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I’m reading The Greedy Queen by Annie Gray. The author mentions that various royal princes came to visit Queen Victoria as potential marriage partners when she turned seventeen. And Victoria expressed her upset in her letters to her uncle Leopold:

Whenever she had visitors, on their departure she was utterly bereft. A typical response from Uncle Leopold showed off his sensitive side in reply to one of her over-wrought letters: ‘this, unfortunately, is the picture of life; all transitory except the thirst for happiness and bliss, which seems to indicate that in some future state alone it can be quenched’. Victoria was, perhaps, rather overdoing it, but she had a vested interest in making sure that her future partner was at least someone she could vaguely fancy.

I’m confused about Uncle Leopold’s response. I suppose he was saying that “everything changes, but our thirst for happiness will never change”, which means this thirst can never be quenched. If my understanding is correct, then why would he say this thirst can be quenched in some future state? Does “in some future state alone” simply means “one day in the future”? I don’t understand the later part of his response. Can anybody explain his idea for me?

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  • The thirst for happiness and bliss is ever present, and that would seem to indicate that it cannot be quenched now but only in some future state. in some future state alone. alone = only. We might well expect to see inversion there: "...seems to indicate that in some future state alone can it be quenched". Could you check to see that your transcription is correct?
    – TimR
    Mar 24, 2018 at 14:28
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo Thanks for your reply. I transcribed it from here: goo.gl/znZpnF I guess maybe people in Victorian time used to speak in a different order? But no matter what, your explanation has clarified my confusion. Mar 25, 2018 at 1:39

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The key to understanding this is that "future state" he means Heaven. The thirst can not be quenched in this life.

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In English, the noun thirst is used with the verb quench.

To quench one's thirst means: to no longer be thirsty.

To quench a thirst for happiness and bliss = to satisfy a thirst for those states of mind.

state here means: state of mind; outlook

a present state [of mind] a future state [of mind]

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