Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Mr. Chips is eighty-five years old, but he thinks himself far from ill. Dr. Merivale tells him he should not venture out on this cold November day, but he also adds that Mr. Chips is fitter than the doctor himself. What Mr. Chips does not know is that the doctor has told the landlady, Mrs. Wickett, to look after him; Mr. Chips’s chest clouds in bad weather.
Mr. Chips sinks into his armchair by the fire, happy in the peace and warmth. The first thing about his remembered career sets him laughing. He came to teach at Brookfield in 1870, and in a kindly talk, old Wetherby, the acting headmaster, advised him to watch his disciplinary measures. Mr. Wetherby heard that discipline was not one of Mr. Chips’s strong points. When one of the boys dropped his desktop too loudly on the first day of class, Mr. Chips assigned him a hundred lines and had no trouble after that. The boy’s name was Colley—Mr. Chips seldom forgot a name or a face—and he remembered that years later he had taught Colley’s son, and then his grandson, who, he used to say pleasantly, was the biggest young nitwit of them all. Mr. Chips was fond of making little jokes about the boys, who took his jibes well and grew to love him for his honesty and friendliness. Indeed, Mr. Chips’s jokes were regarded as the funniest anywhere, and the boys had great sport telling of his latest.
Remembering these things, Mr. Chips thinks growing old is a great joke, although a little sad;...
(The entire section is 1046 words.)
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