“Exercises (In-door),” from The Corner Cupboard (1858).
“Females much confined within doors often suffer ill health from want of exercise. Nature demands it, and health cannot exist without it. The skipping rope, dumb-bells, battle-door and shuttle cock, &c. are all aids to the required end.
Dancing is one of the best preservatives of health, when enjoyed at proper hours, and not carried to excess. But this exercise can only be obtained upon particular occasions, when there are many to share it, and glad music contributes to heighten the enjoyment.
Really the best indoor exercise for developing a graceful bearing, and and for diffusing its healthful influence over the whole frame, is that of throwing balls dexterously, according to any contrivances of fancy. Persons who become experts in this practice may throw from one to eight balls with astonishing dexterity, the exercise being sufficiently stimulating to encourage its frequent repetition; quickening the eye, and imparting a healthful vigour to every muscle of the system.
A few neat leather balls are all that are required, and a room of moderate size will afford sufficient space. Dumb-bells are cumbrous and inelegant things, and the exercise they afford is monotonous and wearisome; besides which, they exercise but one part of the body.”