«I have written this Gossip not only for the edification of those to whom a portion, more or less, may be news, but for those who, like myself, have lived through the whole of Queen Victoria's reign, to whom the remembrance of things, almost forgotten, may bring pleasure and excite interest. The items, herein displayed, have been gathered from many sources, and their authenticity is guaranteed by giving the name of the authority whence they were taken, in very many instances ipsissima verba, as paraphrasing would rob them of their freshness and individuality. (From Author’s Preface) Gossip here should be understood as informal, unrestrained talk or writing, esp. about people or social incidents. (Shorter Oxford English Dictionary). John Ashton was an historian and a prolific writer, unjustly forgotten, of social mores, customs, and daily life of the English Regency as well as before and after. This book about Victoria’s early reign is the last of some thirty books about various preceding eras. The chapter titles here contain only a couple of the many interesting people and events contained in the chapter.
— Summary by Author's Preface and david wales