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THE DAFFODIL MYSTERY
Ward, Lock & Co., Limited London and Melbourne Made and Printed in Great Britain
I. AN OFFER REJECTED
II. THE HUNTER DECLINES HIS QUARRY
III. THE MAN WHO LOVED LYNE
V. FOUND IN LYNE'S POCKET
VI. THE MOTHER OF ODETTE RIDER
VII. THE WOMAN IN THE CASE
VIII. THE SILENCING OF SAM STAY
IX. WHERE THE FLOWERS CAME FROM
X. THE WOMAN AT ASHFORD
XI. "THORNTON LYNE IS DEAD"
XII. THE HOSPITAL BOOK
XIII. TWO SHOTS IN THE NIGHT
XIV. THE SEARCH OF MILBURGH'S COTTAGE
XV. THE OWNER OF THE PISTOL
XVI. THE HEIR
XVII. THE MISSING REVOLVER
XVIII. THE FINGER PRINTS
XIX. LING CHU TELLS THE TRUTH
XX. MR. MILBURGH SEES IT THROUGH
XXI. COVERING THE TRAIL
XXII. THE HEAVY WALLET
XXIII. THE NIGHT VISITOR
XXIV. THE CONFESSION OF ODETTE RIDER
XXV. MILBURGH'S LAST BLUFF
XXVI. IN MRS. RIDER'S ROOM
XXVII. THE LAUGH IN THE NIGHT
XXVIII. THE THUMB-PRINT
XXIX. THE THEORY OF LING CHU
XXX. WHO KILLED MRS. RIDER
XXXI. SAM STAY TURNS UP
XXXII. THE DIARY OF THORNTON LYNE
XXXIII. LING CHU--TORTURER
XXXIV. THE ARREST
XXXV. MILBURGH'S STORY
XXXVI. AT HIGHGATE CEMETERY
XXXVII. LING CHU RETURNS
CHAPTER THE LAST. THE STATEMENT OF SAM STAY
THE DAFFODIL MYSTERY
AN OFFER REJECTED
"I am afraid I don't understand you, Mr. Lyne."
Odette Rider looked gravely at the young man who lolled against his open desk. Her clear skin was tinted with the faintest pink, and there was in the sober depths of those grey eyes of hers a light which would have warned a man less satisfied with his own genius and power of persuasion than Thornton Lyne.
He was not looking at her face. His eyes were running approvingly over her perfect figure, noting the straightness of the back, the fine poise of the head, the shapeliness of the slender hands.
He pushed back his long black hair from his forehead and smiled. It pleased him to believe that his face was cast in an intellectual mould, and that the somewhat unhealthy pastiness of his skin might be described as the "pallor of thought."
Presently he looked away from her through the big bay window which overlooked the crowded floor of Lyne's Stores.
He had had this office built in the entresol and the big windows had been put in so that he might at any time overlook the most important department which it was his good fortune to control.
Now and again, as he saw, a head would be turned in his direction, and he knew that the attention of all the girls was concentrated upon the little scene, plainly visible from the floor below, in which an unwilling employee was engaged.
She, too, was conscious of the fact, and her discomfort and dismay increased. She made a little movement as if to go, but he stopped her.
"You don't understand, Odette," he said. His voice was soft and melodious, and held the hint of a caress. "Did you read my little book?" he asked suddenly.
"Yes, I read--some of it," she said, and the colour deepened on her face.
"I suppose you thought it rather curious that a man in my position should bother his head to write poetry, eh?" he asked. "Most of it was written before I came into this beastly shop, my dear--before I developed into a tradesman!"
She made no reply, and he looked at her curiously.
"What did you think of them?" he asked.
Her lips were trembling, and again he mistook the symptoms.
"I thought they were perfectly horrible," she said in a low voice. "Horrible!"
He raised his eyebrows.
"How very middle-class you are, Miss Rider!" he scoffed. "Those verses have been acclaimed by some of the best critics in the country as reproducing all the beauties of the old Hellenic poetry."
She went to speak, but stopped herself and stood with lips compressed.
Thornton Lyne shrugged his shoulders and strode to the other end of his luxuriously equipped office.