matter in hand

Also found in: Idioms.
References in classic literature ?
So intent had the squires, both combatants and spectators, been on the matter in hand, that all thought of the steep bank and swift still stream had gone from their minds.
You must take this matter in hand for them, my dear sir.
Wilson soon arrived, and, indisposed for business as I was at that moment, and little as I cared for the field or its owner, I forced my attention to the matter in hand, with very creditable determination, and quickly concluded the bargain - perhaps more to the thrifty farmer's satisfaction than he cared to acknowledge.
Bishopriggs, with equal alacrity on his side, turned to the matter in hand.
I've this matter in hand now, and I tell you plainly that you will have to earn your money.
Now his practical Scotch intelligence brought him back with a snap to the matter in hand.
In spite of my efforts to fix my thoughts on the matter in hand, they wandered away with the strangest persistency in the one direction of Sir Percival and the Count, and all the interest which I tried to concentrate on my journal centred instead in that private interview between them which had been put off all through the day, and which was now to take place in the silence and solitude of the night.