Healthful Sports for Young Ladies was written by Mlle St. Sernin, a French governess, and delightfully illustrated by Jean Demosthene Dugourc (1749-1825). The book, which described exercises that were appropriate for young ladies, was printed in London in 1822 by W. Clowes for R. Ackermann. The book can be viewed in the digital collection at the Library of Congress
A regency lady was not expected to unduly exert herself while exercising, but there were forms of physical motion that were acceptable. Swinging, playing hoops, see sawing, archery, and bowls and nine pins were sports that were not unduly frowned upon. Bowling became popular in Britain in the 14th Century and became a favorite pastime of King Edward III’s soldiers. During the 1400s, the game was brought indoors. Later, bowling became a favorite bar game, with many pubs sporting their own bowling greens. Heavy balls were rolled on a lawn at a smaller ball called the Jack. During the 18th century the game was called “nine pins” because of the number of pins used. The game was banned in Colonial America due to its association with drinking and gambling. On page 70 of her charming book, Mlle St. Sernin discusses a complicated scoring system:
The game of shuttlecock was fairly simple to play. There were no official rules and the sole object was to keep the shuttlecock in the air for as long as possible by hitting it up. When two people played the game, the idea was to keep the shuttlecock up in the air for as long as possible. A point was lost by the player who let the shuttle fall. A single person playing the game would tally the number of hits for as long as she kept the shuttlecock in play. Below is a description of the game for 4-5 people.
After the introduction of a net, the game, also known as badminton, became more regulated and competitive. Below is a charming explanation of how 4-5 people can play shuttlecock: