Ada Lovelace, Part 2

10 St James’s Sq, London
November 27, 1852

My Dear Mister Turing,

As I lay here amid my bedchamber, under the thrall of a terrible malaise, my mind is still in flux with so many questions raised by your visit, yesterday. And I am drawn back to a number of strange events in my life. Notwithstanding, the very unusual man who paid my mother and I a visit when I was but 8 years-old. A man, I must confess, who confounded me even more so than you, Mister Turing. His manner, his behaviour, his dress and the clipped vowels of his speech all spoke of more than I could fully grasp, nor comprehend at that time. Till that is my mind chanced upon thoughts of this very meeting, late last evening, and connected it with you.

The similarity is quite startling and, of this day, now, I can conclude he too, like you, Mister Turning, must have been another visitor from a future I have yet to determine. A future that both of you feel is full of dread and yet, so many wonders as to spark the imagination beyond all dreaming.

I am besot to wish I did live in such times as my mind would be given such flight as to soar. And that the detriment of my body being of the female persuasion would be no cause for doubt among such like-minded peers as I might enjoy, in the enlightened society of this glorious future.

That you both did speak of such things give me hope, Mister Turing. Hope that my words to you and now, in these letters I furiously pen to your future self, might spark if not, speak to you, in this brave new world.

My body slowly fails me, Mister Turing, and I tire easily. My doctors, of which they are full of dire pronouncements, have told me my body will not last this year alone, nor live to see another. So I am again drawn to your words and those of the gentleman from my past. One Morris Connelly, someone who claimed a great deal, such as yourself. And to which, I now must confess, I give braver thought to than I ever dared imagine.

For when, that afternoon, in chambers over seen by my Mother’s keeper of my virtue, I did listen intently to Mister Connelly’s commanding voice, and was given inspiration to create, on that day, a machine he said he knew I had within me. A machine that would fly not unlike the birds in the garden, and sky. His bright eyes and gentle smile encouraging me. So that I was quite beset with an unhappiness when he did take his leave of my mother and I later that evening.

Though to this day, I am sure I saw his face amid a crowd, or across a room. But a glimpse of a future I so want to see, Mister Turing. A future that Mister Connelly assures me that, on this day, even if my death should come. I might yet glimpse.

Will it be so? Will death be my flying machine to take me across to another shore? To one set hence from this time, this place? Is it possible? I believe so.

My past has happened for me, but for you and Mister Connelly, it is still in your future. And only when you act upon a moment will it then become my past, and only then will I have the memory of its occurrence. Such is the displacement of time. A fact I believe Mister Connelly may have already surmised with our help, Mister Turing. My formulations say so. Harmonic resonance, Mister Turing, harmonic resonance. I do hope it is the right key for your lock.

And now, I must rest some more for the truth is, the writing of this letter to you has taken much strength of will.

I remain most sincerely,

The Hon. Augusta Ada King,
Countess of Lovelace

Ada Lovelace, Part 1

10 St James’s Sq, London
November 26, 1852

Dear Mister Turing,

You arrived in a fluster on my doorstep yesterday without so much as a gentlemen’s calling card nor, may I say, wearing anything approaching the correct attire. And an uncovered head in public, Mr. Turing? Tut-tut. But let us set aside how scruffily dressed you were. You then proceeded to badger and cajole my butler, Samson, physically and forcibly gain entry to my home, and chaotically open and slam nigh on every room door on the premise instead of waiting, as Mr. Samson suggested you do, in the hallway. As any proper person might.

I have, however, found out—to your detriment—you are neither polite nor a gentleman, Mr. Turing. What you are, I have yet to determine. Forcible? Most certainly. Irascible? Without question, and quite possibly, incoherent to a point of madness. You most certainly are in need of either a calming tonic or a dose of Madam Pompadour’s French Gin.

Either way, it is what I finally discerned after deciphering the gibbering babbles emanating from you that has me intrigued.

You have confounded me, Mister Turing. Something only one other man, except maybe my recalcitrant father, has managed to do. And even then, the venerable Mister Babbage’s ravings have solidified themselves into some semblance of reality upon my investigation into the mathematical probabilities of time, space, and relative dimension.

And while he has raved about his Analytical Engine for a day past too long, your ramblings about my part in the Improbability Drive are nothing short of a lunatic howling at the moon. And yet, I am at a loss in that I must believe in a small grain of truth, for were you not just here, in my home, a man displaced from the future. Or, so you would have me believe. And I am hard pressed to see how it could not be otherwise, and that only a person of such rabid belief could, indeed, be from beyond the years I now live in.

Indeed, the one moment you made perfect sense to me was with the words, “harmonic resonance”. It is at this juncture I am drawn to my own words written some time since where upon I stated;

Supposing, for instance, that the fundamental relations of pitched sounds in the science of harmony and of musical composition were susceptible of such expression and adaptations, the engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent.”

You do pose me a quandary, Mr. Turing so much so, I am now most defiantly fixed upon a quest to discover my part in your future endeavours to create the very engine that brought you hence, to my doorstep. I do not, nor have I ever, professed to be a prophet of a coming age, but this night has seen me lie abed in a great wonder. My mind calculating and re-calculating not just possibilities, but probabilities.

And you, Mr. Turing, appear to be my proof.

I remain most sincerely,

The Hon. Augusta Ada King,
Countess of Lovelace