Greasing the WheelsThe sending and receiving of gifts (never money!) in exchange for recent or future favors is common practice all through courtly society.
This is not considered corrupt. It's just the way things work. In fact, the system couldn't run without it.
There is no undue delicacy about defining what would be an acceptable gift, even to naming "a pretty dog" or a specific kind of hawk.
Quails are a prime delicacy, and can be used to sweeten a request, attract attention, or turn away wrath. (In the '40s, Lord Lisle bought them in large lots to give away a dozen at a time.)
You can send a gift just to let someone important know you're here, even without having a specific request or favor in mind. They'll owe you.
You may pass on a request from someone else. For example:
Most frequent douceur (sweetener) type gifts include:
Paying the Servants
Hartley: Lost Country Life
25 March 2008 mps