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A Stanford alumnus in London

From London, Stanford alumnus Bill Cortes sends a fact-filled pages-long report on European reaction to the World Trade Center tragedy. We here post an extract of his first-hand account of the service at St. Paul's Cathedral, in which he incidentally brings up the national anthem issue to which WAISer have paid so much attention. It is not necessary to remind them that the music of "God save..." and "My country, t'is of thee" is by Handel:

"The program began with the Star Spangled Banner. Considering the content and context of the lyrics, it was very gracious that the British sang so vigorously along with us. And of course, at this point the Americans in the crowd could be spotted: we were the ones with our right hands on our hearts, which I canít recall doing since school days. A few remarks from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the American Ambassador and Prince Phillip followed. And then we shared a rendition of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, which may have been the most rousing item on the program, and closed with God Save the Queen, which is my second favorite national anthem (with apologies to Francis Scott Key and compliments to my German cousins, my first is by Handel) and far superior to our own adopted English drinking song. But I digress. The Queen came out the Great West Door, chatted with other worshipers and was followed by a gaggle of Archbishops in bright regalia that puts even us Catholics to ecclesiastical sartorial shame".

My question: "Gaggle" is not in Webster. It means colloquially a "bunch", but what the origin and exact meaning of it are I do not know. There are only two Anglican bishops in England, namely of Canterbury and York, and that does not make a gaggle. The others must have been Roman Catholic or just humble bishops.

Ronald Hilton - 9/15/01