Many times MT told his family and friends that he would stop "speechifying" and save the time and energy these performances cost him. Invariably he went back to the banquet scene for another dose of the elated sense of mastery that he gained whenever a room full of well-dressed notables loved him. In the fall of 1879 he went all the way to Chicago, to speak at a dinner in Grant's honor, because, he wrote Howells in early October, "My sluggish soul needs a fierce upstirring." He got it. To him, the toast he delivered "To the Babies" was his greatest triumph as an after-dinner speaker.