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No news is good news?
(heard it, chuckle)

(A really old story - I heard this one as a child from my great
uncle, who had heard it as a child around the turn of the century
on some primordial predecessor of the phonograph.  Send me e-mail
if you can identify its author.)

A gentleman is returning home after a length trip and is met by a
servant at the station.  This is the conversation that they have
on their way home.

"So, has anything happened while I've been away?"

"No, sir, I can't think of anything at all worth mentioning."

"Come now, I've been away for weeks.  Surely something must
have happened in all that time."

"Well, sir, come to think of it, your dog died."

"My dog died?  How awful!  Still, he was getting on in years,
and I suppose it had to happen some time.  How did he die?"

"The vet said it was probably from eating the rotten meat."

"The rotten meat?  Since when do we leave rotten meat lieing
around for the dog to eat?"

"Well, it was the horses, sir.  They'd been rotting for some
time after the barn burned down."

"Good heavens.  How in the world did the barn burn down?"

"It must have been some embers that blew over from the house, sir."

"The *house*?  The house burnt down too?  How did the house
burn down?"

"Well, sir, we think someone must have knocked over a candle."

"Oh.  ... Wait a moment - we don't use candles anymore to light
the house!  What were the candles doing there?"

"They were there for the wake, sir."

"The wake.  Whose wake?"

"Your mother's, sir.  She passed away quite suddenly."

"Oh my Lord.  Mother is dead.  The house is gone, along with
the stable.  Even my dog is dead.  <pause> What did Mother die

"It must have been the shock, sir."

"The shock."

"Yes, sir, the shock.  When your wife ran off with the handyman
the day after you left, sir.  But aside from all that, it's been
fairly quiet while you've been away, sir."

John J. Chew <> Univ. of Toronto, Dept of Mathematics

(From the "Rest" of RHF)

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