“ The old Thyme Clock was so ornate it dominated the

mantelpiece. Its face was the size of a dinner plate, and had

the Thyme clan motto written across it in elaborate

copperplate. Behind the gold filigreed hands were four smaller

dials – counting the seconds, days of the week, months of the

year, and showing the phases of the moon. The outer case was

solid gold encrusted with jewels. Emeralds carved into sprigs of

thyme grew around the right half of the face; tiny playing cards

made from ivory, rubies and jet bordered the left.


To the right of the clock stood Old Father Time. His sinister

hand carried a scythe over one shoulder; his dexter hand held

a golden hourglass, smaller than an egg timer and filled with a

minute’s worth of sand. As the last grain fell, it flipped over to

measure the next minute. To the left of the clock, leaning back

against it, sat a jester. He glanced mischievously over his

shoulder at the hourglass. In one hand he held a theatrical

mask; in the other, he twirled a pair of dice. Each mechanical

figure was a work of art, exquisitely crafted in gold, ivory and

platinum, studded with diamonds.


Beneath the clock, between the two figures, a polished

pendulum swung to and fro with the words ...


... engraved upon it. A small arched bell-tower stood above

the clock – and etched across the bell were the words Justin
was looking for: