THIS book is intended as a work of reference for the student and lover of the Waverley Novels, and, in a minor degree, for the humanist who sees in Scott a noble nature worthy of closer acquaintance. Its aim is that of a Dictionary and not an Encyclopædia--an identification and description, rather than a condensed narrative, of the multitude of characters created by Sir Walter. No fewer than 2836 characters are comprised in the Dictionary, and these include 37 horses and 33 dogs.
Some of the historical errors which appear in the Novels have been corrected in the Dictionary: see, for example, the Notes page 76, col. 2; p. 175, col. 1; p. 229, col. 1, and p. 271, col. 2. Short notes have been inserted as to the prototype of Jeanie Deans (p. 68), and Old Mortality (p. 198); and Scott's acknowledgment of his indebtedness to Mrs. Bethune Baliol in respect of the substratum of his Scottish fictions is reproduced on p. 16.
Comparatively few instances occur in which glossary notes are necessary, and these have, for convenience, been shown immediately after the passages in which the necessity for them arises, instead of being collected to form a Glossary separate from the Dictionary.
In the table of Novels which precedes the Dictionary proper, no attempt has been made to summarise the respective stories. It is hoped, however, that the chronological and other notes therein contained will prove of service in connection with the study of an author whose writings did much to stimulate that "historical sense" which was one of the richest gains of the human mind in the nineteenth century, and whose wide-ranging genius and sunny sympathies continue to win the affectionate attention and admiration of English-speaking readers throughout the world a hundred years after the preparation of his first Novel.