Victorian London - Women - Health and Beauty - Gymnastic exercise


[Dr. FRANCES HOOGAN writes to the Standard strongly advocating gymnastics for girls.]

LET the Ladies learn gymnastics, if they please, as well as men,
Alternating feats athletic with the pencil and pen;
They'll improve too pale complexions, and their eyes will shine as stars,
After practice on the ladders and the horizontal bars.

Rounded shoulders, slouching gait, and also haply crooked spines,
By gymnastic exercises shall grow straight as mountain pines;
Let the girl then learn athletics who in Town are apt to droop,
Careful drill will make them upright and eradicate the stoop.

We should educate the muscles as we ever try to train,
By severe examinations, many a weary little brain;
We'll improve the dainty deltoid and the flexors of the arm,
While the shapely gastrocnemii shall obtain an added charm.

Muscular shall be our children as the heroines of READE,
And like SCOTT'S moss-trooper hero, they shall be "good at need;"
Having taken boxing-lessons, ill-used wives will turn like worms,
While the brutal British husband pusillanimously "squirms."

Punch, March 8, 1884