The dog ate my homework
Found while reading Blair Worden’s The Rump Parliament: the excuse of Sir Peter Wentworth, MP in the Long Parliament, for leaving London before Charles I’s execution and not returning until April 1649:
Honourable Sir, I must make my excuse to my master when I have played the truant: truly, sir, provision for my health was the occasion of my retiring into the country, I not being able to endure a whole winter siege in London, without a retreat to prevent many distempers which grow upon me for want of air and exercise : yet I intended but a short abode here, from whence I have not stirred at all; for it hath pleased God that sprains and bruises, by falls and other mischances, (one succeeding another,) have disabled me from pulling on a boot near these six weeks.
2. Letter from Sir Peter Wentworth to William Lenthall, Speaker of the Commons, 24 February 1649. Quoted in Henry Cary, Memorials of the Great Civil War in England from 1646 to 1652 (1842), p. 123.