Ruby Roberts - the lady billiards champion

Ruby Roberts

The Lady Billiards Champion

Diary of my travels abroad 1910-1911 (8)
Ruby Roberts, the lady billiards champion - Diary Entry 8

“The game has done wonders for her,” says Memmott. It has given suppleness to her waist, grace to her deportment and movements, and beauty to her arms and hands. - (1907). The Lone hand Retrieved December 27, 2023, from

Mr Gray was waiting for me and he did look well in his military dress suit with all the medals. He also wore some order but I forget the name of it. Anyhow I felt very proud to be escorted by such a distinguished looking man. He had booked seats for the Victoria Theatre which were producing the “Magistrate”. I thought at first that there was no necessity for him to wear full dress but when we arrived at the Theatre, the men were all dressed similarly.

Victoria Theatre Singapore 1905 via Wikimedia Commons

Had a great night. After the theatre we had supper so were pretty late getting to bed. Mr Roberts did not approve of late hours for me. He said it interfered with my playing but as he was one of the party that night he could not say anything. Next morning I awoke too late for breakfast and didn’t I get teased at Tiffin. Rested all the afternoon and had dinner with Mr Gray and his friend. They wanted me to go to some entertainment that evening but Mr Rathborn had promised to call and I didn’t like to put him off.

He arrived about 9pm and we sat talking and listening to the band. Dinner in the East is usually from 8pm to 9pm. Everyone seems to wake up in the evening and thinks nothing of going to bed in the early hours of the morning – I can understand it because the nights are the best time, lovely and cool. During the day it is too hot to do anything. Next day Mr Roberts left for Jahore and left instructions that I was to pack and go to Raffles and take all the luggage, some of his as well.

Raffles Place Singapore 1910 via Wikimedia Commons

I paid the bill and went to Raffles during the morning, saw the Manager (Joe Joe) as everyone called him, enquired what time the boat was expected from Penang and went down to meet Mum and Mrs R who were coming by the “Ipoh” but when I got there, they told me the boat had arrived an hour earlier. There was no sign of them and I was worried because they did not know of our change of hotel. I went back to Raffles and waited until they turned up.

To my surprise Mum did not turn up and when I asked Mrs R (Mrs Roberts) where she was, she told me she had gone to Oxley House as the tariff was far too high. I had to stay with J.R.(John Roberts) as I was under contract to him. Anyhow Mum came over afterwards and said she was very comfortable. Mr Gray took us for a drive before dinner and then booked seats for that evening for the theatre. Of course Mrs R was included and she thought Mr Gray a very charming man. I had to share my room with Mrs R. as the hotel was crowded. Did not like the idea, would rather have been with Mum. We had a lovely room with a small sitting room attached. We usually had Chota Hazri and afternoon tea there.

During the morning while I was having a game with Mr Gray, Mrs R came into the billiards room and informed me, that I ought to go by boat that afternoon to Port Dickson, instead of leaving next morning by train as had been my intention, which was wise because if I went by train I would not reach Seramban until 5pm. After travelling all day I would not do myself justice to play the same evening. So I decided to go by boat. Mr Gray was leaving that afternoon by the same boat so promised Mum to look after me. Mum came to the boat to see me off and we left very miserable. I hated leaving her so soon again. When we reached the jetty we had to go by tender to our ship which was called the “Selangor”. There were a number of people on board but only one lady, a Miss Brown. She seemed very nice so I chummed up with her. She was travelling with her uncle who was Grand Master of the Masonic Order. Mr Gray knew him so he explained that I had been put in his charge so we made a foursome.

We left Singapore at 3pm and just as we passed the heads we ran into a terrific thunderstorm. It came up very suddenly but did not last very long. The rain simply poured down, real monsoon rain, but it cleared after a while and by dinner the evening was beautiful. Of course, after dinner we spent the night on deck it being too hot to do anything but sit and talk.

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