Here's our current candidate for the mentle of Mr. Chips, a mentle we are chary of bestowing. It is one of the those indefinables, an altogether charming and at first sight effortless bagatelle, which seems deceptively slight, but, with its quiet charm and humorous sagacity achieves a universality that sets its mark. Aunt Elsa is as distinctive and appealing a personality as Mr. Chips. Behind an exterior of impeccable formality, assisted by her deafness and her years, is a serene and imaginative New Englander, at the turn of the century. Through the eyes of her great nephew we come to know her, to puzzle over her monthly visits to Boston to inquire after her husband's ship, gone these twenty years, to question her fabulous tales of the son who left home at seventeen, and to conclude, with the other villagers, that she was a mite queer. Until at the close, she explains her life and the pattern she had built for herself ""a pattern on the ceiling"" -- to the small boy she loved. No description can quite capture the clusive quality. It is just one of those things.