Nathan Garrideb spoke right to my heart with those words. As someone who is very happy to sit at home and read, I know EXACTLY where this guy is coming from. But, alas, I'm not able to cloister myself away in my homemade museum of oddities like Mr. Garrideb.
And let's talk about that museum, shall we? Watson tells us that Garrideb's rooms were "both broad and deep, with cupboards and cabinets all round, crowded with specimens, geological and anatomical. Cases of butterflies and moths flanked each side of the entrance. A large table in the centre was littered with all sorts of debris, while the tall brass tube of a powerful microscope bristled up among them."
As I was reading this, I was torn on how Holmes would react to such a space. Garrideb's interests are as varied, if not more, than Holmes' are. Flint instruments, fossils, skulls, coins, Japanese vases. All we are told is that Holmes "looked round him with curiosity." Would Holmes have been interested or appalled by this collection? The readers have hope that Holmes will engage with this collection when he asks Garrideb to come back and view it the following day, but alas, it is only a ploy to catch a criminal.
I, for one, like to think that Holmes found a kindred spirit in Nathan Garrideb. As Sherlockians, we know what it's like to be collectors. Nathan Garrideb is definitely a collector. Sherlock Holmes has collections of his own. From his scrap-books to his disguises, you know Baker Street is full of assemblages of items.
But Nathan Garrideb's goal of being the Hans Sloane of his age never came about. Hans Sloane's personal collection went on to found The British Museum, The British Library, and The National History Museum, we never hear of Garrideb and his collection again.
And for Sherlock Holmes' collections? Well, he may not have founded any museums or libraries, but he surely founded something much bigger than all of us...