October 18th, 2006


"arrange the fatal flower in her bosom"

First, a link: blame Halloween.

And for those in a reminiscent mood, there is (courtesy of YouTube)...
* Opening Sequence from Disney's Halloween Treat
* "A Night on Bald Mountain" from Disney's Halloween Treat
* It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
* "What Should I Be?" from Garfield's Halloween Adventure

(See magicwondershow's post here for more great holiday viewing!)

Now to the story: today's excerpt is from the terrifying short story "Rappaccini's Daughter" (1844) by Nathanial Hawthorne, a great work of Gothic horror as well as an early example of science fiction.

``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 or verdure among those antique haunts of men until the heavy perfumes of Dr. 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 gazing 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.

- from "Rappaccini's Daughter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Read the complete short story.

Incidentally, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has a line of perfumes named after this story (the "Rappaccini's Garden" set).
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