Ruby Roberts - the lady billiards champion

Ruby Roberts

The Lady Billiards Champion

Diary of my travels abroad 1910-1911 (19)
Ruby Roberts, the lady billiards champion - Diary Entry 19

Bonnie Ruby Roberts and boy Walter Lindrum, properly boomed and staged, might be worth a good many hundred pounds gate-money in England this coming winter. - (1913). The bulletin Retrieved December 22, 2023, from

Shwedagon Pagoda 1900
Shwedagon Pagoda 1900 via Wikimedia Commons

New Year’s Day Jan 1st 1911. After breakfast went to the club as usual for practice and had a game with Mr Barr. We had arranged to go with Mrs R to the Pagoda that afternoon and were to meet her there at 4.30pm. We had been told that we could go by train and we were anxious to have a ride in one as they were so funny. Well of course we got on the wrong one and went a long way out of our way. Then we had the greatest difficulty in making the native conductors understand where we wanted to go so at last we managed to get a gharry and of course arrived very late for our appointment which made Mrs R very annoyed. The Pagoda was the largest and finest I had seen. We had to climb umpteen steps but we took it easy and rested at intervals on the way. There are stalls at either side of the steps and natives selling candles, flowers and all manner of things. On reaching the top there is a most magnificent view out to sea. There is the large main Pagoda in the centre and hundreds of small ones surrounding it. These I believe are erected by rich natives as tombs for their departed relatives.

They all have a Buddha inside made of Alabaster or Brass and are beautifully decorated. We were very interested watching the Burmese women worshipping at the temples. They wear the most beautiful silks in delicate shades. The skirt I was told was a straight piece of silk which they wound round and round their bodies with the end tucked into the waist which they call a sarong. Then they wear short white muslin jackets which hang loose and in their shiny black hair they usually wear flowers. They are very picturesque. There were a number present and most of them lighted the candles and placed them, also the flowers before Buddha. We wandered all round the temple and saw the white elephant which is supposed to be sacred. He is not very white but a dirty grey colour. We gave him some bananas, then we had a look at the huge “bell”. It has a most beautiful tone and when it rings you can hear it for miles. On the other side are the monasteries and the priests. All dress in yellow, you can see them all over the place. I was told that they are not allowed to beg but if people offer them money they are allowed to accept it. We had a most interesting afternoon and enjoyed it very much. Went home in a gharry and left Mrs R at the Minter on our way.

(Jan 3rd) After breakfast I went out to Minter and J R gave a lesson. According to my contract he was supposed to give me lessons weekly but this is only the third since I left home. He is always too busy. I had to hurry back to the Royal and take Mum to Ahlme House. We got very tired of the Royal as it was right in the city, very noisy and hot so as we had been recommended to Ahlme we decided to try it. We were given a very nice big room and as it was only five minutes from Minter it was much more convenient for me. I was to play at Minter so had to have some practice on the table. The Ahlme was not very large but very comfortable. We had our own balcony fitted as a sitting room where we had most of our meals. As we had Sambo to wait on us we were quite well looked after. It was really more like a flat than a hotel. Sambo missed not being able to scout for me as he was not allowed at the hotel. We slept all afternoon when Sambo wakened us at 4pm with our tea, after which we went for a walk and came back in time for dinner.

Royal Lake Rangoon 1895 via Wikipedia
Royal Lake Rangoon 1895 via Wikipedia

(Jan 4) I rose early and went over to Minter to practice, they have a very nice billiard room. Rested all the afternoon, had a shower, dressed and went to Minter to meet Mrs R, we drove out to the Royal lakes and all round the gardens, sat and listened to the band for some time then went for a walk and drove back to Minter. Met Mr R coming back from the Gymkhana Club where he was to play Mr Taylor that night, went to see the match.

(Jan 5) Went to Minter after breakfast and had a game with Mr Nahapiet, the proprietor, who was a very nice player and very keen so he liked playing me, so he used to find time to play me each morning.

(Jan 6) Went to Minter and practised, rested all the afternoon as I was to play that night. We went to Minter for dinner. A rather amusing incident occurred there. At one of the tables not far from us was a party of young tea planters who had come down for the week end. They were very merry as they were drinking freely. At the end of dinner one of them laughed and said something to the others which I could not hear. Next thing I saw him jump up and catch hold of the table cloth at each end and pull. Of course everything fell to the floor with a great clatter and quite a number of the dishes were broken but nobody seemed to worry. I said to Mr Nahapiet afterwards, what an extraordinary thing to do! But he only laughed and said the damage would be added to their bills. We had a very good audience that night. I played Captain Good. My word he did fancy himself so I was delighted when I beat him. It was such an exciting game. He only wanted one point and I wanted 35. He thought he had the game won but I got going and went out with 35 unfinished. Wasn’t everyone pleased, I don’t think he was very popular. He was mad but everyone made a great fuss of me.

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