true" corner- if not more complex: clans,
It would certainly be very easy to set out here a string of quotations which would show that some geographers take but a faint interest in anything outside their own work, exhibiting a sort of frank youthful arrogance somewhat irritating to their neighbours, combined with a propensity to be satisfied with words and formulre provided that they are trenchant and summary. How many there are who go carelessly about the world furnished with two or three large master keys, trying them on all the doors they come across:' happy if only they can find one where the bolt moves, however badly. "The first need of man is water. When surface water -is rare as in Beauce, or in the white and dusty Champagne, and in limestone countries generally, villages cluster densely round certain places where water is found or else stretch for several miles along a watercourse. When water is abundant and well distributed, as in the Ile de France, the Limousin, Brittany, Wales, etc., the dwellings are scattered" 1 ... Two extracts from a large-scale map to illustrate the statement and we have a general law formulated, a fixed geographical law, whose application knows no limit. But it is clear that "if the water oozes into any small hole that is dug, the houses might be scattered over the country, and that this isolation
would be less easy for them in the opposite case." 1 They might. .. As a matter of fact, it is only a question of possibilities. Again; if the influence of the local physical environment is undeniable, does that mean that all others are excluded? May it not happen, for example, that sometimes even the structure of the village has been conceived on another soil, and in another climate, by a popUlation of emigrants? May it not be that the newcomers have built and arranged their dwelling after the familiar type of their fatherland? May not this type have been modified (without altogether obliterating it) 2 if experience did not allow it to be kept unchanged? Take the case· of the region of Caux: the population is scattered in the west and concentrated in the east: the physical conditions in the two districts are very nearly identical, and there is nothing to prevent the east from making ponds or the west from boring wells. 3 The Cauchois farm, so constant in type, is no doubt suitable to the needs of the locality. But other farms, built on a different plan, would satisfy these needs equally well. 4 These are the remarks of a geographer. They prove clearly that their author is not disposed to remain content with the big keys of which we spoke previously. They do not prove that there are not many who hurry along their own road and neglect the corrective faculty and the necessity for looking at things from a neighbour's point of view. In the case of the house there is a natural tendency to neglect, if not to deny, the racial influences which Meitzen formulated unchallenged,5 though objections could easily have been raised-or those historic· influences which are not necessarily all racial and the action of which must be considered when geographical analysis fails. Such unconscious or wilful ignorance of the force of tradition and the persistent action of social causes may well justify the sociologists in blaming geographers for faults that are only too common. The faults are those of a young and vigorous science which does not know how to limit its own domain and at the same time that of its neighbour.