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Aural Delights Nov 2008

The A Bertram Chandler Story UFO is now available as an audio podcast from Starship Sofa Aural Delights No 48


Liberty Hall

John Grimes often welcomed his guests with the phrase "Come In. This is Liberty Hall; you can spit on the mat and call the cat a bastard!". There seems to be some interest in the origin of this quote.

One of the earliest variations of this quote seems to comes from the Oliver Goldsmith play "She Stoops to Conquer" written in 1773. The quote goes "Mr. Marlow—Mr. Hastings—gentlemen—pray be under no constraint in this house. This is Liberty-hall, gentlemen. You may do just as you please here." (www.bartleby.com/18/3/2.html)

A. Bertram Chandler used the phrase and it is used in nearly all the John Grimes books. It is first used in "The Road to the Rim" published in If magazine in 1967.

It was supposed to be used by Robert Heinlein in a "A Stranger in a Strange Land" which was first published in 1961. This does not appear to be correct. He has Jubal Harshaw say to Jill: "This is Freedom Hall, my dear. Everyone does absolutely as he pleases ... then if he does something I don't like, I just kick him the hell out." Similar concept but the words are different. So unless anyone can prove otherwise I will attribute it to Chandler.

A Bertram Chandler used the phrase in nearly all the John Grimes novels.

Thanks to everyone who have posted messages about this. I will try and add additional information as it comes to light. Please post any more information you have in the guest book.

Chandler used a few variations in his novels. These include

“Thank you, Mr, Flannery. Mind if I sit down?”
“Not at all, not at all, Captain. This is Liberty Hall. Ye can spit on the mat an’—”
“Call Ned a bastard? He mightn’t like it.”
-From The Big Black Mark.

“Come In. This is Liberty Hall; you can piss out of the window and put my only sister in the family way”
Captain Onlsow of the Triton

Other bastards in fiction

'What ho, my old boiler,' she screeched above the din. 'See you turned up, then. Have a drink. Have two. Wotcher, Magrat. Pull up a chair and call the cat a bastard.'
-Nanny Ogg talking to Granny Weatherwax in 'Sourcery' by Terry Pratchett