The New York Public Library, Berg Collection of
English and American Literature
"Chapter the Tenth: Oliver becomes better acquainted with the characters of his new associates, and purchases experience at a high price."
Dickens's autograph manuscript of the beginning of chapter 10 of Oliver Twist, the first of his works to be published under his own name, is one of three pages of this "short but very important chapter" given by him to his first cousin, Mrs. Rebecca Ball Wilson. In this chapter, Oliver experiences the truth of the "beautiful axiom that self-preservation is the first law of nature" when his shifty companions Master Bates and the Artful Dodger (the real perpetrators) finger him as the thief who has just picked the pockets of a "respectable-looking personage."