HERE have been published, of late years, dictionaries of almost every conceivable subject, concordances to the works of our most eminent authors, and guides, bibliographies, handbooks, indexes, lists, and what not, relating to the subject matter contained in the literature of every age, all of which serve as so many keys to unlock the treasures of knowledge, much of which, without this extraneous aid, is, to the casual inquirer, or the earnest student, often extremely un-get-at-able.
Personally I have been, for nearly a quarter of a century, officially connected more or less intimately with literary men, and others, engaged in the eager pursuit of knowledge of every description, and have thus in a measure come to know their wants. One of the many of these, it is the purpose of this little book to supply. Oft and again, in my public capacity, I have been asked where such and such a fact or anecdote relating to Burns would be found, after many volumes had been searched through and much time and temper wasted on the part of the despairing reader. Some of these stories or anecdotes are contained in one work, some in another, some are disinterred from the pages of long dead and forgotten periodicals, while only a small proportion of them are common to a few of the best biographies of the poet. Thus, by gathering them all into a single collection, ready reference can be made to one volume, instead of, as hitherto, to many. This in itself, I consider, quite sufficient reason for the existence of thios book, if such was required. But besides being in its small way a work of reference, I trust it will also prove an interesting and entertaining volume to the general reader, and a not altogether unworthy stone to cast on the immense cairn of Burnisiana, reared during the century by worshipping admirers as a tribute to the genius of the illustrious Bard.