These were chiefly people from the northern suburbs, whose knowledge of the Black Smoke came by hearsay.
Afterwards he found that the vague feeling of alarm had spread to the clients of the underground railway, and that the Sunday excursionists began to return from all over the South-Western "lung"—Barnes, Wimbledon, Richmond Park, Kew, and so forth—at unnaturally early hours; but not a soul had anything more than vague hearsay to tell of.
There are no more uses of "hearsay" in the book.
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Hearsay evidence is generally not permitted in the United States. It generally is permitted in England for civil cases.
Your tools have elevated gossip, hearsay and conjecture to the level of valid, mainstream communication.