E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Galère (2 syl.).
Que diable allait-il faire dans cette galère? (What business had he to be on that galley?) This is from Molières comedy of Les Fourberies de Scapin. Scapin wants to bamboozle Géronte out of his money, and tells him that his master (Gérontes son) is detained prisoner on a Turkish galley, where he went out of curiosity. He adds, that unless the old man will ransom him, he will be taken to Algiers as a slave. Géronte replies to all that Scapin urges, What business had he to go on board the galley? The retort is given to those who beg money to help them out of difficulties which they have brought on themselves. I grant you are in trouble, but what right had you to go on the galley?