Our steamer is a fine one and we are quite comfortable. I have a stateroom with a Finnish lady, who is charming for she goes up on deck at 4 A. M. and lets me dress in peace and quiet and then she arrays herself. Unfortunately we have a cracked basin, so it is rather hard work to dress comfortably, but they have promised another for tomorrow. Ed. has a stateroom with Mr. Calmeyn who decided to go to Petersburg, so he is all right. He has captured a small girl who came on board to sell flowers, so he is happy drawing her. She is quite pretty and is posing beautifully. We went round the town and saw the old Cathedral and also a fine view from the Observatory. The people here speak Swedish or Finnish, not Russian. Tomorrow we go to Helsingfors and thence by rail to Petersburg. We took some time to get here and came quite a distance up the river to anchor alongside the quay. The town is extremely clean and the people ditto; but some small urchins begged of us, whilst in Norway such a thing is unknown.Seuraava kirje on päivätty Helsingissä 13.8.1881. Siinä Elise valittelee, että laiva edellisenä päivänä oli tullut Turkuun niin ajoissa, että hän olisi ehtinyt Turusta Pietariin kulkevaan junaan, jolla hän olisi ollut jo perillä. Mutta nyt oli ollut enemmän aikaa keskustella suomalaisen hyttitoverin kanssa, joka päätyi kertomaan kummipoikansa olevan töissä Philadelphiassa ja jakoi myös tietoa Helsinkistä.
Elise vietti päivänsä Helsingissä näin:
We went to see the Greek Church, which is being restored, also the Lutheran which is very impressive, very simple and very churchy; over the altar there is a fine painting. Then we went to the Ethnographical Collection, where we saw the tomb of an old bishop, some interesting costumes and other curiosities. Then to the Museum of Natural History, where we staid quite a while and then to the Sculptures, which consisted of plaster casts of some of the antiques. Then we wandered round a little more and returned to the steamer [...] I have just heard some people who went to see the barracks say that there was malachite let in to walls and that the soldiers who were eating their dinner were eating raw fish in their fingersVenäläisten sotilaiden parakeissa malakiitilla koristellut seinät?
Elisen kirjeet on julkaistu hänen veljensä Edwin Swift Balchin kirjassa Elise Willing Bach. In memoriam. Epätavallisesta kulmasta kuvatut Helsingin kirkot, Gustaf Sandberg: Utsikt mot Skatudden och Kronohagen. SLS via Flickr