This book is not intended to be an historical novel, nor are its characters meant to be identified with well-known persons connected with the history of England or of Egypt; but all that is essential in the tale is based upon, and drawn from, the life of both countries. Though Egypt has greatly changed during the past generation, away from Cairo and the commercial centres the wheels of social progress have turned but slowly, and much remains as it was in the days of which this book is a record in the spirit of the life, at least.
"Dost thou spread the sail, throw the spear, swing the axe, lay thy hand upon the plough, attend the furnace door, shepherd the sheep upon the hills, gather corn from the field, or smite the rock in the quarry? Yet, whatever thy task, thou art even as one who twists the thread and throws the shuttle, weaving the web of Life. Ye are all weavers, and Allah the Merciful, does He not watch beside the loom?"