Good-bye, Mr. Chips

by James Hilton

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Who is Sir Richard in Good-bye, Mr. Chips?

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In Good-bye, Mr. Chips, Sir Richard is the first boy that Mr. Chips punished when he began teaching at Brookfield. At that time, he was just plain old Richard Colley. Mr. Chips punished the young lad by making him write a hundred lines for dropping a desk lid. When he grew up, Colley would become an Alderman in the City of London. He would send his son to Brookfield, where the son, too, would be taught by Mr. Chips.

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Sir Richard Colley is quite an important man in the world. He's an Alderman in the City of London, the British capital's famous financial district. Back in the day, though, he was just one many young boys who passed through Brookfield School, the place where dear old Mr. Chips would teach for several decades.

When Mr. Chips first encounters young Colley, there's little sign that he will grow up to become anything special. When Chips takes his first class, he's determined to make his presence felt, to let the boys in his class know who's boss. Colley provides him with just such an opportunity by dropping a desk lid. Immediately, Chips is onto Colley like a ton of bricks:

"You there in the fifth row—you with the red hair—what's your name?"

"Colley, sir."

"Very well, Colley, you have a hundred lines."

From then on, Chips never has a moment's trouble. He's won the first crucial stage in the battle of wills with his pupils, which, as any teacher knows, is always the most important.

Years later, Sir Richard Colley, as he now is, sends his son—who, like him, is also red-haired—to Brookfield. He tells him how his father was the first boy Chips ever punished. Colley junior must've enjoyed his time at Brookfield, because he, too, sends his son to the school, where he becomes the third generation of Colleys.

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