In Carroll's personal scrapbook is pasted a poem from "Punch" of 1859 called "The Bards of Burns". It's all about a competition for the best Scottish poetry in the style of Robert Burns. This competition was a three day event in the Crystal Palace. (Yes, three days! Some people in those days had way too much spare time) Once I figured out what he was going on about, I enjoyed it very much, and it contained some great turns of phrase and interesting words. In fact I conjectured that it might be a previously unknown poem by Carroll.

On checking it out, though, I found it was by William Aytoun, who was one of the judges of the competition. I also learned that Aytoun wrote a very popular, but now almost-forgotten collection of comic poetry called the "Bon Gaultier" ballads. It looked to me as if Carroll had deeply admired these ballads and modelled some of his own poetry closely on them: there were so many stylistic similarities. So out of interest, I bought a copy of Bon Gaultier - a lovely little First Edition for less than a fiver. It's illustrated by Leech and Doyle, which is a bonus. The ballads are not to modern taste but they're good parodies and very witty, and to my slight surprise I have been enjoying them.