’Oh, my dear Miss Pratt, that cannot be the thing; for, in spite of my rheumatism, which really was bad enough last Sunday, I went on purpose to the Royal Chapel, to show myself in the closet, and knelt close to her ladyship. And, my dear, we curtsied, and she congratulated me, after church, upon my being abroad again, and was so happy to see me look so well, and all that—Oh! it is something very extraordinary and unaccountable!’
‘But, I daresay, a card will come yet,’ said Miss Pratt.
Upon this hint, Lady Clonbrony’s hope revived; and, staying her anger, she began to consider how she could manage to get herself invited. Refreshing tickets were left next morning at Lady St. James’s with their corners properly turned up; to do the thing better, separate tickets for herself and for Miss Nugent were left for each member of the family; and her civil messages, left with the footman, extended to the utmost possibility of remainder. It had occurred to her lady-ship that for Miss Somebody, the companion, of whom she had never in her life thought before, she had omitted to leave a card last time, and she now left a note of explanation; she further, with her rheumatic head and arm out of the coach-window, sat, the wind blowing keen upon her, explaining to the porter and the footman, to discover whether her former tickets had gone safely up to Lady St. James; and on the present occasion, to make assurance doubly sure, she slid handsome expedition money into the servant’s hand—’Sir, you will be sure to remember.’—’Oh certainly, your ladyship!’
She well knew what dire offence has frequently been taken, what sad disasters have occurred, in the fashionable world, from the neglect of a porter in delivering, or of a footman in carrying up one of those talismanic cards. But, in spite of all her manoeuvres, no invitation to the party arrived next day. Pratt was next set to work. Miss Pratt was a most convenient go-between, who, in consequence of doing a thousand little services, to which few others of her rank in life would stoop, had obtained the entree to a number of great houses, and was behind the scenes in many fashionable families. Pratt could find out, and Pratt could hint, and Pratt could manage to get things done cleverly—and hints were given, in all directions, to work round to Lady St. James. But still they did not take effect. At last Pratt suggested that, perhaps, though everything else had failed, dried salmon might be tried with success. Lord Clonbrony had just had some uncommonly good from Ireland, which Pratt knew Lady St. James would like to have at her supper, because a certain personage, whom she would not name, was particularly fond of it.—Wheel within wheel in the fine world, as well as in the political world!—Bribes for all occasions, and for all ranks! The timely present was sent, accepted with many thanks, and understood as it was meant. Per favour of this propitiatory