re foiled by his inability to 'bring three together on the stage at once,' as he confessed in a letter to Mrs. Shelley; 'they are so shy with me, that I can get no more than two; and there they stand till it is the time, without being the season, to withdraw them.' Narrative he could manage only when it was prepared for him by another, as in the Tales from Shakespeare and the Adventures of Ulysses. Even in Mrs. Leicester's School, where he came nearest to success in a plain narrative, the three stories, as stories, have less than the almost perfect art of the best of Mary Lamb's: of Father's Wedding-Day, which Landor, with wholly pardonable exaggeration, called 'with the sole exception of the Bride of Lammermoor, the most beautiful tale in prose composition in any language, ancient or modern.' There is something of an incomparable kind of story-telling in most of the best essays of Elia, but it is a kind which he had to find out, by accident and experiment
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