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xlii   PREFACE

Many parents of the other Fellows in the 207 families were not noteworthy in the technical sense of the word, but were reported to be able. I t was also often said in the replies that the general level of ability among the members of the family of the F.R.S. was high. Other parents were in no way remarkable, so the future Fellow was simply a "sport," to use the language of horticulturists and breeders, in respect to his taste and ability. I t is to be remembered that " sports " are transmissible by heredity, and have been, through careful selection, the origin of most of the valuable varieties of domesticated plants and animals. Sports have been conspicuous in the human race, especially in some individuals of the highest eminence in music, painting, and in art generally, but this is not the place to enter further into so large a subject. It has been treated at length by many writers, especially by Bateson and De Vries, also by myself in the third chapter of Natural Inheritance " and in the preface to the second edition of " Hereditary Genius."