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The way we were: misbehaviour at work

Extracts from memoirs and diaries, chosen by Ian Irvine

By Ian Irvine   December 2015

John Aubrey, in his Brief Lives, records the appearance of the Earl of Oxford (1550-1604) at the court of Elizabeth I:

“This Earle of Oxford, making of his low obeisance to Queen Elizabeth, happened to let a Fart, at which he was so abashed and ashamed that he went to Travell, 7 yeares. On his returne the Queen welcomed him home, and sayd, My Lord, I had forgott the Fart.”

In 1860, Charles Dickens recalls an encounter with a “gentleman of comfortable property” from the Midlands, Mr Grazinglands, who came down to London with his wife to complete some…

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