Interested in Language
I am totally at a loss about what the bold text means; can anybody help me? And does the word depleted mean the number of the choristers is much lesser now than it used to be before?
"Besides, sir, aren't we at such times in the manner of an array, "marching as to war", if you take me: it's a lesson in objects. The third verger leading: then the choristers, boys and men, though sadly depleted; then the minor canons; then any other dignitaries who may happen to be present, with the canon in residence; then myself, sir, followed by the dean."
All Hallows, Walter de la Mare, 1927.
Not a Teacher
You are correct regarding 'depleted'.
An array is an arrangement of similar objects. They're talking of organizing the marching order of the choir assembly, so it's a study of the object where in this case the objects are the positions of stature of the people in the assembly. You can learn about the relative ranking of the people by where they walk in the processional. The most important people enter last, the lowest ranking people enter first.
Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!