It has been suggested that after Earl John's death in 1231, the successor to the earldom of Caithness was a minor, which Earl Gilchrist's son, Magnus, could not have been in 1231, and that this minor and ward was a son of Magnus, and bore the same name as his father.
Doubtless they were very good mediums, in spite of this fact. They must have been so, unless one supposes that Lady Caithness and the Abbé Petit were themselves abnormally strong sensitives; in which case one would have thought this extraneous help would have been unnecessary.
The events which followed are recounted, in considerable detail and with much exaggeration on both sides, by Scottish and Norse chroniclers, but it is impossible to reconcile their different versions of the story of the battle of Largs. Nor does such detail, save in the result, affect Sutherland or Caithness.
He is a family trustee of the British Museum, and is the patron of thirteen livings. The Portland estates comprise 180,000 acres, and his income is estimated at 160,000l. a year from them alone. Besides Welbeck Abbey, he has country seats at Fullarton House, Troon, Ayrshire; Langwell, Berriedale, Caithness; Bothal Castle, Northumberland, and a London residence at 3, Grovesnor Square.
The hot month dragged on; Quarrier came; Agatha Caithness arrived a few days later scheme of the Ferralls involving Alderdene! but the Siwanoa did not come, and Plank remained invisible. Leila Mortimer arrived from Swan's Harbour toward the middle of the month, offering no information as to the whereabouts of what Major Belwether delicately designated as her "legitimate."
In Munster, with the exception of a trifling skirmish between the West-Meath yeomanry under Sir Hugh O'Reilly, with whom were the Caithness legion, under Major Innes, and a body of 300 or 400 ill-armed peasants, who attacked them on the 19th of June, on the road from Clonakilty to Bandon, there was no notable attempt at insurrection.
Then as we looked at one another, there came to me as it were a breath from my lost home in far-off Caithness, for a whiff of peat smoke hung round us and was gone so quickly that I thought it almost fancy. But Dalfin had smelt it also. "There is a fire alight on board," he said. "I smelt the smoke. That means food, and someone on board after all." With that he shouted, but there was no answer.
Agriculture then was in a most backward state; the fields were unenclosed, the lands undrained; the small farmers of Caithness were so poor that they could scarcely afford to keep a horse or shelty; the hard work was chiefly done, and the burdens borne, by the women; and if a cottier lost a horse it was not unusual for him to marry a wife as the cheapest substitute.
Ragnvald Gudrodson forthwith collected a great army in Ireland and the Sudreys and invaded Caithness, and, meeting Harold Maddadson in battle at Dalharrold, where the River Naver issues from the loch, drove him northwards down the strath to the coast, whence he escaped to Orkney.
Caithness has adopted English; an odd circumstance, if you reflect that both must be largely Norsemen by descent. The same descent, the same country, the same narrow sect of the same religion, and all these bonds made very largely nugatory by an accidental difference of dialect!