A hard case

an abandoned or incorrigible person.

See also: Case

References in classic literature ?
This Makawao is evidently one of them, and a hard case as well, if there's anything in Johnny's gammon about twenty pounds reward for him.
But as I know that it is a mark of prudence not to do by foul means what may be done by fair, I will ask these gentlemen, the guards and commissary, to be so good as to release you and let you go in peace, as there will be no lack of others to serve the king under more favourable circumstances; for it seems to me a hard case to make slaves of those whom God and nature have made free.
She supposed she must say more before she were entitled to his clemency; but it was a hard case to be obliged still to lower herself in his opinion.
This was a hard case for Cotton Mather, who saw no other way to rescue his poor child Samuel from the disease.
It was a hard case, upon my word"; and, "I do think you were very much to be pitied," were the kind responses of listening sympathy.
It was a hard case that a vigorous mood for quarrelling, so highly capable of using an opportunity, should not meet with a single remark from Mr.