Montreal Gazette 30 November 1901, page 4
St Andrew’s Ball a Great Success
Fair Debutantes Lend color to brilliant scene in Windsor Hall
Many Dance for Charity
St Andrew’s Society Guests hear the music of the pipes and make merry on night of nights.
The St Andrew’s ball, the chief event of the Scottish calendar, and one of the great functions of the Montreal season was held last night in the Windsor Hall. It was a brilliant success and its time honored appearances only served to set off the ball which all thoroughly enjoyed , and which went with a splendid swing. There were an unusual number of debutantes present, perhaps through the gloom which the death of Her Majesty Queen Victoria cast over last winter, and though recent bereavements prevented many well known Scotch families from attending, those who made their first public appearance in society yesterday will always look back upon the occasion with pleasure. From the first strains of the pipes to the last notes of Auld Lang Syne there was not a flagging moment, and the dancing was kept up with a spirit which showed how well everyone was enjoying themselves.
Probably no one who was there paused to remember that it was a charity ball, and yet the raison d’etre of the whole function was charity. From the warmth and light of the Windsor Hall to the cold and dark of a tenement house is a far cry; but if anyone had stopped to think they might have joined in the next dance not less happy because their enjoyment was made to help the poor and needy. The St Andrew’s Society, besides fostering Scottish spirit and Scottish customs, has another and a very noble side of its work.
THERE’S NO FEAR OF WANT
Through its aid no man or woman from Scotland or of Scotch descent need ever fear want and its hand is ever held out to the poor in the most practical manner anyone who came or whose parents came from the north of the Tweed.
Sometimes a man is helped to make a start when he lands in a strange land; sometimes a poor Scotch girl is sent back across the seas to her friends and relatives; sometimes a Scotchman borne down by the stress of misfortune or sickness is tided over his difficulties and given the best of service and attention. Wherever a poor Scotchman is there is the society’s province and many a man and woman has reason to bless the strong tie that knits all of Scottish blood together.
But there was no hint of all this yesterday in the gay throng that filled the Windsor Hall. The room itself was decorated most tastefully by Mr SS Bain himself one of the sturdiest of Scottish men. From the great chandelier to the walls of either side hung great ropes of greenery, and all along the gallery festoons half hid the balustrade. Every windowsill was laden with palms and ferns, and from these fell showers of variegated foliage. A great semicircle of fir trees at the lead of the hall, spoke of the bleak hillsides of Scotland, and hid at the same time, those who preferred the confidential talk to the masses of the waltz. The throne was draped in flags, British and Canadian, among which were seen the light blue banner of the society, and the lion rampant of the ancient kingdom. On the walls were two other of the society’s flags, and half way down one side of the hall, a bank of palms gave more opportunities for tete-a-tetes. The hallway was transfigured into a most cosy parlour, and flags and sofas, carpets and shrubs, altogether altered the usual bare appearance.
SIGHT WELL WORTH SEEING
Crevant’s orchestra was ensconced upon the canopy over the throne, and the gallery was occupied by a crowd of spectators who had come to see the dancing down below. It was a night well worth seeing. Perhaps the number of debutantes garbed in white and the prevailing love of black or pale tinted dresses took away from its brilliancy, but the uniforms of the officers, and especially the scarlet and kilts of the Royal Scots gave it a great deal of color. The Highland reel and schottische were the most picturesque features of the evening; comparatively few ventured upon them, but those who did formed a long line down the hall, and danced the traditional steps with the utmost grace and spirit.
It was nearly 10 o’clock before the skirl of the Royal Scots pipers in the long drawing room warned the guests that the dancing was about to begin. Long before the that the passages from the dressing rooms were filled with a crowd of stalwart men and fair maidens, comparing programmes and promising dances. But soon a move was made to the hall and here after the first white, the set of honor was formed. Those who took part were Mr AW Riddell, president of the St Andrew’s Society, and Mrs Doran; Lieutenant Colonel Roy, DOC, and Mrs Riddell; Mr WF Doran, President of St Patrick’s Society, and Mrs Macdiarmid; Mr JC Macdiarmid president of the Caledonian Society and Miss Schultze; Mr Ed Schultze president of the German Society and Mrs Fyshe; Principal Peterson CMG and Mrs MacMaster; Sir James Grant KCMG and Mrs Mackay; Hon Lieut-Colonel Mackay and Mrs Mabel Hickson.
Supper was served in the large dining hall, and the haggis was brought in with all the customary honors. The eight pipers came first, then six of the Royal Scots, each man wearing the South African medal bore the enormous dish all ablaze with fire, upon a stretcher on their shoulders. The confectionary as usual were triumphs of culinary art, and two suckling pigs, [illegible] the kilt, and with glasses in many paws, fell into each other’s forelegs, and seemed also to have been celebrating St Andrew’s Day.