ALEXANDER SMELLIE, son of William Smellie, the printer pf Creech’s edition of the poet’s works, tells the following anecdote regarding the Bard:- “Burns was in the habit of attending Smellie’s office to correct the proof-sheets. There was a particular stool in the office which Burns uniformly occupied while correcting his proof-sheets; as he would not sit on any other, it always bore the name of Burns’s stool. It is still (1844) in the office, and in the same situation where it was when Burns sat on it. At this time Sir John Dalrymple was printing, in Mr. Smellie’s office, an ‘Essay on the Properties of Coal Tar.’ One day it happened that Sir John occupied the stool, when Burns came into the correcting-room looking for his favourite seat. It was known that what Burns wanted was the stool; but before saying anything to Sir John on the subject, Burns was requested to walk into the composing-room. The opportunity was taken in his absence to request Sir John to indulge the Bard with his favourite seat, but without mentioning his name.
Sir John said:-
‘I will not give up my seat to you impudent staring fellow.’
Upon which it was replied:-
‘Do you know that that staring fellow, as you call him, is Burns the poet.’
Sir John instantly left the stool, exclaiming:-
‘Good gracious! give him all the seats in your home!’
Burns was then called in, took possession of his stool, and commenced the reading of his proofs.”