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“Have you decided at last to confess, clockmaker?” she said coolly when they brought Drosselmeier before her.

“Regrettably,” he said, “I cannot, for it would be dishonest.”

She shrugged. “Then it is the gallows for you after all. We do not lightly suffer conspiracy and incitement!”

He inclined his head. “Very well, if you must. Do you have a custom in your land of granting a last request to the doomed?”

“We grant few honors to insurrectionists,” she said, “but you may ask all the same.”

“I ask only,” said Drosselmeier, “that I might fix one more clock before I die.”