He was quite brutally sent off

From Memoires of the Duc de Saint-Simon, who always took the time to record some good banter.  We are early in 1695 here.  The edition on my phone is different from my paper copy – the Pleiade set edited by Yves Coirault – but this is somewhere around pg. 215 in volume 1 of that edition.

Harlay had gone to Maestricht to sound the Dutch; but these approaches only puffed up the enemy and drew them the further from peace in proportion as they judged it more necessary for us … They even had the impudence to insinuate to Harlay, whose thinness and paleness were extraordinary, that they took him as a sample of the reduced state in which France found itself.  He, unphased, answered pleasantly that if they would give him the time to send for his wife, they would be able to conceive of another opinion of the state of the realm.  In fact, she was extremely fat and very high in color.  He was quite brutally sent off …

Harlay était allé à Maestricht sonder les Hollandais; mais ces démarches ne firent qu’enorgueillir les ennemis et les éloigner de la paix à proportion qu’ils nous la jugeaient plus nécessaire …. Ils eurent même l’impudence de faire sentir à M. d’Harlay, dont la maigreur et la pâleur étaient extraordinaires, qu’ils le prenaient pour un échantillon de la réduction où se trouvait la France. Lui, sans se fâcher, répondit plaisamment que, s’ils voulaient lui donner le temps de faire venir sa femme, ils pourraient en concevoir une autre opinion de l’état du royaume. En effet, elle était extrêmement grosse et était très haute en couleur. Il fut assez brutalement congédié, et se hâta de regagner notre frontière.

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