Ella's passage, "It is the love of virtue makes us young ever. That is the fountain of youth," is not part of the NYRB edition of the Journal, but another passage from the entry from which it was taken, July 16th, 1851, is, and since the date is only a few days from today, it seems especially fitting to post some of it.
Methinks my present experience is nothing; my past experience is all in all. I think that no experience which I have to-day comes up to, or is comparable with, the experiences of my boyhood. And not only this is true, but as far back as I can remember I have unconsciously referred to the experiences of a previous state of existence. My life was ecstasy. In youth, before I lost any of my senses, I can remember that I was all alive, and inhabited my body with inexpressible satisfaction; both its weariness and its refreshment were sweet to me. I can remember how I was astonished. I looked in books for some recognition of a kindred experience, but, strange to say, I found none. With all your science can you tell how it is, and whence it is, that light comes into the soul?
Berries are just beginning to ripen, and children are planning expeditions after them. They are important as introducing children to the fields and woods, and as wild fruits of which much account is made. During the berry season the schools have a vacation, and many little fingers are busy picking these small fruits. It is ever a pastime, not a drudgery. I remember how glad I was when I was kept from school a half a day to pick huckleberries on a neighboring hill all by myself to make a pudding for the family dinner. Ah, they got nothing but the pudding, but I got invaluable experience beside! A half a day of liberty like that was like the promise of life eternal. It was emancipation in New England. O, what a day was there, my countrymen!
*In case anyone is curious about our methodology, here's how the winner was chosen: all the entries were assigned a number, starting at 1, first the people who posted to the blog, and then on to those who posted to the Facebook page. The numbers were entered into the random number generator at random.org and number 8 came up.