And I sat back and marvelled secretly at this encyclopaedic-minded man, this Leith Clay-Randolph, this common tramp who made himself at home in my den, charmed such friends as gathered at my small table, outshone me with his brilliance and his manners, spent my spending money, smoked my best cigars, and selected from my ties and studs with a cultivated and discriminating eye.
It is long since that Leith Clay-Randolph (note the hyphenated surname) knocked at the back door of Idlewild and melted the heart of Gunda.
And so Leith Clay-Randolph came to Idlewild to stay, how long I did not dream.
Up the stone gully of Leith
Walk, when they came to cross it, the breeze made a rush and set the flames of the street-lamps quavering; and when at last they had mounted to the Royal Terrace, where Captain Mackenzie lived, a great salt freshness came in their faces from the sea.
He was a married man, with a wife in Leith
; but whether or no he had a family, I have now forgotten; I hope not.
He lived in the town of Leith
, which is near Edinburgh, and, in truth, is a mere suburb of Auld Reekie.
'The bailie's house was in the Canongate, and my uncle was going to the other end of Leith Walk, rather better than a mile's journey.
'When my uncle reached the end of Leith Walk, he had to cross a pretty large piece of waste ground which separated him from a short street which he had to turn down to go direct to his lodging.
We do not know how long he took to make his lengthy walk, but in September he was comfortably settled in Leith
, being "worthily entertained" by all the greatest and most learned men of the day.
Here, were the Leith
, Aberdeen, and Glasgow steamers, loading and unloading goods, and looking immensely high out of the water as we passed alongside; here, were colliers by the score and score, with the coal-whippers plunging off stages on deck, as counterweights to measures of coal swinging up, which were then rattled over the side into barges; here, at her moorings was to-morrow's steamer for Rotterdam, of which we took good notice; and here to-morrow's for Hamburg, under whose bowsprit we crossed.
I wish that I may never set eyes upon the water of Leith
again, if I pluck my horse's bridle ere I have seen this camp of theirs."
In 1821 he passed through a sudden spiritual crisis, when as he was traversing Leith
Walk in Edinburgh his then despairing view of the Universe as a soulless but hostile mechanism all at once gave way to a mood of courageous self-assertion.