A Lady of Letters: 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 gentlemen’s 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 entrance 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.

But, as I have 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 state; ‘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

2 Comments A Lady of Letters: Part 1

  1. Margot Kinberg March 12, 2019 at 10:18 am

    Oh, this is fascinating! I like what seems to be the premise already, and I’m eager to where this goes. Oh, and I like your writing style and voice very much.

    Reply
    1. Alexandra March 12, 2019 at 1:01 pm

      Thanks you, Margot. It’s an idea a friend and I are exploring. We’re writing a series of letters, I’m doing Ada Lovelace, while my friend is doing the UK scientist, Alan Turing, he of the enigma code.

      Neither of us has any idea where it all might lead, but it’s fun to write and explore ideas.

      Thanks again for your support and feedback!

      Reply

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