If the bean counters ever get you down, a little knowledge that they haunt the halls of the mundane and the mighty.
Whilst marching from Portugal to a position which commands the approach to Madrid and the French forces, my officers have been diligently complying with your requests, which have been sent by H.M. ship from London to Lisbon and thence by dispatch rider to our headquarters.
We have enumerated our saddles, bridles, tents and tent poles, and all manner of sundry items for which His Majestyâ€™ Government holds me accountable. I have dispatched reports on the character, wit, and spleen of every officer. Each item and every farthing have been accounted for, with two regrettable exceptions for which I beg your indulgence.
Unfortunately, the sum of one shilling and ninepence remains unaccounted for in one infantry battalionâ€™s petty cash and there has been hideous confusion as to the number of jars of raspberry jam issued to one cavalry regiment during a sandstorm in western Spain. This reprehensible carelessness may be related to the pressure of circumstances, since we are at war with France, a fact which may come as a bit of a surprise to you gentlemen at Whitehall.
This brings me to my present purpose, which is to request elucidation of my instruction from His Majestyâ€™s Government, so that I may better understand why I am dragging an army over these barren plains. I construe that perforce it must be one of two alternative duties, as given below. I shall pursue either one with my best ability, but I cannot do both.
1. To train an army of uniformed British clerks in Spain for the benefit of the accountants and copy-boys in London, or, perchance
2. To see to it that the forces of Napoleon are driven out of Spain.
Your most obedient servant,
The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.