Aberdeen Press and Journal, 24 November 1893, p 2
The Governor-General at the Hallowe’en Concert
The “Gazette” also gives a report of the Hallowe’en concert, which the Caledonian society of Montreal provides every year for the delectation of the general public, and Canadian Scotsmen in particular. This year the proceedings were of a brilliant character on account of the presence of the Governor-General, Lord Aberdeen and also Lady Aberdeen. In course of the proceedings, and was a special feature of the evening, was the presentation of an address to Lord Aberdeen by the Caledonian society. The presentation was made by the president, Mr. James Harper. In reply, Lord Aberdeen said: – Mr. President and members of the Montreal Caledonian Society, or, if I may say so, fellow countrymen and fellow countrywomen, I thank you cordially for the welcome which you have extended to us, and for the manner in which, through this handsome and gracefully worded address, you have recorded your loyalty to the Queen and your goodwill towards Her Majesty’s representative. Such a manifestation of loyalty is no new thing on the part of Scotchmen, and this sentiment and principle is assuredly intensified by the fact that you are now also Canadians; and while I trust Scotchmen are not forgetful to entertain strangers, still less their fellow countrymen, the combination of the genial hospitality of the Canadian with that of the Scot will secure the maintenance and the manifestation of this quality. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a Scotch assembly and you know that Scotch people are of a modest and retiring disposition – (laughter) – at least, we claim to be that – strangely enough other people don’t always seem to see it. (Renewed laughter). We admit, however, that occasionally, for instance on Hallowe’en and St Andrew’s Day we do relax a little and indulge in some allusions to what we consider national characteristics. But even then the thing should be clearly understood: when we celebrate our attachment to Scotland, it is not with any idea of disparaging other nationalities, which, hand in hand with us, we trust will continue to build up the prosperity of this great Dominion. (Cheers.) Here, in Canada for instance, we ought especially to value, as I am sure we do, the sturdy and robust qualities of the Englishman – qualities which originally built up the grand and free constitution of England, which has spread, like a mighty tree, throughout the world with the extension of the British Empire. (Applause.) I am delighted to hear of St George’s Societies, as well as societies of St Andrew and St Patrick. Look, too, at the share which the Irish nationality, with its brilliant qualities, has taken in the same work. (Hear, Hear) Yes, we need the “triple alliance” of the rose, the thistle and the shamrock, and intertwined with them the maple leaf. (Great applause.) So we hope that neither our English nor our Irish friends will misunderstand the enthusiasm of Scotch people on a Scottish night. As to England, Scotchmen have in the past shown their appreciation of the older country. Do we not know of the historic Scot who declared that before he had been two hours in London “bang went sixpence?” (Great laughter) It is, perhaps, a little odd that you should be amused by such an observation, for I was taught when young (that is, when I obtained part of my education in England) that Scotchmen do not understand jokes. I confess I have always wondered why, if that is the case, they are so fond of making jokes, or at least attempting to make them. (Laughter) I have heard it said that a majority of the jokes sent to “Punch” emanate from Scotchmen, but I don’t know if it was a Scotchman who once said to the editor of a comic paper, “I suppose you must get a great many funny things sent to you in the course of a year?” “Oh,” said the editor, “you have no idea, I assure you.” “Well,” said the other, interrupting him, “why don’t you put them in?” (Much laughter) I believe that joke, at any rate, was not inserted! His Excellency then made cordial and graceful reference to the bunches of heather which had been presented to himself and Lady Aberdeen, and to their children and party. In the course of the evening His Excellency referred to the death of Sir John Abbot, remarking that though the gathering was of a social and even festive character, yet it would not be out of harmony with its purpose if they were to remember with sympathy those who were in sorrow. He suggested that the pipers should be requested to play a pibroch funeral march adding that to Scotchmen, and especially to Highlanders, nothing was more suggestive of solemnity and pathos than the mournful strains of a pibroch lament.
Before their Excellencies left the hall a beautiful bouquet of flowers, draped with the Gordon tartan, was presented to Her Excellency the Countess of Aberdeen. The vice-regal party left amid the “hip, hip, hurrahs” of the whole assemblage.