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

The servant thinks for a moment."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 laying 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 of?"

"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."


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