THIS week 150 years ago, the “quidnuncs” of Crook were “in a state of flutter and excitement", according to the Echo’s sister paper, the Darlington & Stockton Times.

“Quidnunc” is indeed a word. It comes from two Latin words which mean "what now?" and that is a question that the gossips and inquisitive people – known as quidnuncs – always ask. And there was a lot to ask, because there had been a juicy elopement.

"The frail fair one is the wife of an eating-house keeper, and is the mother of three children," said the D&S Times. "The house is named after a county lying on the southern borders of Durham."

This must mean that the liaison had occurred in a cafe with Yorkshire in its name.

"The lothario, a young man who was a lodger at the house, became captivated with the charms of his landlady, and the feeling being reciprocated, they became very intimate, the result being that they eloped a few weeks ago," said the paper. "On getting wind of the affair, the husband directly followed the runaway couple to Bishop Auckland, and found them together on the railway platform.

“He eventually prevailed upon his wife to return with him, whither she was followed by her deceiver, and the very next morning, the wife and the lodger again ran away."

However, she very soon discovered that the grass is not always greener on the other side...

"After she had been absent a few days, she thought of her home and her children, and determined there and then to send a letter to her outraged spouse. The frail and fickle one expressed deep contrition and pleaded hard for forgiveness, the writer even venturing to remind her husband that there was still "no place like home".

"The woman was as soon in Crook as the missive itself, and was received with open arms by her now happy husband."

The article finished: "The guilty lodger, it is said, has since returned to the village. It is probable the eating-house keeper will keep a sharp eye upon him."

The quidnuncs would undoubtedly also have been keeping a sharp eye on the pair of them, and asking: “What now?”