The leader of the escort was a strange looking, powerful fellow, and might very well serve the writer of a romance as the hero of his tale, in the character of keeper of an enchanted castle, when fierce, scowling looks, terrific frowns, and a peculiarly wild expression of countenance are intended to be naturally described, for the man’s stature was gigantic; his eyes large, keen, piercing, and ever in motion, his broad nose squatted over both cheeks; his lips immensely large, exposing a fine set of teeth; the beard was thick, black and gristly, and covering all the lower part of his face, reached to his bosom; the famous Blue Beard was nothing to him; and in gazing on his features, the observer might almost be inclined to believe, that all the most iniquitous and depraved passions of human nature were centered in his heart. Yet, with so unlovely and forbidding an appearance, this man was in reality as innocent and docile as a lamb. He wore on his head a small rush hat, in shape like a common earthenware pan inverted, or like the hats, which are worn by the lower class of the Chinese. His breast was enveloped in a coarse piece of blue cloth; from his left shoulder hung a large quiver of arrows, and in his right hand he held a bow, which he brandished like a lance; a short pair of trousers covered his thighs, and leathern boots, fantastically made, incased his feet and legs. His skin was of jetty blackness, his forehead high, but his tremendous beard, which was slightly tinged with grey, contributed, perhaps, more than any thing else, to impart that wildness and fierceness to his looks, which at first inspired the travellers with a kind of dread of their leader.
Thus escorted they travelled onwards, and after a hasty ride of six hours from Eetcho, they beheld from a little eminence, those black naked hills of granite, at whose base lay the metropolis of Youriba. About an hour afterwards, they entered the gates of that extensive city. As being consistent with etiquette, they halted under a tree just inside the walls, till the king and the eunuchs were informed of their arrival, which having been done after a wearisome delay, they rode to the residence of the chief eunuch Ebo, who, next to the king, was the most influential man in the place. They found this personage a great fat, round, oily man, airing himself under the verandah of his dwelling. Other eunuchs of similar appearance were sitting on the ground with him, and joining him in welcoming both of the travellers, but particularly Richard, to Katunga, with every appearance of sincerity, heartiness, and good-will. An uninteresting conversation now took place, which lasted for some time, after which, they walked altogether to the king’s house, which was at the distance of half a mile from that place.