I have no idea if the actual Charles Dickens ever had an exchange like the following one that his fictional version has with his maid in Audrey Thomas's novel Tattycoram:
One afternoon [Mr. Dickens] said to me... "Hattie, how do you feel about children?"
"How do I feel about them, sir?"
"Yes. Do you like them?"
"I like them well enough. I'm particularly fond of the babies."
"I, too. I'm particularly fond of the babies. What a pity they can't be shot and stuffed before the age of five."
I'm not familiar enough with Dickens's work to know if he ever really said anything like that or, perhaps, put those words into the mouth of one of his nastier characters. All a quick google would reveal about his thoughts on infants is that he said, "Every baby born into the world is a finer one than the last." That seems more in keeping with his reputation for sentiment. (Interestingly, from that same quick google I learned that Queen Victoria was supposed to have said, "An ugly baby is a very nasty object - and the prettiest is frightful." She had nine of her own. It's hard to tell from pictures whether they were ugly or pretty. They were certainly snugly buttoned into a lot of clothing. And surely she could have handed them off to a myriad of nursemaids before they'd started to seem too unattractive.)
Tattycoram is a beautifully written, deceptively light novel, almost a piece of Victoriana, centered on one of Dickens's characters, a maid in Little Dorrit. Thomas's version of the maid, Harriet Coram, was abandoned at the Foundling Hospital as a baby and later hired by the fictional Dickens to look after his growing family and then to teach in the home for fallen women he helped set up. After Harriet's marriage, she is dismayed to learn that Dickens has made her a character in his novel -- and an unpleasant one at that. This twist gives Thomas's novel a nice postmodern edge and leaves me wondering how much of her fictional Dickens is based on historical fact. Thanks to Sara O'Leary for suggesting the book in the comments to my post about the foundling tokens.