When: Saturday afternoon (the 14th of May, to be exact)
Where: A certain Wonderlandian hatshop
Why: She's here to see a gentleman about a hat
For the past few months (or to be more truthful, nearly the past year), Alice has been preparing for her Presentation at Court. Brushing up on etiquette with Mother, dress fittings, more lessons—added to this were the preparations for Lorina's wedding ... the list went on.
Though she dearly tried not to show it, Alice was beginning to grow nervous. Yes, she had met the Queen before—Mrs Liddell had invited Her Royal Highness and the royal Princes to dinner when Their Majesties visited the college once—but Alice had been much younger then. This was entirely different. And what if she did something wrong during her presentation, wasn't (seemingly) perfect? Not only would she be terribly embarrassed, but her family would be affected, too. Alice couldn't let them down (this did little to alleviate her growing nerves on the subject).
After pondering for some time, Alice had thought of something that might help her anxiety. She generally bought her hats in London—especially now that she knew of Mrs Avery's shop. The milliner had opened shop early last spring and was a favourite of Alice's as her style was more whimsical than most (in fact, the first thing that had caught her attention upon entering Mrs Avery's shop was the cuckoo clock featuring tortoises). However, Alice had someone else in mind for her Presentation hat.
Not to say that she hadn't argued with herself on the subject. Mother would be scandalised if she knew Alice had a friend in trade—more so that her daughter intended to commission an item, then remain friends with said gentleman. (Likewise, Alice would have to slightly deceive her mother, say she purchased the hat on a shopping trip with friends—implying it was bought at Mrs Avery's on a visit to London. She certainly couldn't say where it really originated.) In the end, however, the side longing for a wildly imaginative (yet hopefully not too eye-catching and still appropriate for Court) hat to make her feel a bit braver won. (She suspected the actual asking would be a bit awkward.)
Alice neared the haberdashery—no, that wasn't quite right as Mr Hatter sold ladies' hats as well ... millidashery? She smiled at the nonsense word, thinking he'd probably appreciate it. With a deep breath, she squared her shoulders, pushed open the door, and entered the hat-shop to a tinkle of bells.