Ada Lovelace Letters #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 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, let 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 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

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