Mary Webb. “Our Immortal Jane.” Prose manuscript, fourteen leaves: the first nine, 10″ x 8″, thin off-white wove ruled paper; the last five, 9″ x 7″, pale rose wove ruled paper. Written on rectos only, with numerous ink corrections. Signed at the bottom of last leaf: “Mary Webb. / (Mrs. H. B. L. Webb.).” Written in pencil at the top of the first leaf (in another hand): “For February [next word illegible],” and “By Mary Webb / (Mrs. H. B. L. Webb).” This work by Webb is a review of the scholarly and authoritative edition of The Novels of Jane Austen, edited by R. W. Chapman (Oxofrd: Oxford University Press, 1923; 2nd ed. 1926). Published in the February 1927 issue of the Bookman. Webb observes: “. . . Jane Austen is our greatest woman humourist—if not our only one. The Brontës had surprisingly little humour, and George Eliot’s is of the obvious rural type” (a surprising comment, given Webb’s use of the pastoral novel form). Further on, Webb writes with her characteristic poetic imagery: “To read her [Austen] is like turning home in darkness, leaving the planetary systems wheeling on unknown ways, finding fire and candles alight, curtains drawn and supper ready. When we are afraid, after excursions into mystery with the poets, Jane Austen will comfort us.” Impressed by Austen’s charm and wit, Webb concludes: “Perhaps no eight words could express her so well as those on the facsimile title page ‘Sense and Sensibility / A Novel / By a Lady.’” Provenance: Frederick Baldwin Adams, Jr.