My Particular Friend footnotes: The Affair of the Reluctant Bachelor 8

Beginning with A Stout Drainpipe:

I am afraid that freed by the constraints of a hostess or other guests, we had treated the dining room as Liberty Hall and done just what we pleased.

From Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer, a comedy first performed in London in 1773:

HARDCASTLE. 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.

‘You are very kind, Mr Worcester. But would it not be best to adopt a firm policy with your aunt? Tell her that you have achieved man’s estate and that your choices are your own?’
achieved man’s estate: grown to adulthood

Charlotte also displayed her quick, tight smile. ‘Ah, perhaps I should have asked whether you are aware that Dunny-on-the-Wold is a notoriously “rotten borough?” My brother Michael has had occasion to mention it to me. It has but one occupant, a very elderly man if I recall.’
A ‘rotten borough’ was a parliamentary constituency that maintained its two representatives to the House of Commons despite its population having fallen precipitately, sometimes in contrast with a considerably larger nearby city. Old Sarum near Salisbury, with its three houses and seven voters, is the classic example of a rotten borough.
A ‘pocket borough’ is a borough completely under the control of one person or interest. Pocket boroughs were so common that sometimes members of parliament were referred to as ‘Mr So-and-So elected on Lord This-and-That’s interest.’
In this affair, Dunny-on-the-Wold went from being a rotten borough to a pocket borough, under the control of Sir Walter. I am actually uncertain that even the death of all its voters would have been sufficient to end a rotten borough.
The 1832 Reform Act abolished 56 rotten and 130 pocket boroughs and added 41 boroughs to more equally represent population and industrial centres.

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