Christopher became a sailor when he was fourteen. He was tall, and his shoulders were broad. But Christopher did not intend to stay a common seaman. He asked questions. He learned how to steer a ship by the stars, how to make maps, and how to chart a ship's voyage through strange waters: He was made the second mate to the captain, then the first mate, then captain in his own right".''He did not sail to India, but he sailed to all the different lands that bordered the Mediterranean Sea-Europe, Africa, Western Asia. He had bloody fights with pirates.
When he was twenty-four or so, he commanded a battleship for the city of Genoa in a war against her rival city Venice. He went on voyages of exploration - South along the coast of Africa; North along the coast of Europe.
Some men make fortunes at sea. Others lose them. In a terrible storm off the coast of Portugal, Christopher's ship sank to the bottom, and Christopher lost everything he owned. He did not even have money to get home.
He soon found work as a map maker in a bookshop in the Portuguese city of Lisbon, Scholars came to the bookshop, and teachers and travelers. Christopher was a grown man now, but he still asked questions, and he still learned. Always before he had asked question about the East. Now he began asking about the West. To the west lay the Great Sea of Darkness. Beyond that - nothing. The world stopped like the end of a plank, and if you went too far you would fall off. At least that's what most people said. But some learned said no. The earth is not flat like a plank. It is round like a ball. If you sail far enough to the west, you will reach the east —India.
THE DOLL'S HOUSE
(Adapted from Katherine Mansfield)
When dear old Mrs. Hay went back to town after staying with the Burnells, she sent the children a doll's house It was so big that the servants carried it into the yard and left it there.
The Burnell children had never seen anything like it in their lives. All the rooms were papered with pictures on the walls A red carpet covered all the floors except the kitchen; there were tables, beds with real bedclothes, a stove, a dresser with very small plates and one big jug. But what Kezia liked more than anything was the lamp. It was all ready for lighting.
The Burnell children could hardly walk to school fast enough the next morning. They burned to tell everybody about their doll's house.
The mother said that while the doll's house stood in the yard, they might ask the girls at school, two at a time, to come and see it.
Playtime came and the girls of Isabel's class nearly fought to put their arms round her, to be her special friend, and there v/ere only two who stayed outside, the little Kelveys.
For the fact was, the school the Burnell children went to was not at all the kind of place their parents would have liked to attend. But it was the only school for miles.
As a result all the children of the neighborhood, rich and poor, had to mix together. But many of the children, including the Burner's, were not allowed even to speak to the Kelveys. They walked past the Kelveys with their heads in the air. Even the teacher had a special voice for them and a special smile for the other children.
They were the daughters of a hard-working little washer-woman who went one day to one house and one day to another. They were dressed in old clothes given to their mother by the people for whom she worked. Lil came to school in a dress made from a green tablecloth of the Burnells. Her little sister Else wore a long white dress and a pair of little boy's boots. Nobody had ever seen her smile: she hardly ever spoke. She went through life holding on to Lil.
Now again they did not mix with the girls, but you couldn't stop them from listening.