It was late. The clock on the mantle had long past struck three in the morning.

“There” he thought, laying down his pen, and pulling off his spectacles. “Just the right sort of instructions a caring father should write down.”

He liked his study with book-filled shelves lining the walls. Over-stuffed red velvet wing-backed chair next to a deal table with lamp, brandy snifter and reading material. Within leg-stretch, a hassock, it’s embroidered covering worn and faded from generations of slippered feet. Faded Persian carpet, with multiple cigar burns, scattered with the inner workings from two or three newspapers. Thick curtains muffled sounds from the street. As masculine a room as a man could hope for. Truly his keep within the castle of his well-ordered home.

The men of his club had been bemoaning the women in their lives, over whiskey and sodas, in the members’ room this evening. Wives grown too matronly. Mistresses too demanding. Frivolous daughters whose main concerns were fashion, gossip and spending money. Or, worse yet, daughters proposing a career or attending university rather than being safely settled down with the proper husband and requisite children. All this flightiness and silliness was surely going to be the ruin of the Empire!

He secretly smiled. Yes, his wife was not the shy eighteen year old bride he had first taken to his bed. But she remained the shape of his heart. He had never seen the rationale for a mistress; all too complex and conniving. While his friends proudly produced sons, he was destined to have only daughters. He thought of them as he rode home in the carriage. Mulled over their futures as the maid took his cloak, top hat and walking stick. He mounted the stairs with ideas in mind; he would set their course within the world.

He knew he needed to write it down – his hopes and dreams for their lives.

“If you can keep your heads when all about you. Are losing theirs . . . and follow your hearts as each beat would take you. To hearth, home, and nursery. The opera house, the stage, the music hall. The halls of higher learning. The surgery, the laboratory. Or the newspaper office. Your future, your choice. Choose well.”

For mlmm Sunday Writing Prompt: If

image: Victorian Study by ookamikasumi (