Ruby Roberts - the lady billiards champion

Ruby Roberts

The Lady Billiards Champion

Diary of my travels abroad 1910-1911 (18)
Ruby Roberts, the lady billiards champion - Diary Entry 18

The women who went to see Ruby and Walter play beautiful billiards at Alcock’s Rooms (Melb.) the other week were as taken by the personality of the performers as the men were staggered by the precocity of little Walter’s talent. - (1913). The bulletin Retrieved December 22, 2023, from

Rangoon Harbour
Rangoon Harbour via Wikimedia Commons

Xmas day Dec 25th 1910. Mum and I got up at 6am and went on deck for a walk. We had both had a rotten night, the bunks were so hard that next morning I felt as if I had been beaten all over. Forgot to mention that Charlie Lumb and Mr Taylor travelled in the same ship with us so after breakfast they raced me round the deck. Then we had a few deck games and by this time I was done so I put my chair in the coolest place on deck and read until Tiffin. We both felt terribly homesick as it was our first Xmas dinner. We simply could not eat it so we had some fruit. I love the pawpaw so I always fell back on it if the food was bad. We slept during the afternoon then had tea on deck and afterwards had a game of cards with the Captain, That night we had a ball and we dressed ourselves in our best but the Americans kept to themselves and would not mix with the other passengers so the officers came to our rescue and danced with us. Afterwards we got tired of dancing. It was dreadfully hot so we sat on deck and played cards. One of the officers brought out a fortune telling book and we all told each other’s fortunes which caused a good deal of fun so ended our first Xmas Day at sea.

(Dec 26) We did practically the same as the previous day. Just before dinner Mum took ill. I was so upset I sent for the ship’s doctor. He said it was a touch of malaria so I kept her in bed. Everyone was very nice and said not to worry she would be better by morning which she was thank goodness as we were due at Rangoon and I wondered what I would do if I could not get ashore. I got her on deck and it was a great sight going up the Irrawaddy River with the Golden Pagoda in the distance. It stands at a great height and can be seen out to sea. The centre dome, which goes up to a point, is all gold and the top is set with jewels, which glitter in the sun. On arrival we went to the Royal Hotel and I put Mum to bed as she seemed very shaky. I unpacked and went to the Post Office for our letters and I did collect a budget as we had not had a letter since leaving Colombo. We had been afraid to have our letters forwarded as we were travelling all the time. We were awfully excited to hear all the news from home and they cheered Mum up.

(Dec 28) Mum was much better but she woke up with a rash on her face and hands which worried us very much. We had visions of small pox etc. We were afraid to call in a doctor as we thought they may quarantine her so I took her to a doctor nearby. He said not to worry it was nothing and would soon disappear. He gave us a lotion to apply and by next morning they had quite disappeared and she was very much better altogether.

Fytche Square Rangoon
Fytche Square Rangoon via Wikimedia Commons

(Dec 29) Mr Taylor and Charlie Lumb were staying at the Royal so we had company at meal times. Mr and Mrs R went to the Minter Mansions. I was always glad when they did not stay at the same hotel with us as I am afraid they got on our nerves. During the afternoon we went for a drive out to the lakes about five miles from the city and they are surrounded by beautifully laid out gardens. There was boating on the lakes and in the afternoon the band played so it was very pleasant. We sat and watched the crowd and cars. It seemed to be the usual procedure to go to the lakes every afternoon about 4.30. We quite enjoyed the outing but coming back the old gharry rattled and shook the lives out of us. I felt quite sorry for the poor horse, he looked as if he could hardly stand much less carry us. After dinner we went to see Mr Taylor play an exhibition match.

(Dec 30) After breakfast we went to the club with Mr Taylor and I had some practice. Mr Humphreys, the secretary was a very nice man and we all had morning tea with him. During the afternoon we went for a drive round the city and as I was not playing that night we went to bed early.

(New Year’s Eve Dec 31 1910) Mrs R called and asked us to go to the ball at the Minter Mansions that night. After Tiffin I went to the club and had my practice. In the evening Mr Taylor and Mr Humphreys had dinner with us and afterwards they drove me out to the Minter where the ball was in progress. Mum did not come so I was in Mrs R’s charge. I had several dances. They also had a large Xmas tree on the lawn. It looked very pretty with the Chinese lanterns all over it and tiny lights. It was also laden with parcels and you paid one rupee for a ticket which had a number which entitled you to the parcel with a corresponding number. Several of the men bought me tickets so I had quite a number of small gifts. The Minter is a very fine hotel, one of the best I have seen. The ballroom was beautifully decorated and looked very bright and gay. There was about twenty fans going but it was still too hot for much dancing. There was a very good native band. Mrs R sent me home with Mr Taylor, got there about 1am. Mum was in bed but not asleep as she was not feeling too well.

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