the small matter of (something)

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the small matter of (something)

Said in reference to a rather large or important issue that has not yet been completed or addressed. A: "Thank you for your services, Jennings. My valet will show you out." B: "Thank you, sir. However, there is still the small matter of my pay for the last three months.
See also: matter, of, small
References in classic literature ?
Captain," resumed the other, untying his little wallet with great deliberation, and even in a manner to show he found satisfaction in the delay, "I wish to offer you a small matter of trade.
Wherefore, bind the heathen crew, and bestow on them a small matter of stripes apiece, as earnest of our future justice.
And now, gentlemen, seein' as we've met so happily, I think I'll stand up to a small matter of a treat in this here parlor.