he Earth--Spherical or Flat?=--The learned men of that age, for the most part, believed the earth to be round like a ball. But the common people, and doubtless many of high rank, thought the land surface to be flat, with a flat ocean flowing around it on every side. Now if the earth were really a sphere, and no larger than was commonly supposed, it would seem that the easiest way to get to India, unless unforeseen obstacles intervened, would be to strike out to the west and sail straight across the "Sea of Darkness," as the sailors called the Atlantic. To embrace so startling a theory and deliberately to risk his life in testing its truth, required a man of keen sagacity, of lofty faith, of unbending resolution, and of the most heroic daring. Such a man was Christopher Columbus.
=9. Columbus; his Early Life as a Sailor.=--He was born at Genoa, in or about the year 1445. He was the son of a poor wool-comber, and while yet very young he helped in his father's daily toil. We find him a studious boy, early