What part of a verb phrase is omitted in the following sentence?
Nearly a million people lived there, making do, as they always had [VP deletion], with candles, torches and lanterns.
At first, I thought the verb phrase omitted after "had" would be "lived" because "lived" is the main verb in a principal clause, and the indepedent clause which starts with "as" should be related to the principal clause.
So I was thinking that the sentence would be changed to
Nearly a million people lived there, making do, as they always had lived, with candles, torches and lanterns.
But after reading the entire paragraph, I came to think that the omitted participle might be "made," which indicates "make" in the participial clause "making do." --> so "as they always had made"
I'm very confused now...
I guess the commas are very crucial to understand this sentence.. Which one is parenthetical? "making do" or "as they always had"?
I really don't know what has been omitted after "as they always had." How can I parse the sentence? Is it so-called VP-deletion involved here in this sentence? Could the sentence be parsed differently depending on the context? Or there is only one answer?