Marks of Ellipsis

LXXVII. When, in the middle of a quotation, a part is omitted, several asterisks or several full stops are placed in a line to mark the omission.

Clarendon makes the following remark about Lord Falkland: "Yet two things he could never bring himself to whilst he continued in that office, that was to his death; for which he was contented to be reproached as for omissions in a most necessary part of his place. The one, employing of spies, or giving any countenance or entertainment to them. * * * The other, the liberty of opening letters, upon a suspicion that they might contain matter of a dangerous consequence." (One sentence omitted.)

"The French and Spanish nations," said Louis XIV., "are so united that they will henceforth be only one.... My grandson, at the head of the Spaniards, will defend the French. I, at the head of the French, will defend the Spaniards."

"He who in former years," wrote Horace Walpole of his father, "was asleep as soon as his headtouched the pillow ... now never sleeps above an hour without waking."

If the passage omitted be of very considerable length, for instance if it be a complete paragraph, or if a line of poetry be omitted, the asterisks are placed in a line by themselves. There is a tendency to confine the asterisk to such cases, and to use the full stop for shorter ellipses. If a complete sentence be omitted, the number of additional full stops is generally four; if a passage be omitted in the middle of a sentence, the number is generally three.

When some of the letters of a name are omitted, their place is supplied by a line or dash, whose length depends on the number of letters omitted.

The scene of our story is laid in the town of B——. There was one H——, who, I learned in after days, was seen expiating some maturer offence in the hulks.

Blakesmoor in H——shire.