This novella (Erzählung) by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué tells of Undine, a water spirit, who marries a knight named Huldebrand in order to gain a soul. The story is descended from the French folk-tale of a water-sprite, Melusine, who marries a knight on condition that he shall never see her on Saturdays, when she resumes her mermaid shape. Originally in German, 'Undine' has been translated into English and other languages. During the 19th century it was very popular and was, according to The Times in 1843, "a book which, of all others, if you ask for it at a foreign library, you are sure to find engaged".
Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué (1777-1843) was a German writer of the romantic style, whose career began when he produced translations of the Nibelung legend, inspiring Wagner to write his famous Ring Cycle of operas. 'Undine' is however the title he is most famous for (it even features in Louisa M Alcott's 'Jo's Boys'). 'The Two Captains' is less well known, but again written in the romantic style.
Our book is a particularly nice copy, bound by Burn & Co in green cloth with bevelled edges, black impressed designs on front and spine, and the title in a decorative gilt band across the front cover. All page edges gilt. The back cover is bordered with an impressed line, and the publisher's logo is stamped in the centre. The shelfwear (top & bottom of spine, corners) is very slight considering the age of the book. Within, there is slight cracking of the front endpaper at the hinge, and at the very end of the advertisement section, but otherwise the binding is firm, and there are no loose pages. There is minimal foxing, mainly on the frontispiece and its tissue guard. The text throughout is clear and bright, and the illustrations (by 'C. R...') unmarked. A previous owner's signature appears in ink on the title page.