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"What does she do?" I asked.

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"She gives luncheon-parties. You've only got to roar a little, and she'll ask you."

If more context is required the novel is freely available on gutenberg

Does it mean figuratively to make a small bit of effort (noise) to make yourself noticed?

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This recalls a rather rare expression "A literary lion", which means a famous writer a celebrity among authors.

You only have to roar a little

Suggests that he only has to act like a famous author and he will get invited to the lunch parties that Mrs Chadwick gives.

The expression "a literary lion" is now rather dated, but I've heard (for example) C.S.Lewis described as a literary lion (with the obvious joke, as his books all feature a large talking lion).

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  • This seems to be correct! Since just the next paragraph mentions "She held their weakness for lions in good-humoured contempt." However since it even skips 'literary' the reader is supposed to be quite accustomed to this meaning.
    – Predelnik
    Commented Dec 30, 2018 at 6:31
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It the has the usual meaning, to make a loud noise from the throat, like an animal.

Without further context we can only make intelligent guesses as to what is meant. A plausible guess would be that it is an exaggeration and means "let it be known that you'd like an invitation".

These are words spoken by a character, so you have to allow for idiosyncrasy.

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