Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/275

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261
THE CHURCH IN THE COLONIES.

successfully in their midst as to earn for himself the high title of the "Apostle of the Maori Race" He speaks the Maori language as fluently as a native; he has made a complete study of their intricate national character; he is thoroughly acquainted with all their tribal customs and peculiarities, and has gained their absolute confidence and affection. It is of him that this pleasant little anecdote is told: "Father Walter is well known as a flute-player of more than ordinary ability; but few of the large audience assembled within the walls of the Panmure Hall, on the occasion of the concert recently held in the village, were prepared for the treat which was afforded them by the worthy parish priest, who contributed a flute solo, playing in his best style. On one occasion, in Auckland, when summoned on a sick call, Father Walter, having ministered to the spiritual wants of the patient, was chatting in his genial way, just prior to his departure, when his eye caught sight of a flute lying near by, and, taking it up, he surprised and delighted his hearers by 'rattling off' in great style 'Haste to the Wedding,' 'The Wind that Shakes the Barley,' 'The Pigeon on the Grate,' and many other old-fashioned but charming airs so dear to every Irish heart, and which have been played 'many a time and oft,' and will be played to the end of the chapter, at the 'harvest home' and merrymakings in the South of Ireland. Probably the most delighted of those present was the patient himself, who rapidly recovered, and was quite well again within a short time, such was the efficacy of Father Walter's novel prescription."

Father Walter's ecclesiastical superior for some years was the distinguished prelate who now rules the Archdiocese of Cashel, in Ireland. Dr. Croke's first episcopal appointment