E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Quart dHeure (Mauvais).
A time of annoyance. The time between the arrival of the guests and the announcement of dinner is emphatically called the mauvais quart dheure; but the phrase has a much larger application: thus we say the Cabinet Ministers must have had a mauvais quart dheure when opening a number of telegrams of a troublesome character.