Timeline of Fifth Business by Robertson Davies

May 1898 – Dunstable Ramsey is born (p.1)

Spring 1908 – Mary and Amasa Dempster come to live in Deptford (p.18)

Dec. 27 1908 5:58 pm – Mrs. Dempster gets hit by snowball (p.1)

Dec. 28 1908, early morning – Paul Dempster is born (p.5)

April 1909 – Paul is out of danger and starts growing (p.17)

Summer 1911 – Dunny starts taking care of the library (p.25)

Spring 1913 – he teaches Paul magic and reads to him about saints (p.31)

Later in 1913 – Amasa Dempster finds out about Paul and his magic (p.36)

Friday, October 24, 1913, 10:30 p.m. – they find Mrs Dempster in the pit with the tramp


Oct. 25 – Amasa Dempster withdraws charges against the tramp and they release him


Oct. 26 – Amasa Dempster resigns as parson (p.43)

Tuesday, Oct. 28 – Amasa and Mary Dempster move into a small shack (p.45)

Mid-November 1913 – Dunstable starts his visits to Mrs Dempster, who is tied up (p.46)

Spring 1914 – Percy Staunton and Mabel Heighton are caught having sex(p.50)

Fall 1914 – Percy enters Colborne College (p.52)

– Willie Ramsey gets very sick (p.52)

Saturday of the Fall Fair, around 3:30 – Willie dies (p.53)

– Half an hour later Mrs Dempster revives him (p.55)

– 5:30 the men who usually bathed Willie come and find him alive (p.55)

January 1915 – Willie Ramsey enlists in the army(p.57)

Spring 1915 – Dunstable Ramsey also enlists (p.59) Has a short dating period with Leola

Cruikshank, (p.60) then he leaves for the training camp(p.61).

March 27, 1916 – Willie Ramsey dies in the mine explosions of St Eloi (p.57)

Around November 5, 1917, Passchendaele/Ypres – Dunstable Ramsey gets wounded and

sees Mrs Dempster as the Madonna

May 12, 1918 – Dunstable wakes up from the coma (p.75)

April 1918 – Dunstable’s parents die in the influenza epidemic (p.78) (first cases reported

in March – internet)

Autumn 1918 – Amasa Dempster dies and Paul runs away with a carnival show (p.105)

November 11, 1918 – Dunstable is driven to London (p.81)

November 12 – Dunstable sleeps with Diana Marfleet the first time (p.82)

December – Dunstable receives the Victoria Cross from the king (p.83)

December 24 – Diana has a private talk with Dunstable about their relationship (p.87)

Diana changes Dunstable into Dunstan (p.90)

Early May 1919 – Dunstan is back in Deptford (p.91)

Autumn 1919 – Dunstan enters University College (p.107)

May 1924 – Dunstan graduates with an M.A.(p.118)

Summer 1924 – Boy Staunton and Leola get married and go on their honeymoon to

Europe (p.118)

– Dunstan travels to Europe on the same ship, but second class (p.119)

Sept. 1924 – Dunstan starts teaching Colbourne Collage (p.6)

1927 – Prince Edward tours Canada and Boy Staunton meets him (p.125)

– Boy forces Dunstan to look at the naked pictures in front of Leola (p.156)

1928 – David Staunton is born (p.126)

Autumn 1928 – Dustan meets Surgeoner, the tramp of Mrs Dempster, who is now leading

a Mission (p.128)

Late autumn 1928 – visit back to Deptford to ask the Catholic priest about saints (p.135)

– first visit with Bertha Shanklin and Mary Dempster (p.139)

May 1929 – Boy advises Dunstan to withdraw his money from the stock market (p.141)

Summer 1929, Tyrol – Dunstan finds Paul Dempster working as a magician in a circus.

He calls himself Faustus Legrand. (p.143)

October 28, 1929 – Black Monday, stock market crashes

1930 – Caroline Staunton is born (p.148)

February 1932 – Bertha Shanklin dies (p.160)

– Orpheus Wettenhall, Miss Shanklin’s lawyer commits suicide (p.162)

– Mrs. Dempster is admitted to the hospital for the insane (p.164)

Spring 1932 – Dustan’s article on the Wilgefortis is published in the Analecta (p.166)

Summer 1932 – Dunstan visits the Jesuits in Brussels (p.169)

– visits Vienna with Padre Blazon

December 10, 1936 – King Edward VIII abdicates

Christmas night 1936 – Leola finds out about Boy’s womanizing and tries to commit

suicide (p.188)

September 1940 – David Staunton enters Colborne college (p.14)

1941 – Dunstan becomes temporary Headmaster (p.197)

Winter 1942 – Leola dies of pneumonia (p.195, p.258)

Contradiction: On p.198 it says that in 1947 Dunstan “had a difficult conversation with Boy” when Boy fires Dunstan from the position of Headmaster. In return he gets six months vacation with pay. But when he returns from his six months trip and places Mrs Dempster in the new hospital, the book says that this happens “within a month