might an artist who should spend his life in achieving a picture or a
group of statuary, and finally be satisfied with his success. He paused–his bent form
grew erect with conscious power, he spread out his hand over them, in the attitude of a
father imploring a blessing upon his children. But those were the same hands that had
thrown poison into the stream of their lives! Giovanni trembled. Beatrice shuddered very
nervously, and pressed her hand upon her heart.
“My daughter,” said Rappaccini, “thou art no longer lonely in the world! Pluck one of
those precious gems from thy sister shrub, and bid thy bridegroom wear it in his bosom.
It will not harm him now! My science, and the sympathy between thee and him, have so
wrought within his system, that he now stands apart from common men, as thou dost,
daughter of my pride and triumph, from ordinary women. Pass on, then, through the
world, most dear to one another, and dreadful to all besides!”
“My father,” said Beatrice, feebly–and still, as she spoke, she kept her hand upon her
heart–“wherefore didst thou inflict this miserable doom upon thy child?”
“Miserable!” exclaimed Rappaccini. “What mean you, foolish girl? Dost thou deem 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 as
terrible as thou art beautiful? Wouldst thou, then, have preferred the condition of a weak
woman, exposed to all evil, and capable of none?”
“I would fain have been loved, not feared,” murmured Beatrice, sinking down upon the
ground.– “But now it matters not; I am going, father, where the evil, which thou 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
To Beatrice–so radically had her earthly part been wrought upon by Rappaccini’s skill–
as poison had been life, so the powerful antidote was death. And thus the poor victim of
man’s ingenuity and of thwarted nature, and of the fatality that attends all such efforts of
perverted wisdom, perished there, at the feet of her father and Giovanni. Just at that
moment, Professor Pietro Baglioni looked forth from the window, and called loudly, in a
tone of triumph mixed with horror, to the thunder-stricken man of science: “Rappaccini!
Rappaccini! And is this the upshot of your experiment?”

Get Professional Assignment Help Cheaply

Buy Custom Essay

Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?

Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.

Why Choose Our Academic Writing Service?

  • Plagiarism free papers
  • Timely delivery
  • Any deadline
  • Skilled, Experienced Native English Writers
  • Subject-relevant academic writer
  • Adherence to paper instructions
  • Ability to tackle bulk assignments
  • Reasonable prices
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Get superb grades consistently

Online Academic Help With Different Subjects


Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.


Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.

Computer science

Computer science is a tough subject. Fortunately, our computer science experts are up to the match. No need to stress and have sleepless nights. Our academic writers will tackle all your computer science assignments and deliver them on time. Let us handle all your python, java, ruby, JavaScript, php , C+ assignments!


While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.


Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.


In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.


Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.


We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!


We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.


Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.

What discipline/subjects do you deal in?

We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.

Are your writers competent enough to handle my paper?

Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.

What if I don’t like the paper?

There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.

Reasons being:

  • When assigning your order, we match the paper’s discipline with the writer’s field/specialization. Since all our writers are graduates, we match the paper’s subject with the field the writer studied. For instance, if it’s a nursing paper, only a nursing graduate and writer will handle it. Furthermore, all our writers have academic writing experience and top-notch research skills.
  • We have a quality assurance that reviews the paper before it gets to you. As such, we ensure that you get a paper that meets the required standard and will most definitely make the grade.

In the event that you don’t like your paper:

  • The writer will revise the paper up to your pleasing. You have unlimited revisions. You simply need to highlight what specifically you don’t like about the paper, and the writer will make the amendments. The paper will be revised until you are satisfied. Revisions are free of charge
  • We will have a different writer write the paper from scratch.
  • Last resort, if the above does not work, we will refund your money.

Will the professor find out I didn’t write the paper myself?

Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.

What if the paper is plagiarized?

We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.

When will I get my paper?

You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.

Will anyone find out that I used your services?

We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.

How our Assignment Help Service Works

1. Place an order

You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.

2. Pay for the order

Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.

3. Track the progress

You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.

4. Download the paper

The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.

smile and order essay GET A PERFECT SCORE!!! smile and order essay Buy Custom Essay

Place your order
(550 words)

Approximate price: $22

Calculate the price of your order

550 words
We'll send you the first draft for approval by September 11, 2018 at 10:52 AM
Total price:
The price is based on these factors:
Academic level
Number of pages
Basic features
  • Free title page and bibliography
  • Unlimited revisions
  • Plagiarism-free guarantee
  • Money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 support
On-demand options
  • Writer’s samples
  • Part-by-part delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • Copies of used sources
  • Expert Proofreading
Paper format
  • 275 words per page
  • 12 pt Arial/Times New Roman
  • Double line spacing
  • Any citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)

Our guarantees

Delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price is not enough anymore.
That’s why we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees that will make your experience with our service enjoyable, easy, and safe.

Money-back guarantee

You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.

Read more

Zero-plagiarism guarantee

Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.

Read more

Free-revision policy

Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.

Read more

Privacy policy

Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.

Read more

Fair-cooperation guarantee

By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.

Read more
error: Content is protected !!
Open chat
Need assignment help? You can contact our live agent via WhatsApp using +1 718 717 2861

Feel free to ask questions, clarifications, or discounts available when placing an order.
  +1 718 717 2861           + 44 161 818 7126           [email protected]
  +1 718 717 2861         [email protected]