E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
now means a little time hence, but when the Bible was translated it meant instantly. When persecution ariseth by-and-by he is offended (Matt. xiii. 21); rendered in Mark iv. 17 by the word immediately. Our presently means in a little time hence, but in French présentement means now, directly. Thus in France we see, These apartments to be let presently, meaning nowa phrase which would in English signify by-and-by.