Old Drosselmeyer straightens out his doll on the workbench. He surveys her gears and clockwork with pride. He attaches her skin carefully, mindful of the folds and creases. It must look natural, after all, but still beautiful. He winds her with pride. The doll's voice creaks out from hidden speakers; the mouth moves. "H… he…l…l…o… f…a…t…h…e…r…"
Drosselmeyer is pleased. For the next several months, he teaches his mechanical contraption to walk, to speak, and to do all the things a beautiful young girl ought to do. He oils her joints, he mends her manufactured flesh, he replaces sticking springs and worn-out gears. He watches his hands tremble when he works; he knows he hasn't much time left to perfect her.
One day the doll asks him something. "Father, how is it that you taught a machine to love?" she asks innocently. "For I am a machine, and I love you."
Drosselmeyer doesn't look up from his work. He peels away the withered skin of his arm to reveal the ancient brass and crystal gears spinning within. "As it was taught to me, my daughter," he answers with a smile.