Originally Posted by Richard Patterson
Yes. "before now" refers to things that happened before, meaning "prior to", the time "now".
dissecting scalpel, a small straight knife with a thin sharp blade used in surgery and dissection.
shaved = razor sharp, as in"my knife is nice and sharp".
So, the fact that at some point in his life he had used a sharp knife is worthy of mention when considering him as a Ripper suspect? I wonder how many men at the time could have truthfully claimed to have used a sharp knife 'before now'. Pretty much all of them I'd have thought.
Didn't Thompson say in the same letter that he had had 'repeated experiments' at growing a beard? Might not some of those experiments have been when he was living on the streets?
This is actually a very important point, Richard, because you give your readers the impression that you have evidence that Thompson carried a knife at the time of the murders rather than that at some unspecified point in the past he had used a sharp implement to shave.