Dinah Maria Mulock Craik
What on earth should we do if we had no matches to make, or mar; no "unfortunate attachments" to shake our heads over; no flirtations to speculate about and comment upon with knowing smiles; no engagements "on" or "off" to speak our minds about, nosing out every little circumstance, and ferreting out our game to their very hole, as if all their affairs, their hopes, trials, faults, or wrongs, were being transacted for our own private and peculiar entertainment! Of all forms of gossip — I speak of mere gossip, as distinguished from the carrion-crow and dunghill-fly system of scandal-mongering — this tittle-tattle about love-affairs is the most general, the most odious, and the most dangerous.
Every one of us must have known within our own experience many an instance of dawning loves checked, unhappy loves made cruelly public, happy loves embittered, warm, honest loves turned cold, by this horrible system of gossiping about young or unmarried people... ~ Ch. 8