I'm reading Wilt by Thomas Sharpe at the moment. It's terribly good fun so far but I have been troubled, dear reader, sorely troubled by prices. Money is terribly important in Wilt. The novel is all about class and budgets and careers. Henry Wilt himself earns £3,500 a year and his wife secretly spends seventy pounds on clothes and the starter in a restaurant costs 95p.
Trouble is, I've no idea what that means in today's green and folding. It's only thirty-five years since Wilt was published, but inflation is such that I can make neither tail nor head of these (terribly important) details.
I get the same thing reading Pride and Prejudice. People are always described as having an income of so many hundred or thousand a year, and the girls go wild (or don't); but the modern reader is left scratching his head and furrowing his brow and wondering whether to go down to the library with a slide-rule and work everything out in compound inflation.
Nevermore, dear calculating reader, nevermore. Use this:
It's so damned handy that I've installed it as a permanent widget on the right of the blog. I'm afraid that I couldn't find one that would go straight to dollars and all those other funny foreign currencies that don't have a picture of the Queen on them and are therefore worthless. But if you're American (are you, dear reader? I'd so like to know), you can continue on to a site like this and find out that Mr Darcy's £10,000 a year in 1813 is:
£520,000 in modern Britain
$831,869.95 in the USA
$827,134.49 in Canada
$841,250.62 Down Under
€612,635.63 in those amusing countries beyond the English Channel
And the rest of you can work it out for yourselves. The general point is that Mr Darcy is even richer than I am, and it's no surprise that Miss Bennett fell in love with him.
The Inky Fool returns from the cash point