The most assiduous of our guests was a niece of the king, a pretty girl of about twenty, whose social situation and consciousness of her charms gave her a boldness and familiarity which never succeeded in displeasing us. She behaved in our home as she did in hers, brought us almost daily some fruit and flowers and took on a comical air of importance when she introduced to us, while recommending them, some of her friends. One of us asked them one day whether such intimate visits of young girls to foreigners did not raise the suspicions of their fiancés. A burst of laughter was the answer and visibly disturbed the questioner. “At your age,” said the naive local girl, “what danger could there be? You are too respectable to upset the most jealous lover.” Alas, we were taken for decrepit elderly people and it was not without a certain dismay that we discovered it. The length of our beards which starts very late among the Mongol race, served as the basis for the calculation of our age and since they had not been touched by a razor for a year, we passed for octogenarians in the eyes of the locals.
Garnier, Vol.1: 306