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11i.]   ORIGIN OF TASTE FOR SCIENCE.   193

on the contrary, the ruling motives in the disposition of a man usually change as he grows older, the love of inquiry in childhood being superseded by the fierce passions of youth, and these by the ambitions of more mature life. But a special taste for science seems frequently to be so ingrained in the constitution of scientific men, that it asserts itself throughout their whole existence. Obviously it must have had great influence in directing their early studies and in ensuring their successful prosecution of them in after years.

It would be a curious inquiry to seek the limits of a special taste, that is the diversity of the objects, any one of which would satisfy it. I think the indications are clear that the tastes of some of my correspondents are far more special than those of others, and that the latter have checked a tendency to desultoriness by their strength of will, or have had it checked by the necessities of their position as professors or professional men ; or, most of all, by the possession of that strange quality