THE Darlington & Stockton Times of 150 years ago this week tells a lovely story under the headline “A domestic episode in public.”

The leading character in the story is an unnamed man who had spent the day devotedly drinking and, come evening, was wending his merry way home up Silver Street, clutching the walls for the friendly, sustaining support.

“While carefully feeling his way, a female form appeared in the distance, of whose noiseless tread over the snow he was perfectly oblivious,” says the paper. “In a moment, the lady pounced upon her devoted, and seizing him by the coat collar, exclaimed with virtuous indignation: ‘Oh! Ye swine!’.

“He fell back against the wall and staring vacantly at the form before him and exclaimed: ‘Angels and ministers of grace defend me.’

“‘Yes, aw’ll defend ye, ye pig' was the reply, and the female, who was none other than the partner of his joys, sprang upon him like a tigress, and brought her liege lord to the ground. This was followed by a copious supply of snow thrown at his face, and as each handful reached the point aimed at, she exclaimed: ‘There! That’ll cool ye’.

“For a full ten minutes the woman was thus occupied, when a friend of the hapless individual rushed to his rescue and bore him from his temporary citadel of snow, ice and mud.”

And so the reveller escaped. You can see him, arm in arm with his boozy mate, brushing the snow from his torn coat, swaying exaggeratedly, and slipping and sliding down Silver Street as they disappear out of sight.

The D&S report concludes: “The Bacchanalian wanderer was heard in the distance singing ‘we’ll tak a cup o’kindness yet for the days o’auld lang syne’, and so the scene closed.”