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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    SSoL: finding a short story?

    There's a story I love. By a famous author only I can't remember the author, the title, or the name of the major characters.

    I've even thought of styling my next home and themed garden after it...

    Martha Stewart wrote an intro to a book that was all about gardens in short stories and this one was in there.

    It was something like _Rappacini's Daughter_ or _DeNicola's Garden_ but the author's surname is not Italian, if that helps.

    The story's main character has an apartment overlooking a private courtyard with an eerily beautiful garden. Rampant growth of unusually vivid hues, unrecognizable flowers that seem to never be harmed by insects, and tantalizing scents that barely reach the man looking out his window. The mad doctore is a physician who lives with his only child, a beautiful young woman that is never seen out on the town. She stays in the garden as much as possible. The doctor avoids touching the flowers but the maiden caresses them and inhales deeply of their nectar. The young man falls in love from afar. He swoons at the window, thinking it must be unrequited love for this mysterious beauty.

    If that vignette is not obvious, here is the spoiler: She's raised among these poisonous plants collected by Il Doctore. He is somewhat desensitized to the toxins they produce, but she positively thrives on them. No creature can survive around them and the suitor will die if he continues to breathe in the pollens that waft up to his window. He will also die if he touches the poisonous beauty. What an idiot! He gives up the chance for a brief moment of amore because he's afraid of death.

    Can anybody tell me the author and the story title? Or either one? I kinda think the four syllables starting with R is correct for the title surname. I get bogged down thinking Hawthorne for the author, but am sure that can't be right.

    Maybe I've breathed too many poisonous perfumes?

    Thx for your help.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    92,999,999 miles from the sun & counting
    That sounds like Rappaccini's Daughter, which I know of mostly because some friends of mine were in the play last year.

    Hey look! I found the whole story online! It is Hawthorne.

  4. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Holy cow, Katrin! Thanks ever so much...

    Interesting how I didn't trust my own recollection on this one. It just seemed that it couldn't be right, that I couldn't have remembered, and it would certainly not be Hawthorne.

    And it's made into a play? Fascinating.

    This story seizes my imagination as much as _The Secret Garden_. I've had themed gardens before, but want some unusal poisonous plants growing rampant over aged statuary, the centerpiece being a datura stramonium.

  5. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    great story, I remembered it vaguely from your description and have enjoyed it again, thanks :)


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