main thing

References in classic literature ?
"It is clumsy, but it will serve the purpose, and that is the main thing," I went on, yearning for her praise.
But it is no matter; size is the main thing about a word, and that one's up to standard.
"Don't flatter yourself, sir--but then, the main thing is, to have you with us.
Anyway it loosened up Rowena from where she was stuck and got her out of the way, and that was the main thing. It seemed a prompt good way of weeding out people that had got stalled, and a plenty good enough way for those others; so I hunted up the two boys and said, "They went out back one night to stone the cat and fell down the well and got drowned." Next I searched around and found old Aunt Patsy and Aunt Betsy Hale where they were around, and said, "They went out back one night to visit the sick and fell down the well and got drowned." I was going to drown some others, but I gave up the idea, partly because I believed that if I kept that up it would arose attention, and perhaps sympathy with those people, and partly because it was not a large well and would not hold any more anyway.
"The first and the main thing to be done," said Herbert, "is to get him out of England.
And if truth to life is the main thing the drama should keep in view, how is it possible for any average understanding to be satisfied when the action is supposed to pass in the time of King Pepin or Charlemagne, and the principal personage in it they represent to be the Emperor Heraclius who entered Jerusalem with the cross and won the Holy Sepulchre, like Godfrey of Bouillon, there being years innumerable between the one and the other?
And Sarah had food during a cold, dull winter, which was the main thing with her.
In order to be successful in any kind of undertaking, I think the main thing is for one to grow to the point where he completely forgets himself; that is, to lose himself in a great cause.
"The main thing with people of that sort," said Holmes, as we sat in the sheets of the wherry, "is never to let them think that their information can be of the slightest importance to you.
And the main thing is," he continued, "that I know, and know for certain, that the enjoyment of doing this good is the only sure happiness in life."
The speeches, judging from the little I could hear of them, were certainly adapted to the occasion, as having that degree of relationship to cold water which wet blankets may claim: but the main thing was the conduct and appearance of the audience throughout the day; and that was admirable and full of promise.
I am quick to turn my leathern shield either to right or left, for this I deem the main thing in battle.