The Marquis of Harlington has just ended an unsatisfactory love affair and decides that he must go abroad and the Prime Minister then asks him to travel to Egypt and report on the Suez Canal which is currently under construction.
The Marquis visits his neighbour in the country, Lord Durham, and overhears him threatening to beat his daughter Delisia unless she agrees to marry a rich French Comte who he desires as his son-in-law. When he leaves Lord Durham‘s house, the Marquis is aware that there is a blue ribbon peeping out of the box at the back of his chaise. Stopping when they are further down the road, he finds the beautiful
Delisia who is running away from her dreadful father. Against his better judgement he agrees to take her with him to Egypt, because to his surprise he finds that she can speak Arabic fluently. As Delisia looks so young he pretends she is his niece aged fifteen and he insists that she changes her name to Delia.
He finds on the voyage that she is extremely intelligent and keeps him fascinated by her views of life as no other woman has ever managed to do. He arrives in Egypt to find that the Suez Canal is well advanced and should be ready by March in the following year, as planned by the Khedive.
How Delia with her brilliant knowledge of Arabic becomes indispensable to the Marquis and how he saves her from the appalling Comte who turns up unexpectedly in Cairo is all told in this exciting novel.