Here comes yet another story about Dickens and family (long article, so scroll WAY down):
There are some interesting details:
What the heck?
But weird nicknames or no, Plorn seems to have had a good head on his shoulders:
"His most famous moment," Keneally says with an enthusiasm that augurs well for the next book, "occurs in parliament when he was challenged by a certain W.N. Willis."
"My late honoured father once wrote 'Barkis is willin'," intoned Edward as he took the floor. "If he had been here tonight, he would have said Willis is barkin'."