Rapacini's Daughter (2)
As he spoke he happened to look at some flowers he had Just bought that morning. A shock of horror went through his body. The flowers were turning brown. Giovanni's face became very white as he stared at himself in the mirror. Then he noticed a spider crawling near his window. He bent over the insect and blew a breath of air at it. The spider trembled and fell dead.
"I am cursed," Giovanni whispered to himself. "My own breath is poisoned."
At that moment, a rich, sweet voice came floating up from the garden, "Giovanni, you are late. Come down!"
"You are a monster!" Giovanni shouted as soon as he reached her. "And with your poison you have made me into a monster too. I am a prisoner of this garden."
"Giovanni!" Beatrice cried looking at him with her large bright eyes. "Why are you saying these terrible things? It is true that I can never leave this garden. But you are free to go wherever you wish."
Giovanni looked at her with hate in his eyes. "Don't pretend that you don't know what you've done to me!"
A group of insects had flown into the garden. They came toward Giovanni and flew around his head. He blew his breath at them. The insects fell to the ground dead.
"I see it! I see it! My father's science has done this to us. Believe me, Giovanni. I did not ask him to do this to you. I only wanted to love you."
Giovanni's anger changed to sadness. Then he remembered the medicine that Professor Baglioni had given him. Perhaps, the medicine would destroy the poison in their bodies and help them to become normal again.
"Dear Beatrice," he said. "Our fate is not so terrible." He showed her the little silver bottle and told her what the medicine inside it might do.
"I will drink first," she said. "You must wait to see what happens to me before you drink it."
She put Baglioni's medicine to her lips and took a small sip. At the same moment Rapacini came out of his house and walked slowly toward the two young people. He spread his hands out to them as if he were giving them a blessing.
"My daughter," he said. "You are no longer alone in the world. Give Giovanni one of the purple flowers from your favorite plant. It will not hurt him now. My science and your love have made him different from ordinary men."
"My father," Beatrice said weakly, "why did you do this terrible thing to your own child?"
Rapacini looked surprised. "What do you mean, my daughter?" he asked. "You have power no other woman has. You can defeat your strongest enemy with only your breath. Would you rather be a weak woman?"
"I want to be loved, not feared," Beatrice replied. "But now it does not matter. I am leaving you, Father. I'm going where the poison you have given me will do no harm. Good-bye to you, Giovanni."
Beatrice dropped to the ground. She died at the feet of her father and Giovanni. The poison had been too much a part of the young woman. The medicine that destroyed the poison destroyed her as w