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"Shy," said Lymond with simplicity, "as a dogtooth violet".

Lymond says this as he pins a dark cloak about his chin to avoid notice in the streets. "Shy as a violet" and similar idioms use the violet as a symbol of modesty.[1]

The usual expression is simply "shy as a violet", not "shy as a dogtooth violet". As the dogtooth violet is not a true violet[2], Lymond may be hinting that his real reason for wanting to avoid notice is something other than modesty.

  1. Michael Quinion, World Wide Words
  2. University of Texas Wildflower Center

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