A few years ago, in the Dorotheen-strasse, in the midst of the Latin Quarter of Berlin, whose quiet, student-like appearance threatens to become effaced by the growing elegance of the capital, a small, narrow, unpretending two-story house, stood humbly, as if intimidated, between its broad-shouldered neighbors, though every year it received a washing of a delicate pink hue, and recently had even had a new lightning-rod affixed to its ancient gable roof. The owner, an honest master shoemaker, had in the course of time accumulated money enough to have comfortably established himself in a new and far more elegant dwelling, but he had experienced beneath this sharply sloping roof, all the blessings of his life and though a man by no means given to sentimental weaknesses, he would have thought it base ingratitude to turn his back, without good reason, upon the old witnesses and protectors of his happiness. He had, at one time or another, laid his head in almost every corner, from the little attic chamber, where, as a poor dunce of an apprentice, he had, many a night, been unable to close his eyes on account of the pattering raindrops, to the best room on the first story, where stood his nuptial couch, when, after a long and faithful apprenticeship, he brought home, as head journeyman, the daughter of his dead master. But he was far too economical to permit himself to occupy these aristocratic quarters longer than six months, preferring to live in the second story, unassuming as it was--the little house having a front of but three windows--and there, two children had grown up about him. These first-floor apartments were rented to a childless old couple, to whom the owner would not have given notice to quit on any account; for in the white-haired old man he honored a once famous tenor, whom in his youth, he had heard and admired; while the little withered old woman, his wife, had, in her time, been a no less celebrated actress. They had already been pensioned twelve years, and, without song or noise of any kind, spent their quiet days in their tiny rooms, adorned with faded laurel-wreaths and pictures of their famous colleagues. These celebrities, according to the ideas of the proprietor, gave to his little house a certain artistic reputation, and if there were customers in the shop at noon when the old couple returned from their walk, he never failed to direct attention to them and with boastful assurance to revive the fame of the two forgotten and very shrivelled great personages.