deal a blow

Also found in: Idioms.
References in classic literature ?
And when he does deal a blow, oh, that proves a misfortune
Once crowded in here, the creatures were prisoned, each in a separate pen, by gates that shut, leaving them no room to turn around; and while they stood bellowing and plunging, over the top of the pen there leaned one of the "knockers," armed with a sledge hammer, and watching for a chance to deal a blow.