Our story today is called"Rappaccini's Daughter."It was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne.We will tell the story in two parts.Here is Kay Gallant with the first part of our story.Many years ago,a young man named Giovanni Guasconti left his home in Naples to study in northern Italy.He rented a small room on the top floor of a dark and ancient palace.Long ago,the building had belonged to a noble family.Now,an old woman,Signora Lisabetta,rented its rooms to students at the University of Padua.Giovanni's room had a small window.From it he could see a large garden that had many plants and flowers."Does the garden belong to you?"he asked Signora Lisabetta one day."Oh no!"she said quickly."That garden belongs to the famous doctor,Giacomo Rappaccini.People say he uses those plants to make strange kinds of medicine.He lives in that small brown house in the garden with his daughter,Beatrice."Giovanni often sat by his window to look at the garden.He had never seen so many different kinds of plants.They all had enormous green leaves and magnificent flowers in every color of the rainbow.
Giovanni's favorite plant was in a white marble vase near the house.It was covered with big purple flowers.One day,while Giovani was looking out his window,he saw an old man in a black cape walking in the garden.The old man was tall and thin.His face was an unhealthy yellow color.His black eyes were very cold.The old man wore thick gloves on his hands and a mask over his mouth and nose.He walked carefully among the plants,as if he were walking among wild animals or poisonous snakes.Although he looked at the flowers very closely,he did not touch or smell any of them.When the old man arrived at the plant with the big purple flowers,he stopped.He took off his mask and called loudly,"Beatrice!Come help me!""I am coming,Father.What do you want?"answered a warm young voice from inside the house.A young woman came into the garden.Her thick,dark hair fell around her shoulders in curls.Her cheeks were pink and her eyes were large and black.
She seemed full of life,health and energy as she walked among the plants.Giovanni thought she was as beautiful as the purple flowers in the marble vase.The old man said something to her.She nodded her head as she touched and smelled the flowers that her father had been so careful to avoid.Several weeks later,Giovanni went to visit Pietro Baglioni,a friend of his father's.Professor Baglioni taught medicine at the university.During the visit,Giovanni asked about Doctor Rappaccini."He is a great scientist,"Professor Baglioni replied."But he is also a dangerous man.""Why?"asked Giovanni.The older man shook his head slowly."Because Rappaccini cares more about science than he does about people.He has created many terrible poisons from the plants in his garden.He thinks he can cure sickness with these poisons.It is true that several times he has cured a very sick person that everyone thought would die.But Rappaccini's medicine has also killed many people.I think he would sacrifice any life,even his own,for one of his experiments."