To brace up

Related to To brace up: brace oneself
(Naut.) to bring (a yard) nearer the direction of the keel by hauling in the lee brace.

See also: Brace

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by G. & C. Merriam Co.
References in classic literature ?
I got to tell the truth, and you want to brace up, Miss Mary, because it's a bad kind, and going to be hard to take, but there ain't no help for it.