The Memoirs of William Jennings Bryan

By Mary Baird Bryan; William Jennings Bryan | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
OUR FIRST DECADE TOGETHER

THE next three years after the wedding day were spent in our little home on College Hill, Jacksonville, Illinois. This home had been built before our marriage and contained a suite of rooms for my parents, who needed my care and who made their home with us until their death.

Very early in our married life Mr. Bryan and I discussed together the best use to make of our leisure hours. Young friends had asked us to join the tennis and social clubs, but after considering the matter carefully, we decided to study instead. Mr. Bryan read a great many books, chiefly on the tariff, railroad problems, political economy, and the science of government. When the family wished to give him a little present, we bought a book along these lines. I joined a German Conversation club, took a course in early English in Illinois College, and worked at night on the same course of law which Mr. Bryan had pursued in Chicago--a busy and a happy time.

Mr. Bryan's law practice grew slowly but steadily and each year we added to our savings. Mr. Bryan's ideals as a lawyer are well illustrated by his answer to a letter of a young attorney who had asked him for advice. He said:

"Remember that a lawyer is an officer of the court and, as such, is sworn to assist the court in the administration of justice. That being true, no lawyer can afford to make an argument he does not believe to be sound, or try to mislead either the judge or jury. It is better to refuse a case that you believe to be unjust than to risk, for any amount of compensation, the strain upon your morals involved in the attempt to deceive the court or jury. One who repeatedly attempts to prove that

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