Charles Dickens, call your office.
New York Times scribe Amy Chozick, who is covering Hillary Clinton, is giving you a run for your money.
Little Nell, Little Dorritt, meet Little Hillary, who faced "stark choices" back in the day "when her family needed money."
It was 1980 and a "shattered young" Bill Clinton has just lost his bid to be re-elected governor of Arkansas:
He later gathered with close friends for dinner but quietly sulked, playing the country song “I Don’t Know Whether to Kill Myself or Go Bowling” on the jukebox.
But his wife had a more pressing concern: money. The ousted governor needed a job, the family needed a place to live, and moving out of the governor’s mansion meant losing the help they had as they raised their 9-month-old daughter, Chelsea.
Yes, Hillary and Bill were not only dead broke after losing an election in Arkansa, the family now faced that age-old horror: The Servant Problem. But Mrs. Clinton persevered:
The morning after the election, Hillary Clinton worked the phones from the mansion, calling wealthy friends and asking for help.
“The world changed. There was a tectonic shift,” said Thomas F. McLarty III, a friend of Mr. Clinton’s who served as his White House chief of staff.
Mr. Clinton was of little use as he fixated on voters’ rejection. And for the first time, friends said, Mrs. Clinton glimpsed fragility in the future she had moved to Arkansas to pursue. She worried about saving for Chelsea’s college, caring for her aging parents, and even possibly supporting herself should the marriage or their political dreams dissolve.
“It was up to her to just keep holding things up,” said Nancy Pietrafesa, a college friend of Mrs. Clinton’s who moved to Arkansas to work for Mr. Clinton in the 1970s.
This brush with Dickensian poverty, having to dial up the Rose Law Firm and all, explains a lot about Mrs. Clinton:
Hillary Clinton’s relationship with money has long puzzled even some of her closest supporters: Despite choosing a life in government, she has appeared eager to make money, driven to provide for her family and helping amass a fortune of more than $50 million with her husband.
A public unaware of Clinton's hard times sometimes imputes bad motives to Mrs. Clinton:
But Mrs. Clinton can seem blind to how her financial decisions are viewed, and has suffered repeated political damage and accusations of conflicts of interest as a result — from serving on the corporate board of Walmart while her husband was governor to initially accepting a $1.35 million mortgage personally secured by a top fund-raiser for the family’s Chappaqua, N.Y., home.
Her collection of more than $21 million in speaking fees from a range of groups, including Wall Street firms and other interests, led to one of the most potent attacks against her in this election cycle, given voters’ anger about economic inequality. Half of all voters said it bothered them “a lot’’ that Mrs. Clinton gave numerous speeches to Wall Street banks, according to a Bloomberg Politics poll conducted in June.
Sometimes a loud mouth will call attention to this:
Donald J. Trump has called Mrs. Clinton “totally owned by Wall Street.”
But what would he know?
Mr. Trump, whose own finances have drawn extensive scrutiny, may be an imperfect messenger . . .
Still, even some respectable people have questions:
Even some of Mrs. Clinton’s allies privately say they are mystified by her choice to make the Wall Street speeches, given the likelihood that they would become an issue in a presidential campaign. And to some of them, her financial moves clash with the selfless Methodist credo to do good for others that she so often says guided her toward a life of public service.
Cue the violins:
But her longtime friends say the contradiction is rooted in Mrs. Clinton’s practicality and the boom-and-bust cycles that have characterized her life with Bill Clinton.
At no time did those stresses fall more squarely on Mrs. Clinton’s shoulders than in the difficult two-year period in Arkansas when she and her husband found themselves cast out of office, financially strained and deeply uncertain about the future. And the memory of that time shaped her desire to be free from financial burden.
“Hillary had a couple years of the taste of what it means to be a working mother, without any help, to have to take care of a small baby and care for your job,” said James B. Blair, a close Clinton friend and lawyer who offered Mrs. Clinton investment advice in the 1970s.
. . .
“[Bill Clinton] was never interested in money, ever,” Mr. Blair said. “She is the one who had to be sure Chelsea was going to be able to afford college.”
People close to Mrs. Clinton don’t begrudge her desire to provide generously for her family, and certainly many presidential candidates and public servants acquire vast personal wealth. . . .
Fortunately, Hillary Clinton's Dickensian fight against poverty and the plague of servantlessness has a happy ending.