The Young Novelist at Work and Play
[Discussing the disputed authorship of ‘The Loving Ballad of Lord Bateman’, Burnett mentions Dickens’s proclivity, especially in these earlier years, for singing serio-comic songs to his friends. Dickens’s performances were] highly successful, and gave great pleasure even to the most sedate amongst his friends, for it was his habit to give very amusing, droll, and clever sketches of character between the verses, comic and quaint, but never vulgar. He had no vulgarity in his refined nature. If he ever had a double meaning, the half-hidden one, when it floated to the surface, was always transparent and pure, thoughtful and laughable. Yet one never afterwards felt a little sense of shame for having laughed… .
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