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: It will scarcely be supposed that, with the passion of covetousness gnawing at my heart, I had space or convenience for any other feeling. But Abram Skinner had loved his children; and to this passion I was introduced, as well as to the other. At first I was surprised that I should bestow the least regard upon them, seeing that they were no children of mine. I endeavoured to shake off the feeling of attachment, as an absurdity, but could not; in spite of myself, I found my spirit yearning towards them; and by-and-by, having lost my identity entirely, I could scarcely, even when I made the effort, recall the consciousness that I was not their parent in reality. Indeed, the transformation that had now occurred to my spirit was more thorough than it had been in either previous instance; I could scarce convince myself I had not been born the being I represented; my past existence began to appear to my reflections only as some idle dream, that the fever of sickness had brought upon my mind; and I forgot that I was, or had been, Sheppard Lee.