Mr. William H. Prescott, who was at this time interested in the study of Italian literature, addressed to Mr. Ticknor, on a stormy day in December, a letter, inspired by his reading of Petrarch, in which, among other things, he earnestly maintained the real existence of Laura. Mr. Ticknor, kept at home, like his friend, by the weather, replied at once with equal interest in the subject, but in a more sceptical tone, both as to Laura's existence and as to the relations between her and the poet who has immortalized her name. Mr. Prescott's letter is given in the Life of him by his friend, as well as the answer he made to the following:—
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