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James Hilton's novel, Good-bye Mr. Chips, is a sentimental tale about a popular schoolteacher at Brookfield, an English boys school. Nearly the entire story takes place in the form of a reminiscence as old Mr. Chips sits happily in his rocking chair before a roaring fire one November night. A popular teacher, Mr. Chips became the most beloved figure at the school, eventually ascending to headmaster. He was known for his excellent memory for faces and for his way of turning a joke. His students, many who became leading politicians, loved him for his good humor and his kindness. As he sat by the fire, he thought about his wife, who had died many years before, and about the bombs the Germans rained upon the town during World War I. Mr. Chips, now 85 years old and retired, had been at Brookfield for nearly half a century before his retirement; now, as he remembered so fondly the good times he had enjoyed, there was a knock on his door. It was a young student who, he claimed, had been told that Mr. Chips had sent for him. Mr. Chips recognized it as a longtime prank the Brookfield boys had often played, but rather than embarrass the boy, he told him to sit and have tea. Afterward, the boy waved goodbye. He would later proudly tell his friends that he was the last person to say goodbye to Mr. Chips, for the old headmaster and teacher died peacefully in his sleep shortly after the boy left.
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